3-7th of December 2018


Target group:  PhD candidates in the first half (year 1 or 2) of their PhD trajectory. Group is limited to 14 participants

Prerequisites: Working knowledge of English

Location: GIGA


Duration of the course and workload: 5 days;  ±42h for the whole course duration, including:

Contact class hours – 4h/day in the morning (8h30-10h30 & 11h-13h) = 20h

Practical courses – lab and platform visits/demonstrations – 3h/day (14h30-17h30) = 15h

Self-study –article reading (3 review articles) = 6-8h

Coordinator:  Franzen Rachelle – GIGA Neurosciences



Bahri Mohamed Ali - GIGA-CRC In vivo Imaging (MB)

Bakker Julie - GIGA Neurosciences (JB)

Bastin Christine – GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (CB)

Becker Guillaume – GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (GB)

Bettendorff Lucien – GIGA Neurosciences (LB)

Chatelle Camille  - GIGA-Consciousness (CCh)

Collette Fabienne – GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (FC)

Cornil Charlotte - GIGA Neurosciences (CC)

Delacroix Laurence – GIGA Neurosciences (LD)

Depierreux Frederique - GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (FD)

Engel Dominique – GIGA Neurosciences (DE)

Garraux Gaëtan – GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (GG)

Gosseries Olivia  - GIGA-Consciousness (OG)

Leprince Pierre – GIGA Neurosciences (PL)

Malgrange Brigitte – GIGA Neurosciences (BM)

Nguyen Laurent – GIGA Neurosciences ((LN)

Parmentier Eric – Neurologie CHU (EP)

Plenevaux Alain - GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (AP)

Salmon Eric – GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (ES)

Schmidt Christina - GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (CS)

Thibaut Aurore - GIGA-Consciousness (AT)

Vandewalle Gilles – GIGA-CRC in vivo imaging (GV)

Vanhaudenhuyse Audrey - GIGA-Consciousness (AV)


Course program


Day 1: The normal brain, from development to adult.


08:30 – 09:30  Neuron organization and function (Gilles Vandewalle)

  • Neuroanatomy of the brain
  • Functional specialization, parallel processing and hierarchical organization of the brain

09:30 – 10:30  Brain development: focus on the cortex  (Laurent Nguyen)

  • How to build a cerebral cortex – from stem cells to neurons
  • Insights into the molecular cross-talks shaping the developing cortex
  • From bench to bedside: understanding the mechanisms of brain development sheds light on the causes of brain malformations

10:30 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:00  Glial cells (Pierre Leprince)

  • Astrocytes
  • Oligodendrocytes and central myelin
  • Microglia

12:00 – 13:00  The Peripheral Nervous System (Brigitte Malgrange)

  • Development
  • Nerves and ganglia
  • Schwann cells and peripheral myelin

13:00- 14:30    Lunch break

14:30 – 17:30  Workshops – Two groups of students would take turn between two workshops:

  • Visit and demonstration at the GIGA imaging platform: Light-sheet microscopy, confocal microscopy and time-lapse  (Brigitte Malgrange, Laurence Delacroix, Stephen Freeman)
  • How to plan and conduct animal behavior analysis? Visits of facilities, illustration of behavior test using movies, practical’s about experimental design (Charlotte Cornil, Julie Bakker)


Day 2: Chemical actors in the brain.

Location: GIGA Neuroscience meeting room, B36, +1

08:30 – 09:30  How do hormones modulate brain and behavior? (Charlotte Cornil)

  • What are hormones ?
  • How do they act in the adult brain? (where? mechanisms of action)
  • How do they permanently shape the developing brain?

9:30 – 10:30  Sexual differentiation of the human brain (Julie Bakker)

  • Do hormones affect the human brain?
  • Disorders of Sex Development: is the brain affected?

10:30 – 11:00  Break

11:00 – 12:00  Voltage-gated ion channels activated during sodium action potentials (Dominique Engel)

  • Basic properties of action potentials in excitable membranes
  • Macroscopic analysis of voltage-dependent Na+ and K+ currents associated to action potentials in the whole cell
  • Microscopic analysis of voltage-gated Na+ and K+ channels from single-channel recordings

12:00 – 13:00 Structure and function of voltage-gated cation channels (Lucien Bettendorff)

  • From macroscopic currents to channel proteins
  • Discovery and elucidation of the primary structure of voltage-gated Na+ channels
  • From the primary sequence to the three-dimensional structure of voltage-gated Na+ and K+ channels
  • Mechanism of voltage-dependent activation and gating
  • The pore-structure and selective permeability of voltage-gated Na+ and K+ channels
  • Inactivation of voltage-gated Na+ channels

13:00- 14:30  Lunch break

14:30 – 17:30 Workshops -  Preclinical and clinical electrophysiology. Two groups of students will take turn between 2 workshops:

  • Pre-clinical studies  - Electrophysiology unit at the GIGA Neurosciences (Dominique Engel)
  • Clinical studies - Visit of the neurophysiology unit (Eric Parmentier & Olivia Gosseries)     

Day 3: Cognitive Neurosciences. Location GIGA CRC in vivo imaging

08:30 – 10:30 Basal ganglia network

  • Parkinson's disease and other disorders of basal ganglia networks: overview (Gaetan Garraux)
  • Basal ganglia network electrophysiology: single cells recordings and local field potentials (Eric Parmentier)
  • Clinical studies (Frederique Depierreux)
  • Q/A session

10:30- 11:00: Break

11:00 – 13:00  Cognition, Alzheimer’s disease, animal models (Eric Salmon & Fabienne Collette)

  • Changes in high-level cognition in healthy aging and Alzheimer’s disease (executive functions-attention-memory)
  • Neurodegeneration – case of Alzheimer’s disease

12:30 – 14:00  Lunch break

14:00 – 18:00  Workshops - Clinical brain imaging. The group is divided in 2 subgroups – they rotate for the first 2 hours and then all together for the last hour (Eric Salmon, Christine Bastin, Gaetan Garraux)

MRI, PET-Scan: CRC visit

  • IRM demonstration and data analyse (1h)
  • Cognitive assessment demonstration and practice (1h)
  • PET visit and discussion of the paper (1h)

Day 4: Sleep, Memory & Consciousness + Preclinical Imaging. Location: GIGA CRC in vivo imaging

8:30 – 10:30  Consciousness and memory (Christine Bastin)

  • The forms of awareness associated with memory retrieval
  • The construction of identity
  • Anosognosia: Lack of self-awareness
  • Self-consciousness, future and past self-projections

Sleep & Memory (molecular and cellular aspects, sleep cycles, sleep troubles, dreams (Gilles Vandewalle et Christina Schmidt)

  • Sleep mechanisms: from neural circuits to brain area interaction
  • Sleep regulation: interaction between the circadian clock and sleep homeostasis
  • Sleep functions: from energy balance to memory consolidation

10:30- 11:00 Break

11:00 – 13:00 Clinical situations with conscious modifications: trauma, anesthesia, hypnosis

  • Neural correlates of consciousness (Olivia Gosseries)
  • Neuromodulation in brain injured patients (Aurore Thibaut)
  • Brain computer interface (Camille Chatelle)
  • Hypnosis (Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse)

13:00 – 14:30: Lunch break

14:30 – 15:00 In vivo models (Alain Plenevaux)

15:00-17:00: Workshops  - Preclinical Brain Imaging (Alain Plenevaux, Guillaume Becker, Mohamed Ali Bahri)

  • Lab visit
  • Image manipulation on computers
  • Q&A

Day 5: Stem Cells & Global Presentation of the different Neurosciences-URT  - GIGA

08:30- 10:00  Stem cells (Brigitte Malgrange, Laurence Delacroix)

  • Embryonic, adult and induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Stem cells : a useful research tool to study neurological diseases
  • Stem cells : a useful model for drug screening
  • Stem cells and cell therapy in the nervous system: future perspectives

10:00- 10:30:  Break

10:30 – 12:00 Analysis of a seminal paper in the field (Brigitte Malgrange & Laurence Delacroix)

12:00 – 12:30 Visit of the iPS platform

12:30 – 14:00: Lunch break

14:00 – 14:30  Global overview & presentation of the main topics developed in the 3 Neurosciences URT

14:30 – 15:00   PhD students presentations: “my thesis in 180 seconds” (2 PhD students / URT)

15:00 – 17:00    General conclusions. Q&A session. (All teachers and PIs from the 3 URT)

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