MSc 1st Semester

Basic courses required in the 1st semester

101 Cellular neurophysiology (lecture and lab 5 credits)

This course introduces the cellular mechanisms of excitability and basic principles of communication between cells. It covers structure and function of neurons and glia, action potential, synaptic transmission, dendritic integration, intracellular signalling, neuromodulators and hormones. In addition, it introduces basic concepts in the neural representation and storage of information and in contemporary methods of neurophysiology. The lab introduces students to basic measurement techniques (amplifiers, filters, etc) and to extracellular recording from multicellular preparations (e.g., hippocampus slices).

102 Basic molecular and cell biology (lecture and lab 4 credits)

This course provides a comprehensive background in molecular and cell biology, on which later courses will build. It covers, among other topics, basic biochemistry, genetic mechanisms, protein biosynthesis, internal organization of cells and cellular constituents, cell interactions of all kinds, life cycle of cells, as well as main cellular metabolism pathways and their regulation. The lab introduces students to working in molecular laboratories, including security precautions, basic molecular methods and writing of proposals.

103 Integrative and comparative neuroanatomy (lecture and lab 4 credits)

This course offers a systematic and comprehensive survey of comparative neuroanatomy, and explains the structure and function of selected functional systems, including sensory, motor and limbic-prefrontal cortical pathways in the mammalian brain including humans. The lab course introduces students to the dissection of vertebrate brains, to neuroanatomical and histological techniques as well as fundamentals in microscopic analysis.

104 Neuroethology (lecture 3 credits)

Selected highlights of natural behaviours and their neural basis. Topics may vary from year to year. Past topics include electrosensation of weakly electric fish, directional hearing of owls, echolocation of bats and dolphins, navigation of rats, social cognition of non-human primates.

105 Theoretical Neuroscience I (lecture 3 credits)

Theoretical neuroscience is becoming increasingly important for planning experiments, for data analysis, and for linking different levels of observation. This course introduces quantitive models for electrical activity of neurons and their components ("neural encoding") as well as contemporary methods of statistical analysis for quantifiying the information conveyed by neural activity ("neural encoding"). To master the material, students carry out weekly computational assignments in the MatLab programming language.

106 Mathematical foundations (lecture 3 credits)

This course provides the basis mathematical tools used in integrative neuroscience. It covers matrix algebra, linear equations, differential calculus, and integrals in n-dimensions.

107 Introduction to Matlab (tutorial 2 credits)

The aim of the tutorial is to introduce students to the MATLAB programming environment. MATLAB is a numerical computing and fourth generation programming environment developed by MathWorks. Originally designed for computational linear algebra and signal processing it has found many other scientific and technical applications. The course is suitable for both new and existing users who require the use of MATLAB in their research and for other basic courses in the MSc Integrative Neuroscience Programme, like Theoretical Neuroscience. There is no assumed knowledge for this course but the pace will be fairly brisk.

190 Lab rotation (6 credits)

Supervised research in a laboratory chosen by the student.

 


 

Optional courses in the 1st semester (at least one must be taken)

101 Cellular neurophysiology (tutorial 1 credit)

102 Basic molecular and cell biology (tutorial 1 credit)

103 Integrative and comparative neuroanatomy (tutorial 2 credits)

Tutorial for students who need additional assistance in mastering the material of the lecture.

105 Theoretical Neuroscience I (tutorial 2 credits)

Tutorial for students who need additional assistance in mastering the material of the lecture and in carrying out the computational assignments.

106 Mathematical foundations (tutorial 2 credits)

Tutorial for students who need additional assistance in mastering the material of the lecture and in carrying out the homework assignments.

180 / 185 Journal Club (student-led seminar 2 credits)

Students take turns in presenting and discussing recent publications in prominent journals.

MSc 2nd Semester

Basic courses required in the 2nd semester

111 Molecular and Cellular Biology (lecture and lab 5 credits)

This intensive course considers the molecular and cellular components that contribute to the structure and function of the nervous system and provides a comprehensive overview of molecular approaches to neuroscience. Topics include signalling pathways that control neural cell development and function, genetic programs in neural cells, myelin formation, neurotransmitter synthesis and degradation, molecular properties of channels and receptors, neurotrophin functions, as well as cellular processes of degeneration and regeneration. The lab introduces students to molecular cloning techniques, protein biochemistry, blotting techniques and polymerase chain reactions.

112 Development and Plasticity (lecture and lab 3 credits)

This course covers the development of the vertebrate brain from neural tube formation to adulthood. Particular topics include inductive signalling, control of neural identity and differentiation, cell proliferation and programmed cell death, cell migration, axonal pathfinding, synaptogenesis and the experience-dependent establishment and refinement of neuronal connections. The lab course introduces in vivo and in vitro techniques which are applied to study neural development.

113 Systems Neurophysiology (lecture and lab 5 credits)

This course examines general principles of the primate brain organization and also considers selected primate brain systems in some detail. Topics include canonical microcircuit of cortex, information processing hierarchies, cortical maps and their dependence on experience, as well as a detailed treatment of visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor systems.

114 Learning and memory (lecture 3 credits)

Due to the concentration of faculty research in this area, a separate course covers mammalian brain systems underlying learning and memory. Course topics include amnesia, declarative memory in animals, brain systems for declarative, procedural, and emotional memory, memory consolidation, and others.

115 Theoretical neuroscience II (lecture 3 credits)

The second half of this course covers basic theoretical approaches to neural networks, their activity and dynamic states, and their capacity for learning through activity-dependent plasticity. In addition, the course introduces contemporary theories of behavioural conditioning and reinforcement learning as well as a number of abstract approaches to representational learning (expectation maximization, principal components analysis, etc).

116 Biological statistics (lecture 3 credits)

This course introduces the principles and methods of descriptive and inferential statistics. Practical examples from biology, neuroscience and other areas are used to illustrate the various approaches.

190 Lab rotation (6 credits)

Supervised research in a laboratory chosen by the student.

 


 

Optional courses in the 2nd semester (at least one must be taken)

 

111 Molecular & cellular neurobiology (tutorial 2 credits)

112 Development & plasticity (tutorial 2 credits)

Tutorial for students who need additional assistance in mastering the material of the lecture.

115 Theoretical neuroscience II (tutorial 2 credits)

Tutorial for students who need additional assistance in mastering the material of the lecture and in carrying out the computational assignments.

116 Biological statistics (tutorial 2 credits)

Tutorial for students who need additional assistance in mastering the material of the lecture and in carrying out the homework assignments.

180 Journal Club (student-led seminar 2 credits)

185 Neurocolloquium (student-led seminar 1 credit)

Students take turns in presenting and discussing recent publications in prominent journals.

MSc 3rd Semester

Basic courses required in the 3rd semester

201 Genetic Models (lecture and lab 4 credits)

This course presents basic concepts in designing and applying genetic animal models and analysis methods in flies, mice and humans to neurological processes. The topics include principles of forward and backward genetics, generation of mutants, acute genetic intervention with viral vectors, characterization of mutant phenotypes, examples of hereditary diseases with neurological symptoms, phenotypic expression of different types of mutations, as well as recent developments in the application of genetic tools to neural circuit analysis and brain imaging.

203 Neuroendocrinology & -inflammation (lecture and lab 4 credits)

This course covers cells and tissues of the immune system, recognition of antigens, effector mechanisms of the immune response, blood-brain-barrier, microglia, mechanisms of immune privilege, protective immunity, and neuroinflammation.

205 Neural signalling (seminar and exercises in scientific writing, 4 credits)

This course aims at exercising the design of research projects in the field of neural signalling and to learn how to write a research proposal. The potential topics include principles of molecuar signalling, activation of signalling pathways, receptor types, G-proteins and molecular targets, second messengers and their targets, nuclear signalling and examples of neuronal signal transduction. The topics will be presented by the factulty members and students will select one of the topics to write and present a research proposal.

211 Cognitive neurobiology (lecture and lab 4 credits)

This course covers brain systems that underlie higher cognitive functions. Topics may vary from year to year and may include attention, planning and decision making, working memory, language and speech, emotion, social interaction, consciousness, and others. In the lab, students perform classic behavioural and psychophysical experiments.

214 Behavioral Pharmacology (lecture and lab 4 credits)

This course surveys neurochemical and pharmacological mechanisms of brain function from the genetic to the systems and behavioral level. In presenting the role of different transmitter systems in brain function, the neuroanatomical, physiological, molecular and pathological behavioral, including clinical aspects will be highlighted.

215 Macroimaging (lecture and lab 4 credits)

This course covers modern methods of macroscopic in vivo imaging and non-invasive recording. The basic techniques and methods for in vivo imaging, in particular MRI (signal generation, spatial encoding), EEG and MEG are discussed. The applications of these methods to neuroscience including experimental design and data analysis are explained. The lab allows students to run and analyze small experiments and is rotated between EEG, MEG, small animal MRI and human MRI.

217 Microimaging (lecture and lab 4 credits)

This course introduces modern techniques of microscopic imaging and their applications to neuroscience. Particular topics include wide-field, fluorescence, confocal, and 2-photon-microscopy, as well as modern fluorescent and photosensitive agents in neuroscience research. The lab introduces students to imaging techniques for detecting electrical activity in neuron and glial cell populations.

221 Spiking networks (lecture and lab 4 credits)

Biologically plausible networks of spiking neurons require particular theoretical and computational methods. This course introduces population equations, signal transmission models, oscillations and synchrony, spatially structured networks, Hebbian models and stochastic plasticity, learning equations and issues of plasticity and coding. The tutorial illustrates the material with Matlab exercises.

241 Clinical neuroscience (lecture 4 credits)

This course offers a systematic presentation of the neurobiological foundations of psychiatric and neurloogical disorders. Special emphasis is given to relate functional neuroanatomy, physiology of transmitter systems, and genetics to neuropsychiatric syndromes such as mood disorders, schizophrenia, dementia, addiction and anxiety disorders. Moreover, the mechanisms of psychopharmacological compounds and drugs will be explained. Besides the theoretical framework, patients with neuropsychiatric diseases will be presented.

242 Cognitive Neuroimaging (lecture 4 credits)

The course aims to provide an overview of non invasive imaging methods and their applications in human cognition and emotion. We will enter the functional neuroanatomy of higher cognitive functions such as memory, attention and social interaction with a specific focus on the brain regions involved and the change of associated brain function in certain neuropsychiatric diseases.

 


 

Required courses:

350 Scientific Ethics (2 credits)

190 Lab rotation III (4 credits)

Supervised research in a laboratory chosen by the student.

 


 

Optional courses:

180 Journal Club (student-led seminar 2 credits)

185 Neurocolloquium (student-led seminar 1 credit)

Students take turns in presenting and discussing recent publications in prominent journals.

MSc 4th Semester

Scientific Writing (2 credits)

Journal Club (student-led seminar 2 credits)

Students take turns in presenting and discussing recent publications in prominent journals.

Thesis Research (28 credits)

Module Handbook

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Study and Examination Regulations

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MSc 1st Semester

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MSc 2nd Semester

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MSc 3rd Semester

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MSc 4th Semester

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