Category Archives: 2023

Brain homeostasis and neurovascular coupling

Course overview

The neurovascular unit, composed of vascular cells, glial cells, and neurons is fundamental for the proper function of the brain. The NVU regulates supply of the cerebral blood flow (CBF) and maintains integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

Dysfunction of the neurovascular unit may result in devastating conditions such as dementia, cerebral ischemia, or brain oedema formation. This advanced experimental course will allow students to gain basic knowledge and hands-on experience on the most important techniques used to study the neurovascular unit, such as in vivo/in vitro high-resolution imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and rodent models of cerebrovascular disease. The course will also focus on data reproducibility and open science.

Course directors

Nikolaus Plesnila

Course Director

Ludwig Maximilian University, Germany

Jérôme Badaut

Course Director

Bordeaux University, France

Catherine Hall

Course Director

Sussex University, UK

Keynote Speakers & Instructors

The final list of speakers and instructors is not available yet.

Course content

This 3-week long course is a practical “hands-on” introduction to advanced methods for the investigation of the neuro-vascular unit in health and disease. The course will be structured in a theoretical and a practical part.

In the theoretical part world leading scientists in the neurovascular unit (NVU) research will give overview lectures about the function of the NVU and present techniques how to study the NVU in a reproducible manner. Such overview presentations will be paralleled by workshops. In the practical part of the course students will learn surgical techniques necessary to perform animal models of disease and to prepare cranial windows required for the study of cerebral vessels, will be trained to image cerebral vessel function in vitro and in vivo, and will learn how to analyse and display the acquired data.

Bordeaux School of Neuroscience, France

The Bordeaux School of Neuroscience is part of Bordeaux Neurocampus, the Neuroscience Department of the University of Bordeaux. Christophe Mulle, its current director, founded it in 2015. Throughout the year, renowned scientists, promising young researchers and many students from any geographical horizon come to the School.
The school works on this principle: training in neuroscience research through experimental practice, within the framework of a real research laboratory.

Facilities
Their dedicated laboratory (500m2), available for about 20 trainees, is equipped with a wet lab, an in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology room, IT facilities, a standard cellular imaging room, an animal facility equipped for behavior studies and surgery and catering/meeting spaces. They also have access to high-level core facilities within the University of Bordeaux. They offer their services to international training teams who wish to organize courses in all fields of neuroscience thanks to a dedicated staff for the full logistics (travels, accommodation, on-site catering, social events) and administration and 2 scientific managers in support of the experimentation.

Registration

Fee : 3.950 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)

Application are not opened yet

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.

Interacting with neural circuits

Course overview

Understanding the links between activity in neural circuits and behavior is a fundamental problem in neuroscience. Attacking this problem requires detailed information about the cell types in neural circuits and their connectivity, and recording the spatiotemporal patterns of activity in the intact brain during behaviour. Furthermore, probing causal relationships between cellular and circuit-level processes and behaviour requires perturbation of specific elements of the circuit in a temporally and spatially precise manner.

This course will highlight the new anatomical, genetic, optical, electrophysiological, optogenetic, and pharmacogenetic approaches that are available for addressing these challenges. The faculty will discuss tool development through to their implementation in diverse model systems, including mice and zebrafish. Students will learn the potential and limitations of these techniques, allowing them to both design and interpret experiments correctly.

Course directors

Michael Hausser

Course Director

Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, UCL, UK

Susana Lima

Course Director

Champalimaud Foundation, Portugal

Tiago Branco

Course Director

Sainsbury Wellcome Centre, UK

Keynote Speakers & Instructors

The final list of speakers and instructors is not available yet. However, you can find here the faculty of the Interacting with Neural Circuits course held in 2022.

Course content

The course combines a lecture series featuring top speakers from around the world with a practical “hands-on” introduction to the latest methods for probing neural circuits, using drosophila, zebrafish, and (transgenic) mice. The course will focus on anatomy and connectivity, recording and manipulation, and the relation between circuits and behavior. During the course, each student will carry out a ‘mini-project’, executed under the guidance and supervision of experienced researchers and teaching assistants.

For more information on the course programme, you can visit the past course website.

Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal

The Champalimaud Foundation is a private, non-profit organization, established in 2005 and dedicated to research excellence in biomedical science. Completed in 2010, the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown is a state-of-the-art centre that houses the Champalimaud Clinical Centre and the Champalimaud Research, with its three parallel programs – the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, the Physiology and Cancer Programme, and the Experimental Clinical Research Programme.
Initially focused on a system and circuit approach to brain function and behavior, the Centre expanded to incorporate molecular and cell biological expertise. The Centre comprises 26 research groups (circa 400 researchers) leading independent curiosity-based research.

Facilities
The Centre provides Facilities dedicated for Training, some in their entirety, for use by the CAJAL Advanced Neuroscience Training Programme. These include the Teaching Laboratory, a fully equipped open lab space for 20-30 students that can be dynamically reconfigured to support a full range of neuroscience courses. It also overlooks, via floor to ceiling windows, a tropical garden and the river. The experimental spaces include: Imaging Lab: A dark-room containing a full size optical table is used for advanced imaging setups (two-photon microscopy, SPIM, etc.) and custom (course-designed) optical systems.

Registration

Fee : 3.950 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)

Application will open in 2023

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.

Sponsors

Supported by a gift from the Simons Foundation

Glial cells in health and diseases

Course overview

For over a century, the main focus of neuroscience research has been on neurons. It is however, becoming ever more clear that brain functions such as conceptual reasoning, memory, and processing speed depend on glial cells (microglia, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes).

The lack of understanding of the role of glia in normal brain development, function and disease is mainly due to lack of tools and methods to accurately study these cells. In recent years, neuroscience has seen a methodological revolution. The function of glia cells in neuronal circuit development, and neurodegenerative disease has become evident. The study of glial biology and the understanding on how glial cells impact on circuit function are key to understanding how the brain works and what goes wrong in brain disease. Advanced training of a new generation of neuroscientists with strong focus on glial function is crucial to make these studies a success in the coming decades.

Course directors

Cambridge University, UK

Cagla Eroglu

Course Director

Duke University, US

Staci Bilbo

Course Director

Duke University, US

Bordeaux Neurocampus, FR

Keynote Speakers & Instructors

The final list of speakers and instructors is not available yet.

Course content

This is a theoretical and practical training course on glial cells and their communication with neuronal circuits. It will provide an overview of the current concepts and knowledge of glial cell biology in central and peripheral nervous system development in several species, including zebrafish, mice, and humans, and their link to diseases.

It will combine lectures and hands-on projects on glial development including methods in cellular neuroscience (e.g. live and fixed tissue imaging), genetic modifications, -omics (e.g., scRNA seq, proteomics and bioinformatics), electrophysiology, optogenetic and chemogenetic manipulation of glial cells and methods to study behaviour.

Bordeaux School of Neuroscience, France

The Bordeaux School of Neuroscience is part of Bordeaux Neurocampus, the Neuroscience Department of the University of Bordeaux. Christophe Mulle, its current director, founded it in 2015. Throughout the year, renowned scientists, promising young researchers and many students from any geographical horizon come to the School.
The school works on this principle: training in neuroscience research through experimental practice, within the framework of a real research laboratory.

Facilities
Their dedicated laboratory (500m2), available for about 20 trainees, is equipped with a wet lab, an in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology room, IT facilities, a standard cellular imaging room, an animal facility equipped for behavior studies and surgery and catering/meeting spaces. They also have access to high-level core facilities within the University of Bordeaux. They offer their services to international training teams who wish to organize courses in all fields of neuroscience thanks to a dedicated staff for the full logistics (travels, accommodation, on-site catering, social events) and administration and 2 scientific managers in support of the experimentation.

Registration

Fee : 3.950 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)

Application are not opened yet

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.

Connectomics from micro- to meso- and macro-scales

Course overview

The biological factors shaping the synaptic connectivity of neuronal circuits are complex and multifaceted, depending on cell types, functional activity, homeostasis, and more. Mapping brain wiring at the level of both local circuits and across brain-wide projections is a key aspect of understanding how nervous systems develop, learn, process information and generate behaviour. Recent advances in molecular biology, tissue processing, computational methods, and microscopy have enabled a revolution in understanding structural connectivity with cellular and synaptic resolution. Large-scale electron microscopy volumes provide nanometer-scale maps of anatomy and connectivity of whole invertebrate brains and millimetre-scale regions of vertebrate brains, while light-microscopic methods can highlight genetically defined connections and enable brain-wide reconstruction of neurons. Together, these complementary approaches yield powerful insight into the neuroanatomy and connectivity of the nervous system with single-cell resolution.

This course will provide students with a broad introduction to contemporary methods of studying neuronal connectivity with lectures from experts in the field. It also provides practical project-based instruction in experimental methods of circuit tracing and reconstruction with light microscopy (light sheet or 2-photon), as well as the computational analysis of rich electron microscopy connectomes in flies and mice. Students will consider the strengths and limitations of different techniques and how they can be used to address key problems in circuit neuroscience.

Course directors

Gregory Jefferis

Course Director

MRC LMB and University of Cambridge, UK

Jinny Kim

Course Director

Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Korea

Nicolas Renier

Course Director

Paris Brain Institute, France

Allen Institute of Brain Science, US

Keynote Speakers & Instructors

The final list of speakers and instructors is not available yet.

Course content

Light Microscopy and functional, molecular methods:

– Choice of labelling strategy: use of specific cre lines (for instance, the GENSAT project); finding specific markers for cell populations; using viral vectors and intersectional genetics (Dual or triple injections, transsynaptic tracing, Tango system, mGRASP, etc.).

– Tissue preparation for imaging: tissue clearing: choice of methods, considerations for the resolution needed and type of molecular labelling (Ueda, Renier); expansion microscopy methods: when to use them, and which iteration (Jae-Byum Chang)

Imaging strategy: use of scanning microscopes: confocal or 2p, in intact samples or using serial sectioning; use of light sheet microscopy: commercial systems (eg. Miltenyi’s Blaze or Zeiss Z7), and custom systems (Mesospim).

Analysis of imaging data: use of neuron mapping pipelines for whole brain data obtained from light sheet microscopy or from sections (eg. ClearMap, TrailMap, WholeBrain, etc). (Ueda, Renier, Carlen); se of virtual reality-assisted tools for single neuron reconstructions from 3D datasets (eg. SyGlass, Vision4D…).

Electron microscopy synaptic connectomics:

At the end of this course, the students will be familiar with all of the steps that go into producing and analysing large scale, synaptic resolution EM connectomics datasets, summarised as below. Detailed analysis projects tailored by student interest will use public datasets and open source tools in which their directors and their colleagues are experts. These include the microns mouse cortical cubic millimetre dataset (https://www.microns-explorer.org/) and fly CNS datasets including the hemibrain, flywire.

Bordeaux School of Neuroscience, France

The Bordeaux School of Neuroscience is part of Bordeaux Neurocampus, the Neuroscience Department of the University of Bordeaux. Christophe Mulle, its current director, founded it in 2015. Throughout the year, renowned scientists, promising young researchers and many students from any geographical horizon come to the School.
The school works on this principle: training in neuroscience research through experimental practice, within the framework of a real research laboratory.

Facilities
Their dedicated laboratory (500m2), available for about 20 trainees, is equipped with a wet lab, an in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology room, IT facilities, a standard cellular imaging room, an animal facility equipped for behavior studies and surgery and catering/meeting spaces. They also have access to high-level core facilities within the University of Bordeaux. They offer their services to international training teams who wish to organize courses in all fields of neuroscience thanks to a dedicated staff for the full logistics (travels, accommodation, on-site catering, social events) and administration and 2 scientific managers in support of the experimentation.

Registration

Fee : 3.950 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)

Application are not opened yet

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.

Advanced techniques for synapse biology

Course overview

Synapses are sites of information transfer and storage in the brain. These specialised structures integrate complex signals and undergo functional changes that underlie the formation of memories. Synaptic dysfunction is associated with early stages of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and underlies neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability.

Studying synapse function and plasticity is key to understanding brain circuits that underlie behaviour, and to identify synaptic malfunction mechanisms underpinning brain diseases. This course will allow students to integrate theoretical and methodological concepts on synapse biology with hands-on experience on state-of-the art imaging, functional and computational methodologies. The course provides an in-depth understanding to many concepts such as synapse formation and maintenance, pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms, structural and functional synaptic plasticity, synaptic integration in neuronal networks and synaptopathies. Hands-on experimental projects conducted in small groups with the support of senior scientists will expose the students to methodologies at the forefront of research in this field.

Course directors

Ana Luisa Carvalho

Course Director

Coimbra University, Portugal

Mathieu Letellier

Course Director

Bordeaux University, Portugal

Hey-Kyoung Lee

Course Director

John Hopkins University., US

Keynote Speakers & Instructors

The final list of speakers and instructors is not available yet.

Course content

The last decades have brought enormous advances in the methodologies used to study synapses, which endow researchers with the possibility to bridge from molecular analyses of synapses to cellular, circuits and behaviour approaches to tackle central questions about how the brain works.

This course provides the opportunity to learn from experts in the field about questions at the forefront of synapse biology, and to obtain hands-on experience on innovative techniques to study synapses. These include gene transfer, live imaging of proteins and signalling molecules (including in vivo 2-photon microscopy), super resolution microscopy for cellular imaging of proteins at excitatory and inhibitory synapses, electrophysiology, fiber photometry, optogenetics, animal behaviour and computational methods.

Finally, emphasis will be put on studies that address causal relationships in synapse function. Human, rodent, and invertebrate models systems such as Drosophila melanogaster will be used.

Bordeaux School of Neuroscience, France

The Bordeaux School of Neuroscience is part of Bordeaux Neurocampus, the Neuroscience Department of the University of Bordeaux. Christophe Mulle, its current director, founded it in 2015. Throughout the year, renowned scientists, promising young researchers and many students from any geographical horizon come to the School.
The school works on this principle: training in neuroscience research through experimental practice, within the framework of a real research laboratory.

Facilities
Their dedicated laboratory (500m2), available for about 20 trainees, is equipped with a wet lab, an in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology room, IT facilities, a standard cellular imaging room, an animal facility equipped for behavior studies and surgery and catering/meeting spaces. They also have access to high-level core facilities within the University of Bordeaux. They offer their services to international training teams who wish to organize courses in all fields of neuroscience thanks to a dedicated staff for the full logistics (travels, accommodation, on-site catering, social events) and administration and 2 scientific managers in support of the experimentation.

Registration

Fee : 3.950 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)

Application are not opened yet

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.

Machine Learning/Articfical intelligence course

Course overview

Quantitative studies of behaviour are fundamental in our effort to understand brain function and malfunction. Recently, the techniques for studying behaviour, along with those for monitoring and manipulating neural activity, have progressed rapidly. This course provides promising young scientists with a comprehensive introduction to state-of-the-art techniques in quantitative behavioural methods. This course’s content is complementary to other summer courses that focus on measuring and manipulation neurophysiological processes.

Our focus is on methodologies to acquire rich data representations of behavior, dissect them statistically, model their dynamics, and integrate behavioral measurements with other kinds of neurobiological data. To this end, students will 1) fabricate devices for recording the behavior experimental organisms, 2) learn, under the guidance of the scientists developing these methods, the modern tools to analyze behavioral data from these organisms, and 3) in a week-long independent project develop and conduct a behavioral study of their own design, with the support and guidance of the course instructors and teaching assistants.

This 3-week course is a practical “hands-on” introduction to advanced methods in behavioural tracking and analysis. Our educational goal is to cover sufficient background such that all participants will be able to establish these techniques in their home laboratories.

In the pedagogical portion of the course (blocks 1 and 2, see below) we will use two main experimental model systems: flies (Drosophila melanogaster) and zebrafish (Danio rerio). Several days of instruction will focus on analysis of video data, and on these days, students may use videos of flies and fish, videos we provide of mammals behaving, or videos of their own organism of choice. In the student project portion of the course (block 3), students may use these experimental organisms, as well as, subject to their availability, organisms in use at the Champalimaud.

We will cover data acquisition (software, hardware, tools), preprocessing (single animal, body parts and multiple animals tracking systems), data analysis (clustering, ethograms) and modeling.

Course directors

Gordon Berman

Course Director

Emory University, USA

Benjamin de Bivort

Course Director

Harvard University, USA

Champalimaud Foundation, Portugal

Orit Peleg

Course Director

University of Colorado, USA

Greg Stephens

Course Director

VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
OIST Graduate University, Japan

Keynote speakers

Sama Ahmed, University of Washington, USA
Kristin Branson – hhmi, Janelia Research Campus, USA
Bing BruntonUniversity of Washington, USA
António C. Costa, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, France
Serena Ding – Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany
Giorgio Gilestro – Imperial College London, UK
Alex JordanMax Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany
Ilona KadowTechnical University of Munich, Germany
Ann KennedyNorthwestern University, USA
Natasha Mhatre Western University, Canada
Mala Murthy, Princeton University, USA
Ilya NemenmanEmory University, USA
Talmo Pereira – Salk Institute for Biological Studies, USA
Sam ReiterOkinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
Barbara WebbUniversity of Edinburgh, UK

Instructors

Tosif Ahamed – Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada
Jake GravingMax Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany
Kanishk JainEmory University, USA
Ugne Klibaite – Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, USA
Chantal Nguyen – BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
Denise Yoon, Harvard University, USA
Adrien Jouary, Champalimaud Foundation, Portugal
Dean Rance, Champalimaud Foundation, Portugal
Francisco Romero, Veriff, Spain
Bruno Cruz, NeuroGEARS, UK

Course content

Projects

Projects from previous years:

  • The role of visual cues in social behaviour in flies;
  • Social learning in Drosophila melanogaster;
  • Mapping the behavioural repertoire of zebrafish larvae in response to tastants and neuroactive compounds;
  • Slfish: characterizing the collective behavior of larval zebrafish following acute social isolation;
  • Skinner’s flies: inducing superstitious microbehaviors via random operant rewards;
  • The role of lateralized latency asymmetry in virtual task performance;

Ideas for projects for the upcoming course:

  • Manifolds in dynamical representations of behavior;
  • Deep attention models of collective fish behavior;
  • Modelling behavior with different tradeoffs of accuracy and complexity using symbolic regression;
  • Unsupervised discovery of motifs in rodent vocalizations.
QAB 2

For more information on the course programme, you can visit the past course website.

Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal

The Champalimaud Foundation is a private, non-profit organization, established in 2005 and dedicated to research excellence in biomedical science. Completed in 2010, the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown is a state-of-the-art centre that houses the Champalimaud Clinical Centre and the Champalimaud Research, with its three parallel programs – the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, the Physiology and Cancer Programme, and the Experimental Clinical Research Programme.
Initially focused on a system and circuit approach to brain function and behavior, the Centre expanded to incorporate molecular and cell biological expertise. The Centre comprises 26 research groups (circa 400 researchers) leading independent curiosity-based research.

Facilities
The Centre provides Facilities dedicated for Training, some in their entirety, for use by the CAJAL Advanced Neuroscience Training Programme. These include the Teaching Laboratory, a fully equipped open lab space for 20-30 students that can be dynamically reconfigured to support a full range of neuroscience courses. It also overlooks, via floor to ceiling windows, a tropical garden and the river. The experimental spaces include: Imaging Lab: A dark-room containing a full size optical table is used for advanced imaging setups (two-photon microscopy, SPIM, etc.) and custom (course-designed) optical systems.

Registration

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

Applications closed on 20th December 2021

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.