Third M-GATE training event
The Norwegian Research School in Neuroscience (NRSN) offers an annual summer school that provides PhD students with theoretical and practical research training in current forefront areas of neuroscience. The summer school is organized each year by a different research institution in Norway drawing on local expertise combined with contributions from international faculty. The summer school is intended for PhD students in neuroscience, and priority will be given to members of NRSN. The Summer School "Molecular Genetic Tools for the Study of Neural Circuits" is organized by the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience at NTNU, on behalf of and with support from NRSN (NFR-funded Norwegian Research School in Neuroscience, M-GATE (EC-funded MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE INNOVATIVE TRAINING NETWORK) and JANUBET (NFR-funded Japan and Norway United in Brain Education and Therapeutics).
Further information: Additional information and the program can be found on the NTNU-website.
Molecular Genetic Tools for the Study of Neural Circuits
The primary goal of systems neuroscience is to understand how neural circuits produce behavior. A classical approach to understanding the functional properties of specific brain areas involves lesioning those areas and measuring the resultant behavioral deficits. There are two main problems with this approach: (1) Lesions do not tell you what a brain area does, only what the brain can do without, (2) Even very small lesions can damage numerous cell types and passing fibers. Fortunately, the biological processes that produce such anatomical complexity can be hijacked by modern techniques to create region- and cell-type specific manipulations. Systems neuroscience is now in a golden age where our molecular genetic toolkit enables unprecedented control of neural circuits.
This summer school highlighted the most cutting-edge molecular genetic techniques used today. Experts and inventors provided background information on each technique and shared exciting new data from their research groups to demonstrate the technique’s power. The application of these tools in a wide range of model organisms from fruit fly to rodents to primates was shown. Group discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of each technique, and how to combine them effectively to address specific research question were organized. In addition to technical lectures and research talks from professors, students gave poster presentations and worked with faculty mentors in small groups to prepare project proposals which were presented at the end of the week. There was ample time for discussion between students and faculty throughout offering an excellent networking opportunity. Lastly, there was time for excursions in the breathtaking nature of northern Norway.
In total, 51 students participated of which 12 M-GATE students. The event was positively evaluated.