Course Modules at the MSc in Neuroscience

Learn about the compulsory and elective courses at Neuroscience.

Neuroscience I – Cells and circuits

Course manager: Associate Professor Martin Fredensborg Rath
Credit: 20 ECTS
Exam: Oral exam (after approval of internal reports)
Tags: structure and function of brain cells, motor-sensory systems, brain fluids, homeostasis

Objective. To provide you with a thorough understanding of the structure and function of the central nervous system, ranging from molecular and cellular neurobiology to systems neuroscience. This will include both theoretical knowledge and introduction to the methods used to study cellular components of the nervous system, neural connections, cell excitability and synaptic transmission, as well as the integration of brain functions in the sensory system, the motor system, neuroendocrinology, autonomic control, and brain homeostasis. Neuroimmunology, brain transport barriers, and blood supply are also covered in this course. The course will provide you with translational skills to compare processes in the healthy and the diseased brain, as well as systems neuroscience in both humans and experimental animals.

Content. The course is based on eight modules and an accompanying lecture series covering functional neuroanatomy, structure and function of cells in the central nervous system, synaptic transmission, sensory systems, motor function, brain homeostasis, neuroinflammation, and brain circulation (including brain transport barriers). In addition to the lectures, each module will include hands-on experimental sessions. Considerable emphasis will be given to recent advances in the different fields. You are expected to read, present, and discuss original research articles representing novel scientific concepts and methodologies.

Experimental design in neuroscience

Course manager: Associate Professor Birgitte Rahbek Kornum
Credit: 10 ECTS
Exam: 3 hour written exam
Tags: statistics, genetics, imaging, bioinformatics, personal medicine

Objective. To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the principles of experimental designs in neuroscience. You will gain knowledge on how to integrate different neuroscientific disciplines and methods in order to optimize planning of experiments. The objective is to learn the theory and practice behind important techniques in clinical neuroscience such as imaging (PET, MR), genetics and statistics. You will work with scientific theories and data sets that are particularly valuable in neuroscience. You will conduct data analysis from databases and become familiar with designing experimental as well as clinical neuroscience experiments and protocols.

Content. The course consists of modules in epidemiology, genetics, bioinformatics, statistics, and molecular imaging. You will work theoretically and practically with several aspects of experimental designs in neuroscience, and will be exposed to both theories and data. There will be lectures, journal clubs, practical courses involving data mining and statistics, as well as smaller projects in groups.

Neuroscience II – Higher brain function

Course manager: Associate Professor Ole Kjaerulff
Credit: 15 ECTS
Exam: Oral exam (after approval of internal reports)

Objective. Higher brain functions are characterized by strongly involving the cerebral cortex; examples include attention, executive function, memory, reasoning, problem solving, decision making, emotions, high-level processing of visual and other sensory information, and language. The objective of the course is to convey extensive knowledge of the neuronal mechanisms and brain circuitry that underlie these functions in the healthy brain, derived from brain research within multiple disciplines. Moreover, you will come to apprehend how brain damage associated with injury, disease or addiction affects higher brain functions such as memory, executive functions, and the expression of motivated behavior and personality.

Content. The course program is based on a lecture series offered by researchers with expertise in advanced cerebral functions in both the healthy and diseased brain. At journal clubs, you will study, present, and discuss original research articles representing the most important recent advances in the field. Within specific topics such as memory, emotions, or language, you are presented with the current scientific opinion derived from diverse lines of research, including studies in non-human primates, functional brain imaging, and psychological and electrophysiological techniques. Considerable emphasis will be given to case studies where consequences of specific lesions have helped to elucidate the mechanisms governing normal brain function.

Drug discovery and development in neuroscience (elective)

Course manager: Professor and head of studies Jens D. Mikkelsen
Credit: 7.5 ECTS
Exam: Oral exam
Tags: neuropharmacology, target discovery and validation, new pharmacological treatment

Objective. While the unmet need for novel treatment in neurological and psychiatric diseases is evident, innovative drug discovery in neuroscience has not been successful over the last decades. In this course, you will be introduced to drug discovery strategies in neuroscience and examples of failures and successes. The objective is to introduce you to target identification, target validation, and various challenges in small molecule drug discovery and biological drugs. The main focus will be on developing novel drugs able to enter the brain.

Content. You will participate in lectures, small practical sessions and face to face supervision, and discuss drug discovery strategies. Fundamental knowledge in neuropharmacology will be presented, as well as different stages in drug discovery and development. The various models of brain disorders and their application in drug discovery will be presented. Principles of clinical neuropharmacology will be covered.

Computational neuroscience (elective)

Course manager: Associate professor Rune W. Berg
Credit: 7.5 ECTS
Exam: Oral exam
Tags: theoretical neuroscience, mathematical models, machine learning, artificial intelligence 

Objective. This course will introduce the field of computational neuroscience also known as theoretical neuroscience or mathematical neuroscience. Computational neuroscience is a branch within neuroscience that employs mathematical models, theoretical analysis, and abstractions of the brain to understand the principles that govern the development, structure, physiology, and cognitive abilities of the nervous system. Through the course, you will gain an overview of computational neuroscience and touch on some of the most important parts of the field. The course provides a basis for understanding epilepsy, consciousness, arousal, and sleep.

Content. You will participate in lectures, small practical groups, and face to face supervision and employ hands-on using Matlab or python implementation. There will be homework exercises and discussion of the material.  You will be introduced to single-neuron models and computations, and perform analysis of information in multiple neuronal systems. Neuronal network will be introduced. Coupled oscillators and Kuramoto's theory for coupling systems will be discussed.  Machine learning and artificial intelligence as well as imaging will be covered.

Laboratory animals and novel technologies in behavioral neuroscience (elective)

Course manager: Associate Professor Andreas Toft Sørensen
Credit: 7.5 ECTS
Exam: Approved participation in mandatory course activities and written examination
Tags: optogenetics, chemogenetics, laboratory animal science, gene editing, viral vectors

Objective.  The rapid advances during the past decade in molecular-genetics technologies have heralded a new era for neuroscience research as it enables powerful means to study and understand brain functions, including how behavioral output is commanded by specific circuits and functions in experimental animal models. This course is designed to provide you with a conceptual and practical understanding of several of the most advanced molecular-genetic techniques in neuroscience and approaches in modern behavioral neuroscience. Part of the course content is assigned to FELASA function A/D, providing both practical as well as theoretic introduction to handling, housing and use of laboratory animals in behavioral neuroscience, meaning that after successful completion of the course, students are eligible to conduct behavioral experimental themselves.  

Content. The course curriculum consists of lectures, homework exercises, article presentations and discussions, and lab demo presentations. The course will include topics such as use of transgene animals (knock-in / knock-out); use of genome editing approaches (CRISPR / RNAi) for regulating the expression of specific genes in neurons, an introduction to the design and use of virus vectors (gene delivery systems); biosensors and imaging systems; viral tracing systems; and opto/chemo-genetics techniques. Thus, the course will also serve to illustrate the ways in which the various experimental approaches have been used to advance specific areas of behavioral neuroscience. At the end of the course, you should be able to theoretically apply these techniques in translational animal models reflecting human behaviors and disease states.

Thesis

Course manager: Professor and Head of studies Jens D. Mikkelsen 
Credit: 60 ETCS
Exam
: Oral defense of written report

Objective. Supervised by a faculty, you learn to critically apply scientific methodology in order to address a chosen scientific problem in the field of neuroscience. The thesis will demonstrate your ability to competently formulate, analyse, process, discuss, and interpret as well as undertake experimental scientific work on a relevant topic. This module equips you to communicate research-based knowledge, and to discuss matters of scientific research with fellow professionals and non-specialists.