Connecting European Neuroscience

Cajal course: Behaviour of Neural Systems

July 15th, 2018 to August 4th, 2018
Champalimaud Centre For The Unknown, Lisbon, Portugal

Behavioral Neuroscience, Behaviour, Neural System

About the Event

Quantitative studies of behaviour are fundamental in our effort to understand brain function and malfunction. Recently, the techniques for studying behaviour, along with those for monitoring and manipulating neural activity, have progressed rapidly. Therefore, we are organizing a summer course to provide promising young scientists with a comprehensive introduction to state-of-the-art techniques in quantitative behavioural analysis.

This 3-week course is a practical “hands-on” introduction to advanced methods in behavioural tracking and analysis and will cover sufficient background such that all participants will be able to establish these techniques in their home laboratories.

The course is organized in 3 blocks. During the first block, the students will use Drosophila fruit flies as a model organism to demonstrate how modern technology (e.g. video tracking, virtual reality, automation, optogenetics, etc.) can be used for quantitative behavioural experiments. In the second block, students will use zebrafish, flies and rodents to demonstrate how new quantitative analysis methods (unsupervised and supervised ethograms, machine learning, mathematical modelling, etc.) can be used to tackle questions about behaviour and brain function. In the third block, students will deploy these new skills to design and implement a week-long research project of their choice that consolidates this new knowledge, culminating in presentations of their findings. The extended project will offer an opportunity for the participants to undertake novel state-of-the-art research supervised by international experts in the field.

Course directors

Gonzalo G. de Polavieja
Champalimaud Research,
  Benjamin de Bivort
Harvard University, 
  Megan Carey
Champalimaud Research,
  Greg Stephens
VU University Amsterdam, 
The Netherlands


Cajal Courses Central Administration
rue d'egmont 11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium


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