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January 3 - 13

MIT-Portugal PhD programme –
Place: Pierre Charles Alexander Louis Room 2nd floor FMUC (Polo I)

Week 1 – Basic Neuroscience - The Brain as an Information Processing and Control Device

This first week of the module (3-6 January) will lay the foundation for a basic understanding of how the brain is organised and works. The goal is to set a common baseline for students with different backgrounds. This will be achieved by combining plenary lectures, informal discussions with students and some laboratory demonstrations to allow students to view how neuroscience is approached at different levels (molecules, neurons, circuits and behaviour).

Faculty: Paula Agostinho (CNC, FMUC), Rui Barbosa (CNC, FFUC), Miguel Castelo-Branco (IBILI, FMUC), Rodrigo Cunha (CNC, FMUC), Catarina Gomes (CNC), João Laranjinha (CNC, FFUC), Ana Ledo (CNC), João Malva (CNC, FMUC), Nuno Sousa (Univ. Minho)

Course schedule:

Tuesday (3 Jan)
9.00-9.30h: Presentation of the module (R.A. Cunha)
10.00-12.00h: Anatomy and Function (RA Cunha)
14.00-16.00h: Sensory and motor systems: modular structures (RA Cunha)
16.00-17.00h: Let’s look at the mouse and human brains (C.Gomes)

Wednesday (4 Jan)
9.00-12.00h: Neuron structure and function, physiology (R.A.Cunha)
14.00-16.00h: Astrocytes, microglia and brain metabolism (R.A. Cunha)
16.00-17.00h: Let’s see neurons, dendrites, astrocytes and microglia (P.M.Agostinho & C.Gomes)

Thursday (5 Jan)
9.30-12.00h: Behavioral plasticity - Different behavioural tasks for analyzing different circuits (N Machado)
14.00-16.00h: Synaptic plasticity (RA Cunha)
16.00-17.00h: Let’s record synaptic transmission and ‘see’ neurons working (D Rial & RA Cunha)

Friday (6 Jan)
9.30-12.00h: Adaptation of brain circuits: a flavour of the lobster (R.A.Cunha)
14.00-16.00h: Stress, memories and decision making (N.Sousa)
16.00-17.00h: Stress, memory and the Brain (Nuno Sousa – CNC Seminar)

Week 2 – Basic Neuroscience - Tinkering with Brain Function

The second week of the module (9-13 January) is designed to expose students to some current major problems and areas of interest at the forefront of neuroscience and introduce them to some of the innovative technologies that are being applied to investigate these topics. There will be different formats each day, ranging from seminars, discussions with students and guest speakers and practical demonstrations. The last two days will be devoted to presentations by the students and will constitute the basis of student evaluation.

Course schedule:

Monday (9 Jan)
9.00-10.30h: Brain diseases (RA Cunha)
13.00-15.00h: Neurodegeneration and neuropharmacological therapies (RA Cunha)
15.30-17.00h: Caffeine and neuroprotection (RA Cunha)

Tuesday (10 Jan)
9.30-12.00h: Biosensors, NO & neurovascular coupling (J. Laranjinha, R Barbosa, A Ledo)
13.00-14.30h: Growth factors: a window of opportunity (C.Gomes)
15.00-17.00h: Tinkering with stem cells to manage neurodegeneration: the ultimate frontier (J.O.Malva)

Wednesday (11 Jan)
9.30-17.00h: Imaging the human brain at work (M.Castelo-Branco) at ICNAS-IBILI

Thursday (12 Jan)
9.30-12.00h: free time to prepare the presentations (support by faculty)
13.00-17.30h: presentations

Friday (13 Jan)
9.00-17.00h: presentations
17.00-17.30h: evaluation test (multiple choice with 25 questions) CNC seminar

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