Developmental neurobiology of the vertebrate brain

Dit vak wordt in het Engels aangeboden. Omschrijvingen kunnen daardoor mogelijk alleen in het Engels worden weergegeven.

Doel vak

Many brain disorders originate from defects during early brain
development. Therefore it is of vital importance that future
neuroscience researchers obtain in depth knowledge of brain development.

This course will provide insights in the developmental mechanisms of
neural circuits and their plasticity during early and late brain
The following issues will be covered: Molecular mechanisms of brain
development from neurogenesis, neuronal migration, neuronal
differentiation, axonal growth to synapse formation. We will address
critical periods of development and experience dependent plasticity
during embryonic and adult life in relation to normal brain function and
brain disorders.
These topics are discussed while considering the adequate research
technology and will be addressed during hands-on lab work using cultured

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Lectures, seminars, master classes. The first two weeks will consist of
lectures covering the developmental neurobiology topics discussed above
and master classes from experts in the field of developmental
neurobiology. The last two weeks will focus on and hands-on training on
early development of mouse neurons in culture. In the last week,
students will present on specific topics in developmental neurobiology.


This is a full time course.
Week 1&2: Lectures and seminars. These 2 weeks will be examined during
a mid-term exam.
Week 3&4: Master classes, Journal Clubs and hands-on practicals focused
on early development of neuronal networks, Human iPS cells and neuro-
glia interactions.
In week 4, students will present on specific topics in developmental

Theory (30%)
A. Lectures
- 8 sessions of ± 3 hrs: 24 hrs
B. Masterclasses
- 3 classes of ± 3 hrs: 9 hrs
C. Individual Journal Club task
- 1 high-impact paper presentation 6 sessions of 2 hrs: 12 hrs
Hands-on lab work (30%)
- neuron development in vitro (polarization, neurite outgrowth, synapse
formation): 10 sessions of ± 4 hrs: 40 hrs
- Presentation of results lab work: 1 session of 5 hrs
Self study (40%)
- 60 hrs


Written mid-term exam (40%). Oral presentation of seminar task (30%).
Presentation of labwork (30%)
Students need to pass all parts (grade > 5.5) to obtain final grade.

Vereiste voorkennis

1st year Master of Neurociences or equivalent.
Course is also open to non-VU students with neuroscience background or a
strong interest in neuroscience. Please send email to course coordinator
Ruud Toonen (
with study program details for eligibility and availability check.


Handouts will be distributed at the beginning of the course.
PDFs of all lectures will be made available via Canvas.


2nd year Master of Neurosciences or equivalent.
Please mind: this course is for 2nd year master students only.

Afwijkende intekenprocedure

Maximum number of students is 20. Students from the Master of Neuroscience will have first choice. Course is open for non-Master of Neuroscience students. Please send email to course coordinator Ruud Toonen ( with study program details for eligibility and availability check.

Algemene informatie

Vakcode AM_470713
Studiepunten 6 EC
Periode P2
Vakniveau 500
Onderwijstaal Engels
Faculteit Faculteit der Bètawetenschappen
Vakcoördinator dr. R.F.G. Toonen
Examinator dr. R.F.G. Toonen
Docenten dr. R.F.G. Toonen

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