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Synapses, neuronal circuits and behavior
February 13 - 24
Doctoral Program in Experimental Biology and Biomedicine (PDBEB)
2016/2017 Edition

Synapses, neuronal  circuits and behavior

February, 13-24, 2017

CNC-Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

Ana Luísa Carvalho (alc@cnc.uc.pt); CNC, University of Coimbra
João Peça (jpeca@cnc.uc.pt); CNC, University of Coimbra


Abhishek Banerjee, University of Zurich, Switzerland Homepage
Alfredo Kirkwood, Johns Hopkins University, USA Lab
Ana Luísa Carvalho, CNC, University of Coimbra, Portugal ORCID; Lab
Carlos Duarte, CNC, University of Coimbra, Portugal ORCID; Lab
Hey-Kyoung Lee, Johns Hopkins University, USA Lab
João Peça, CNC, University of Coimbra, Portugal ORCID; Lab
Luísa Cortes, CNC, University of Coimbra, Portugal ORCID
Luisa Pinto, ICVS, University of Minho, Portugal Lab
Miguel Remondes, IMM, University of Lisbon, Portugal Lab
Paulo Pinheiro, CNC, University of Coimbra, Portugal ORCID; Lab
Ramiro D. Almeida, CNC, University of Coimbra, Portugal ORCID

The aim of this course is to provide an integrated view into the functioning of neuronal synapses and circuits, and the methodologies used to probe how neural networks assemble and communicate with one another. A second aim is to address questions related to how neuronal computations give rise to behavioral outputs and perceptions. Teaching will be based on lectures that focus on 1) synapse assembly, function and plasticity; 2) particular circuits or brain region and the underlying behavioral programs; and 3) disorders associated with synaptic dysfunction and circuits malfunction. The students will gain knowledge on how information in coded in the brain and how it is propagated, and will be introduced to the state of the art methodologies applied in the field of neuroimaging, neurophysiology and behavioral analysis. This will include discussion and exploration of practical examples on the application of techniques such as: in vivo recordings with multi-electrode arrays, local field potential analyses, brain imaging, optogenetics, genetic engineering or multi-photon microscopy.


February 13
09.00h-9.15h: Structure of the course; Introduction of students and lecturers
9.15h-10.45h: Molecular triggers of synapse formation and maturation -Ramiro D. Almeida
11.00h-12.30h: Introduction to synapses: structure-function and molecular composition - Ana Luisa Carvalho
14.00h-15.30h: Electrophysiology: a primer (I) - João Peça
16.00h-17.30h: Electrophysiology: a primer (II) - Paulo Pinheiro

February 14
09.00h-10.30h: Presynaptic function - Paulo Pinheiro
11.00h-12.30h: Postsynaptic receptor function - Ana Luisa Carvalho
14.00h-15.30h: Synaptic plasticity & molecular mechanisms - Hey-Kyoung Lee
16.00-17.00h: Multi-photon microscopy: principles and applications; Live imaging of neurons and synapses in vivo - Luisa Cortes

February 15
09.00h-10.30h: Synaptic plasticity & memory -Hey-Kyoung Lee & Alfredo Kirkwood
11.00h-12.00h: Metaplasticity - Hey-Kyoung Lee & Alfredo Kirkwood
13.00h-14. 30h: Neuromodulation (I) - Carlos Duarte
15.00h-16.00h: Neuromodulation (II) - Alfredo Kirkwood

February 16
09.00h-16.00h: Electrophysiology – practical session - Paulo Pinheiro & João Peça
Measurement of synaptic parameters in rat hippocampal slices and in cultured rat hippocampal neurons
16.30h – Seminar by Alfredo Kirkwood: “Rewarding cortical cells”

February 17
09.00h-9.45h: Introduction to neuronal circuits and brain rythms - João Peça
10.00h-10.45h: (Opto)genetic dissection of neuronal circuits  - João Peça
11.00h-13.00h: Time to meet with tutors for grant proposal
14h: Seminar by Hey-Kyoung Lee: “Cross-modal plasticity of cortical circuits”

February 20
11.00h-11.45h: Stress and neuroplasticity - Luísa Pinto
12.00h-12.45h: Postnatal neuroplasticity in depression - Luísa Pinto

February 21
9.00h-16.00h: Two-photon microscopy – practical session - Luísa Cortes
Imaging spine dynamics in organotypic hippocampal slices

February 22
9.00h-13.00h: Time to meet with tutors for grant proposal
14.00h-14.45h: In vivo electrophysiology recordings in awake animals - Miguel Remondes
15.00-15.45: Brain maps for choice behaviors - Miguel Remondes

February 23
9.00h-12.00h: Behavior analysis – practical session - João Peça
14.00h-17.00h: Showcase of projects on “Synapses, neuronal circuits and behavior” (PhD students and Postdocts)

February 24
11.00h-11.45h: Social behaviors and Autism Spectrum Disorders: genes, synapses, circuits - Abhishek Banerjee
12.00h-12.45h: Circuit alterations in Rett Syndrome - Abhishek Banerjee
14.00h-18.00h: Work on grant proposals

Grant proposal Deadline – 26 February

Student Assignments:
The students (in groups of 2-3) will write a grant proposal based on original papers that will be proposed to them. The grant proposal is 3 pages long and should include the following sections: a) State of the art; b) Objectives of proposal; 3) Proposed tasks and methodology. Throughout the course the students will meet with tutors for discussing the grant proposal.

Background reading:

A. Kimberley McAllister (2007) Dynamic Aspects of CNS Synapse Formation. Ann Rev. Neurosci. 30:425–50

Neural Signaling, Channels and Transporters Neuroscience, D. Purves et al.

Presynaptic Mechanisms:

Sudhof T (2013) Neurotransmitter Release: The Last Millisecond in the Life of a Synaptic Vesicle. Neuron 80,675.

Synaptic plasticity

Victoria M. Ho, Ji-Ann Lee and Kelsey C Martin (2011) The cell biology of synaptic plasticity. Science 334, 623. DOI: 10.1126/science.1209236

Leon N Cooper and Mark F. Bear (2012) The BCM theory of synapse modification at 30: interaction of theory with experiment. Nature Rev Neurosci., 13, 798.

Cooke SF, Bear MF. (2014) How the mechanisms of long-term synaptic potentiation and depression serve experience dependent plasticity in primary visual cortex. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 369: 20130284. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0284

Poo et al. (2016) What is memory? The present state of the engram. BMC Biology 14, 40. doi: 10.1186/s12915-016-0261-6.

Fernandes D and Carvalho AL (2016) Mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity in the excitatory synapse. J Neurochem 139, 973-996.


Thomas J. O´Dell, Steven A. Connor, Ryan Guglietta, and Peter V. Nguyen. (2015) β-Adrenergic receptor signaling and modulation of long-term potentiation in the mammalian hippocampus. Learn. Mem. 2015. 22: 461-471. doi: 10.1101/lm.031088.113

Farzan Nadim and Dirk Bucher. (2014) Neuromodulation of neurons and synapses. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 29:48–56. Doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2014.05.003

Graciano Leal, Diogo Comprido, Carlos B. Duarte (2014) BDNF-induced local protein synthesis and synaptic plasticity. Neuropharmacology, 76: 639e656. Doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.04.005

Two-Photon Microscopy

Svoboda K and Yasuda R (2006) Principles of Two-Photon Excitation Primer Microscopy and Its Applications to Neuroscience. Neuron 50, 823–839.

Circuits and Behavior
Luo, L., Callaway, E. M. & Svoboda, K. Genetic Dissection of Neural Circuits. Neuron 57, 634–660 (2008).

Lerner, T. N., Ye, L. & Deisseroth, K. Primer Communication in Neural Circuits : (2016). doi:10.1016/j.cell.2016.02.027

Buzsáki, G., Anastassiou, C. A. & Koch, C. The origin of extracellular fields and currents — EEG , ECoG , LFP and spikes. 13, 407–420 (2012).

Papers for grant proposals:

Yong Zhang, Robert H Cudmore, Da-Ting Lin, David J Linden & Richard L Huganir (2015) Visualization of NMDA receptor–dependent AMPA receptor synaptic plasticity in vivo. Nature Neuroscience 18(3):402.
Sara Rebelo, Ricardo Silva; Tutor: Ana Luisa Carvalho

De Vivo et al. (2017) Ultrastructural evidence for synaptic scaling across the wake/sleep cycle. Science 355, 507–510.
Rui Simões, Maria João Leitão; Tutor: Ana Luisa Carvalho

Diering et al. (2017) Homer1a drives homeostatic scaling-down of excitatory synapses during sleep. Science 355, 511-515.
Catarina Domingues, Marina Rodrigues; Tutor: Hey-Kyoung Lee

Roy DS et al. (2016) Memory retrieval by activating engram cells in mouse models of early Alzheimer’s disease. Nature 531, 508.
Marija Petkovic, Sílvia Rodrigues, Débora Serrenho; Tutor: Alfredo Kirkwood

Han, W. et al. Integrated Control of Predatory Hunting by the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala. Cell 168, 311–324.e18 (2016).
Carla Cavaleiro, Alexandre Pires; Tutor: João Peça

Lin, D. et al. Functional identification of an aggression locus in the mouse hypothalamus. Nature 470, 221–6 (2011).
Mariana Laranjo, Cláudio Costa; Tutor: João Peça

Peixoto, R, Wang, W, Croney, D, Kozorovitskiy, Y, Sabatini, B. Early hyperactivity and precocious maturation of corticostriatal circuits in Shank3B-/- mice. (2016). doi:10.1038/nn.4260
José Pedro Sampaio, Fábio Duarte; Tutor: João Peça

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