About BEB
CNC Research
BEB in the Media
Brain plasticity and cognition: the ever-changing brain
October 8 - 10
Jorge Valero - jorge.valero@cnc.uc.pt, Ana Cristina Rego, Elisabete Ferreiro

PDBEB course

Brain plasticity and cognition: the ever-changing brain



The concept of brain plasticity is known more than a century ago but still evolving as new faces of this singular process have been discovered during the last decade. Brain plasticity is defined as the ability of the central nervous system to reorganize its structure and functionality as a response to external stimuli or insult. Brain plasticity is essential for cognitive, sensory and motor function. Furthermore, it is also essential during age-related cognitive decline, recovery after injury and neurodegenerative disorders.

In this course, we intend to approach different aspects of brain plasticity. We will first give a general introduction on the concept and methodologies used to study brain plasticity, making a special emphasis on animal behaviour techniques. As adult neurogenesis has been pointed out recently as a key factor for brain plasticity in rodents and possibly in humans, we will further focus on this issue. Finally, since life style and education affect human cognitive capacity this topic will be also explored.

Organizers: Jorge Valero, Elisabete Ferreiro, Cristina Rego


Monday, October 8th – Brain plasticity and behaviour

9.30-10.00h: General introduction to the course. – Jorge Valero.
10.00-11.00h: Introduction to brain plasticity. – Elisabete Ferreiro.


11.15-12.30h: Animal behaviour: analysing functional consequences of brain plasticity. – Lydia Gimenez-Llort.

Time for lunch

14.00-15.00h: CNC Seminar: Preventive and therapeutical non-pharmacological strategies against Alzheimers disease. Studies in 3xTg-AD mice. – Lydia Gimenez-Llort.


15.30-17.00h: Student evaluation. The students will prepare an experimental protocol using the learned concepts of animal behaviour.
Tuesday, October 9th – Adult Neurogenesis

9.30-10.00 h: General introduction about adult neurogenesis. – Alexander Garthe.
10.00-11.00h: DG adult neurogenesis and memory: the role of environmental enrichment. – Alexander Garthe.


11.30-12.00h: Analyzing neurogenesis in the SVZ in vitro. – Elisabete Ferreiro.
12.00-13.00h: Olfactory bulb adult neurogenesis and plasticity. – Jorge Valero.

Time for lunch

14.30-18.00h: Student evaluation. The students will be divided in 4 groups and will have to present and discuss previously assigned papers.
Groups and papers are available here.

PDF1 (1 Long Lasting Plasticity of new neurons)

PDF2 (2 Ageing systemic milieu)

PDF3 (2 Ageing systemic milieu_suppl)

PDF4 (3 Synaptic tagging)

PDF5 (3 Synaptic tagging suppl)

PDF6 (4 Video game players and inference)

PDF7 (4 Video game players inference suppll.)

PDF8 (Brain plasticity groups and rules for paper presentation)

Wednesday, October 10th – Human brain plasticity

10.00-11.00h: Reorganization of cortical maps. – (name of the speaker to be confirmed)


11.30- 12.30h: Brain reorganization and re-establishment of neuronal plasticity upon stress. – Ioannis Sotiropoulos.

Time for lunch

14.30- 15.30h: Brain plasticity induced by musical training: a Portuguese case study. – São Luis Castro.
16.00-17.00h: CNC Seminar: Cognitive brain reserve. – Alexandre Castro Caldas.


Jorge Valero, Centro de Neurociências e Biología Celular, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal.

Elisabete Ferreiro, Centro de Neurociências e Biología Celular, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal.

Lydia Giménez-Llort, Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine, Institute of Neuroscience, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

Alexander Garthe, Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE), Dresden, Germany.

Ioannis Sotiropoulos, Life and Health Sciences Research Institute, Braga, Portugal.

São Luís Castro, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, Porto, Portugal.

Alexandre Castro Caldas, Institute of Health Sciences, Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal.

© 2021 BEB - Doctoral Programme in Experimental Biology and Biomedicine powered by Digitalwind