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Methods in Neuroscience

The focus of the elite study pro­gram “Translational Neu­rosci­ence” is on prac­tice-oriented train­ing in neu­rosci­entific re­search meth­ods. In the “Methods in Neu­rosci­ence” mod­ule in the first se­mes­ter, stu­dents learn about nu­mer­ous estab­lished and inno­vative meth­ods. Since many inter­na­tional de­grees with a wide varie­ty of fo­cuses come to­gether in the first se­mes­ter, the dif­ferent parts of the course are ideal for giving all “first­ies” an over­view of the di­verse re­search areas of our de­gree pro­gram and arous­ing deep­er inter­est.

Mobile EEG combined with human eye and motion tracking – Gamze Adaçay, Turkey

Meth­ods for meas­uring brain activi­ty were clear­ly pre­sent­ed, fol­lowed by ex­am­ples of exper­imental setups and stud­ies. In the main part of the course we exam­ined the ques­tion of why and how EEG be­came one of the most suc­cess­ful ap­proaches in hu­man neu­rosci­ence. To im­prove un­der­stand­ing, the sub­ject was pre­sent­ed with vari­ous stud­ies and imag­es, in­clud­ing vide­os. The ses­sion was flu­ent, attrac­tive and in­form­ative.

Super-resolution iPSC-derived sensory neurons – Anamaria-Domnica Vladoiu, Romania

In the iPSC (in­duced plu­ripotent stem cells) meth­od class, we were guid­ed through the prin­ciple and proto­col of ex­pan­sion mi­cros­copy, with the aim of study­ing iP­SC-derived senso­ry neu­rons (iSN). We visu­alized cell cul­tures to check neu­ronal dif­feren­ti­ation, went through phas­es such as gela­tion and chamber coat­ing, and ulti­mate­ly the high-resolu­tion mi­cros­copy was im­pres­sive.

Basic introduction to genomic databases and computer-assisted sequence analysis – Tierney Kuhn, USA

The lec­turer packed an in­credi­ble amount of in­for­mation into just four hours. And crazy enough, I was able to fol­low! He start­ed by show­ing us how to zoom into se­quences of inter­est in UCSC's ge­nome browser, to pre­dicting their pro­tein trans­lation, to guid­ing us on how to de­sign our own plas­mids. De­spite this fast pace, I nev­er felt like I was lost be­cause at every step he per­sonal­ly checked on each of us to make sure we were fol­low­ing him. Even when my com­puter crashed and I had to bor­row my roommate's Chrome­book, he found a way to get ApE run­ning on my com­put­er.

Immunocytochemistry of the neuromuscular junction – Camille Nicole Cauchi, Malta

After an in­form­ative over­view of the exper­iments to be car­ried out, the tissue neces­sary for ob­serv­ing the neu­ro­mus­cular con­nec­tion was pre­pared. The neu­ro­mus­cular junc­tions were stained and ana­lyzed under the con­focal mi­cro­scope. The result­ing imag­es showed the ex­pres­sion of ThY1-YFP in se­lected neu­rons and pro­vided a com­pre­hen­sive view of the postsynaptic envi­ron­ment, as shown in the figure be­low.

Dur­ing this ses­sion, we be­came famil­iar with novel meth­ods and re­ceived de­tailed in­struc­tions on how to con­duct the exper­iment. The inte­gra­tion of theo­retical knowledge with prac­tical appli­cation im­proved the un­der­stand­ing of the topic and demonstrated that this ses­sion is a great com­po­nent to the over­all learn­ing expe­rience.

A com­plete report on other course parts can be found on the homepage of the Elite Grad­uate Pro­gram “Translational Neuroscience”.

Text: Dr. Manuel Nagel, Gamze Adaçay, Anamaria-Domnica Vladoiu, Tierney Kuhn, Camille Nicole Cauchi