Neural circuit basis of computation and behaviour

Course overview

How does the activity of neural circuits govern information processing, enable memory formation, and give rise to behaviour? Tackling these questions is one of the great challenges in current neuroscience. To make progress, quantitative studies of both structure and function of neural circuits are required, which these days have become feasible with a collection of new and broad methods. Neural circuit research bridges the molecular-cellular level to the levels of large-scale brain operation and animal behaviour and thus promises to reveal principles of spatiotemporal circuit dynamics that underlie specific brain states and behaviours. The relevance and role of specific cell types and of local as well as long-range circuit motifs need to be understood. This course aims to bring students up-to-date with the most recent developments in this exciting and fundamental field of neuroscience research. The focus will be on the advanced experimental approaches that are available today for the dissection of neural circuit connectivity and activity in various animal models (mouse, fly, zebrafish).

 

The Cajal course is an intensive three-week course that guides participants through the theory and practice of state-of-the-art methods for addressing pertinent questions in this field of research. This course will teach the latest technological advances in optical, electrophysiological, genetic, viral tracing, anatomical, and optogenetic approaches for the study of neural circuits. Students will learn the current state of knowledge of how neural circuits are organized, especially in the mammalian mouse brain, and how information can be processed in biological circuits through population-based activity patterns.  The faculty will consist of international experts in their respective fields, discussing fundamental concepts and their own research, introducing methods relevant for neural circuit research, and providing hands-on projects. Students will perform experimental projects to apply these methods to scientific problems, they will learn how to analyse acquired data, and they will discuss strengths and limitations of the various techniques. The course is designed for PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-stage group leaders, and is aimed at providing them with an enhanced tool set for addressing their current and future research questions.

Course directors

Fritjof Helmchen

Course Director

Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Andreas Frick

Co-Director

Neurocentre Magendie, INSERM U1215, University of Bordeaux, France

Cyril Herry

Co-Director

Neurocentre Magendie, INSERM U1215, University of Bordeaux France

Keynote speakers

Antoine Adamantidis – University of Bern, Switzerland

Athena Akrami – University College London, UK

Matteo Carandini – University College London, UK

Marie Carlen – Karolinska Institute, Sweden

Valentina Emiliani – Vision Institute Paris, France

Rainer Fiedrich – FMIBR, Switzerland

Nadine Gogolla – Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Germany

Johannes Kohl – Francis Crick Institute, UK

Matthew E. Larkum – Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

Tommaso Patriarchi – University of Zurich, Switzerland

Pavan Ramdya – EPFL, Switzerland

Nathalie Rochefort – University of Edinburgh, UK

Lisa Roux – Bordeaux Neurocampus, France

Manuel Zimmer – University of Vienna, Austria

Instructors

Elena  Avignone – IINS, University of Bordeaux, France

Stephane  Bancelin – University of Bordeaux, France

Francisco  de los Santos  – MPI Cologne, Germany

Janosch Heller – FutureNeuro SFI Research, Ireland

Tom Jensen – University College London, UK

Ani Jose – IINS, University of Bordeaux, France

Olga Kopach – University College London, UK

Francois  Maingret – IINS, University of Bordeaux, France

Philipe R. F. Mendonça – University College London, UK

Luc Mercier – University of Bordeaux, France

Dragomir Milovanovic – Charité University Clinic, Berlin, Germany

Petr Unichenko – University College London, UK

James Reynolds – University College London, UK

Olga Tiurikova – University College London, UK

Petr Unichenko – University of Bonn, Germany

Hanna Van Den Munkhof – MPI Cologne, Germany

Kaiyu Zheng – University College London, UK

Course content

                               Topics & Techniques

During the course students will learn all basics requirements to perform: 

ex vivo optogenetic and patchclamp recordings in acute brain slices; 

– in vivo calcium imaging experiments in freely moving mice using miniaturized microscopes;  

– laser scanning lightsheet microscope by disassembling and reassembling a benchtop version of the mesoSPIM before preparing, acquiring and analysing various cleared neuronal samples; 

– how to operate a two-photon microscope and how to do basic trouble-shooting; 

– basics of electrode design, construction and instrumentation; 

– basics requirements to perform extracellular recordings in singing birds using motorized micro-drive; basic procedures to image activity from individual dendrites of cortical pyramidal neurons in awake mice; 

– basic spike data analysis (spike sorting, detection of tagged unit);

– dissection, microimplantation, and specimen preparation for live imaging; Calcium imaging data acquisition and computational data analysis; 

                                       Projects

For more information on projects download the “Programme info”

Project 1: “Ex vivo optogenetic manipulations of basal ganglia circuits”

Project 2: “In vivo calcium imaging of hippocampal CA1 population activity in the freely moving mouse using miniaturized microscopes”

Project 3: “MesoSPIM lightsheet imaging of anatomical projections in the cleared mouse brain”

Project 4: “Disentangling Functional Representations of Tactile Stimuli in Dendrites and Soma
Across the Cortical Column Using In Vivo Two-Photon Calcium Imaging”

Project 5: “In vivo multimodal, multiscale physiology”

Project 6: “In vivo optogenetic manipulations of prefrontal circuits.”

Project 7: “Monitoring neuronal activity in the song-control circuits during singing in freely
behaving zebra finches.”

Project 8: “Multi-site electrophysiological activities in a working memory task and related
consolidation sleeping phases.”

Project 9: “Two-photon calcium imaging of cortical dendrites in awake head-fixed mice.”

Project 10: “Combination of large scale multi-electrode recordings with optogenetic
manipulations for identification/manipulation of neuronal subtypes in freely moving animals.”

Project 11: “All optical in vivo imaging and stimulation of dopamine release in the striatum in
freely moving mouse using multiplex fiber photometry.”

Project 12: ‘‘Birth of a memory: ex vivo optogenetic approach to study hippocampal engrams’’ 

Project 13: “Imaging neural population activity along the gut-brain axis in adult Drosophila”

Project 14: “Combining two-photon targeted patch-clamp recordings with calcium population imaging to monitor neuronal activation in mouse neocortex during tactile stimulation.”

Registration

Fee : 3.500 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)

The CAJAL programme offers 4 stipends per course (waived registration fee, not including travel expenses). Please apply through the course online application form. In order to identify candidates in real need of a stipend, any grant applicant is encouraged to first request funds from their lab, institution or government.

Kindly note that if you benefited from a Cajal stipend in the past, you are no longer eligible to receive this kind of funding. However other types of funding (such as partial travel grants from sponsors) might be made available after the participants selection pro- cess, depending on the course.

Course sponsors

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