Synapses are sites of information transfer and storage in the brain. These specialised structures integrate complex signals and undergo functional changes that underlie the formation of memories. Synaptic dysfunction is associated with early stages of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and underlies neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability.
Studying synapse function and plasticity is key to understanding brain circuits that underlie behaviour, and to identify synaptic malfunction mechanisms underpinning brain diseases. This course will allow students to integrate theoretical and methodological concepts on synapse biology with hands-on experience on state-of-the art imaging, functional and computational methodologies. The course provides an in-depth understanding to many concepts such as synapse formation and maintenance, pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms, structural and functional synaptic plasticity, synaptic integration in neuronal networks and synaptopathies. Hands-on experimental projects conducted in small groups with the support of senior scientists will expose the students to methodologies at the forefront of research in this field.
Ana Luisa Carvalho – Coimbra University, Portugal
Mathieu Letellier – Bordeaux University, France
Hey-Kyoung Lee – John Hopkins University., US