Full course description
Recent advances in genetics and stem cell technology have generated unprecedented possibilities for molecular and behavioural neuroscience. Genetic editing techniques allow modulating the expression of genes in selective neuronal or glia subtypes. Using optogenetics, specific neuronal subtypes can be tuned on and off in living, freely moving animals in order to examine their effect on behavioural responses, including cognition. At the cellular level, differentiation of patient-derived pluripotent stem cells into neurons enables to study differential responses of neurons from patients and healthy humans. Even further, patient-derived cells can be steered to organize functional 3D networks, which open new strategies for personalized treatment investigations.
In this course, students will be thought the basic principles of these emerging techniques, some of which will be used during internship projects. Besides theoretical lectures, assignments on the use of bioinformatics tools and applications in experimental paradigms will be given.
Students will be able to understand:
- genome editing tools: TALEN, Zn-fingers, CRISPR/Cas system;
- generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), differentiation to neuronal subtypes, and 3D network formation (i.e. brain organoids);
- applications of iPSCs and organoids for molecular neuroscience;
- principles and application of optogenetics in behavioural neuroscience;
- generation and use of transgenic and knock-out animals.