Connecting European Neuroscience

Behaviour of Neural Systems

15 July - 4 August 2018, Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal












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


Confirmed speakers

Tsevi Beatus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Gordon Berman
, Emory University, USA
Kristin Branson, Janelia Research Campus, USA
Andre Brown, Imperial College London, UK
Iain Couzin, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany
Bob Datta, Harvard University, USA
Ofer Feinerman, Weizmann Institute of Sciences, Israel
Giorgio F. Gilestro, Imperial College London, UK
Deborah Gordon, Stanford University, USA
Kate Jeffery, University College of London, UK
Gilles Laurent, MPI Brain Research, Germany
Marcelo Magnasco, Rockefeller University, USA
David Schwab, The City University of New York, USA 
Andrew Straw, University of Freiburg, Germany
Claire Wyart, Brain and Spine Institute, France


For further information on the course programme, instructors and techniques go to the course local website.



Fee : 3.500 € (includes tuition fee, accommodation and meals)

The CAJAL programme offers 4 stipends per course (waived registration fee, not including travel expenses). Please apply through the course online application form. In order to identify candidates in real need of a stipend, any grant applicant is encouraged to first request funds from their lab, institution or government.

Kindly note that if you benefited from a Cajal stipend in the past, you are no longer eligible to receive this kind of funding. However other types of funding (such as partial travel grants from sponsors) might be made available after the participants selection process, depending on the course.



Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal

For enquires, please contact: