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 partner

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

David Attwell – University College London, UK
Felipe Barros – Centro de Estudios Científicos, Chile
Serge Charpak – University of Paris, France
Turgay Dalkara – Hateceppe University, Turkey
Ali Ertürk – University of Munich, Germany
Jean Francois Ghersi-Egea – Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre, France
Anne Joutel – University of Paris, France
Martin Lauritzen – University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Malcolm MacLeod – University of Edinburgh, UK
Pierre Magistretti – University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Maiken Nedergaard – University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Mark Nelson – University of Burlington, USA
Andy Obenhaus – USI, USA
Andy Shih – Seattle Children’s Research Institute, USA
Robert Thorne – Denali Therapeutics / University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Susanne Van Veluw – Harvard Medical School, USA


Silvia Anderle – University of Sheffield
Orla Bonnar – University of Sheffield
Gian-Marco Calandra – Massachusetts General Hospital
Audrey Chagnot – University of Sussex
Yulia Dembitskaia – University of Edinburgh
Maximillian Dorok – Johns Hopkins
Christophe Dubois – université de Bordeaux
Beth Eyre – University of Munich
Severin Filser – University of Munich
Jordan Girard – Université de Bordeaux
Clare Howarth – University of Munich
Malika Ihle – University of Munich
Igor Khalin – University of Munich
Tom Langdon – University of Munich
Guillaume Le Bourdelles – Inscopix
Axel Montagne – Université de Bordeaux
Burcu Seker – Université de Bordeaux
Josh Shrouder – University of Munich
Rebecca Sienel – University of Edinburgh
Jonathan Zapata – Johns Hopkins

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.


The following techniques will be taught at the course:

  • Chronic cranial window surgery

  • Habituation to the rig for awake imaging

  • Experimental design and presentation of stimuli

  • 2 photon imaging of neurovascular coupling (neuronal activity, blood vessel dilations)

  • 2 photon imaging of vascular function (vasomotion, calcium signals in vessels)

  • Wide field imaging and recording of neurovascular function and metabolism (2D OIS, laser speckle, haemoglobin spectrometry, laser doppler flowmetry – equipment to be loaned by Moor Instruments)

  • Data processing and analysis


The following projects will be taught at the course:

  • Two-photon microscopy imaging of blood vessels and neuronal activity in vivo

  • Brain imaging in freely moving mice using mini-scopes

  • Two-photon microscopy imaging of stroke

  • Widefield imaging of neurovascular relationships

  • Open Science

  • Correlative light-electron microscopy (CLEM)

  • Vascular signalling in pressurized brain slices

  • BBB permeability in mice and humans by MRI

  • SUSHI – evaluating the brain’s extracellular space by STED microscopy

  • Histological techniques for the analysis of cerebral vessels

  • Brain clearing for the analysis of cerebral vessels

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.

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.


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

Applications closed on 14 November 2022

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