Why are there currently still no cures even for intensively studied neurodevelopmental and movement disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders? Starting from this basic question you are going to set a frame in this interfaculty minor “Translational Neuroscience” and draw upon the following topics: What is nowadays known about the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these disorders – and what is not known? What state of the art scientific tools do we currently have to investigate these disorders? Where is preclinical and clinical research now and are there new treatments and therapies in sight? The problems clinicians and researchers nowadays face with neurodevelopmental and movement disorders range from diagnostics, neurobiology, genetics and choosing suitable research methodologies to therapy.
Aim of this course is to enable you to apply the current knowledge in neurobiology to propose translational research strategies that will help to either better understand the etiology of neurological disorders or their potential treatments. For this, during the minor, you will have the opportunity to focus either more on the translational/clinical aspects of neuroscience or on the neurobiological/translational ones.
A core element of the minor is that during its entire length you will work in groups of three students in order to produce together a translational research proposal for studying a particular neurological or movement disorder. During this project you will carry out a systematic review of the scientific literature complementary to the information that has been taught in the course modules. Each group will be supported by a “personal tutor”, who is an expert scientist or clinician in the respective field.
Content wise, we will first introduce the clinical problem settings. Partially using patient demonstrations, clinicians, who have hands-on experience on the respective disorders, will introduce the clinical aspects of selected relevant neurological and movement disorders. Subsequently researchers will provide you with the fundamental knowledge of neurobiological and genetic processes as well as state of the art methodologies (including (lab) practical(s)), at a level where you can appreciate the mechanisms that (potentially) underlie neurological disorders. Finally, we will explain and illustrate the current applications of various methodologies in translational and clinical research as well as in therapy and diagnostics. That way you will learn about the applicability, advantages and disadvantages of the experimental methodological approaches that are currently available to study the animal and human brain and how to integrate all this in your translational research proposal project.
Neurobiology, Systems neurobiology, neurodevelopment, genetics, in vivo and in vitro neuroscience research methodologies, neurological disorders, neuroimaging, translational research, research proposal.