Connecting European Neuroscience

Quantitative approaches to behaviour

CANCELLED: 19 July – 8 August 2020, Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Portugal

The CAJAL Training Programme is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closelyMore information here.

 ! Due to the COVID-19 latest developments, this course was cancelled.

Quantitative  and qualitative 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 during behaviour, have progressed rapidly. Our summer course aims at providing 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
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 
The Netherlands
Gordon Berman
Emory University,


Keynote Speakers

Kristin Branson, Janelia Research Campus, USA
Andre Brown, Imperial College London, UK
Eugenia Chiappe, Champalimaud Research, Portugal
Bob Datta, Harvard University, USA
Giorgio F. Gilestro, Imperial College London, UK
Ilona Kadow, Technical University of Munich, Germany
Alexander Mathis, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Ilya Nemenman, Emory University, USA
Michael Orger, Champalimaud Research, Portugal
Orit Peleg, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
Sam Sober, Emory University, USA
Massimo Vergassola, UC San Diego, USA 

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 enquiries, please contact:

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