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Advances in Neurophysiology


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of principles of neuroscience (Introduction to the Neuroscience, E. Lakke): Passive and active properties of neurons, Nernst-potential, Ohm’s law, action potential, voltage-dependent currents, synaptic transmission. Most importantly is student’s interest in the field and motivation. Contact coordinator for more details.


Period: April 2 – April 27, 2012


The understanding of the neurophysiological basis of animal and human behavior and disease has been rapidly advanced in the last decade by new experimental methods in neuroscience. Among these are cell and tissue culture of the nervous system, electrophysiological techniques and imaging methods.

The course is a theoretical and practical introduction in some of these methods and these methods are used on different organizational levels (cell, brain slice, organotypic slice culture).

Program of the course
Lectures will be given on basic principles in neuroscience as well as special research topics (e.g. neurobiology of circadian rhythms, modulation of synaptic function, neurodevelopment in Drosophila, episodic brain disorders).
The practical part consists of fiveexperimental blocks (student groups rotate weekly):

  • Cell and tissue culture

  • Bioluminesence imaging of neurons in organotypic slice

  • In vitro electrophysiology

  • Neuromuscular junction recordings

  • Calcium imaging in brain slices

In addition to the lectures and demonstrations, a small research project will be conducted which includes the experimental design of a study, the execution of the experiments and the analysis of the data. Each student will finish with a short research report composed of Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion.

This course will particularly work on:

Research competences:
Analyzing data, choosing appropriate techniques, integrate different biomedical disciplines

Professional competences:
Collaborating with peers, commitment, motivation and drive, respecting the rules of the group

Course objectives

The student:

  • has a good understanding of the basic principles in neuroscience

  • knows how and is able to perform advanced experimental procedures to study neuronal and synaptic functions

  • is able to design experiments for testing hypotheses related to neurophysiology

Mode of instruction

Lectures, hands-on practicals, experimental demonstrations, tutorials, journal club, workshops with self-study assignment.

Assessment method

Written report on the practical; student behaviour (motivation, independency, oral reporting, participation in discussion); various group products which are marked on the basis of consensus; various individual student products which are marked on the basis of consensus, Interactive oral assessment (coordinator evaluates the student and vice versa) of progress during the course.