PHD Programme in

Experimental Biology and Biomedicine


PDBEB Courses 2022/2023 - Neuroscience - From Synapses to Circuits and Brain Diseases (Module 1 - Synapse Assembly, Function and Plasticity)

Organized by

Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology

Date & Time

16/01/2023 - 20/01/2023


CNC, Polo I, FMUC building - Auditorium 2º F



Deadline : 19/12/2022



The goal of the PDBEB Advanced Courses in Neuroscience is to provide an integrated view into both the physiological processes of neuronal synapses and circuits, and their dysfunction in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. In tandem with theoretical courses taught by international experts in the field, these advanced courses will include multiple intensive practical workshops. Students will attend theoretical and methodological lectures during the morning, and spend the afternoon performing hands-on projects in groups of 2-3 students.

In module 1 on Synapse Assembly, Function and Plasticity, the following topics will be addressed:

- Axonal growth and axonal transport
- Synaptogenesis and synapse specificity
- Presynaptic function
- Imaging synaptic function, structure and dynamics
- Hebbian and homeostatic synaptic plasticity
- Neuronal excitability and the regulation of synapses
- Inhibitory transmission
- Local translation in synapse regulation
- Synaptopathies

Experimental projects include:

- Studying synaptogenesis by imaging hemi-synapses
- Synaptic homeostatic plasticity in cultures of primary rat neurons
- Recording synaptic activity and plasticity in acute hippocampal slices
- Measuring potassium channel function
- Assessing F-actin dynamics in spines
- Evaluating neuronal and network activity in cultured neurons using multi-electrode arrays
- Analysis of synaptic surface receptors in neuronal cultures with quantitative immunocytochemistry
- Study of axonal transport and analysis with kymographs


Available here.


MONDAY January 16 – Neuronal development and synaptogenesis
09h30 - 09h45: Structure of the course; Introduction of students and lecturers
09h45 - 10h30: Dynamics of axonal growth | Mónica Sousa
10h30 - 11h00: Coffee Break
11h00 - 11h45: Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in the formation of synaptic structures: insight from Drosophila studies | Rita Teodoro

11h45 - 12h30: Principles of neurophysiology | Paulo Pinheiro
14h00 - 19h00: Introduction to hands-on project and protocol preparation

TUESDAY January 17 -Presynaptic regulation
09h00 - 09h45: Synaptogenesis in the brain | Joris de Wit
09h45 - 10h30: Introduction to the presynapse: methods for studying presynaptic function| Paulo Pinheiro
10h30 - 11h00: Coffee Break
11h00 - 11h45: Neural excitability and the regulation of synapses | Patricia Monteiro
11h45 - 12h30: Post-synaptic receptor function| Joana Ferreira
14h00 - 19h00: Hands-on project

WEDNESDAY January 18 -Postsynaptic function and plasticity
09h00 - 09h45: How do cell-surface interactions specify synaptic connectivity | Joris de Wit
09h45 - 10h30: Synaptic plasticity: does it really matter? | Ana Luísa Carvalho
10h30 - 11h00: Coffee Break
11h00 - 11h45: Local translation at the synapse: functional relevance and mechanisms of regulation| Carlos B. Duarte
11h45 - 12h30: Motor learning-induced synaptic plasticity| Daniela Pereira
14h00 - 19h00: Hands-on project

THURSDAY January 19 - Inhibitory synapses and synaptopathies
09h00 - 09h45: Inhibitory synapses: structure, function and plasticity | Miranda Mele
09h45 - 10h30: Synaptic dysfunction in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders| Ana Luísa Carvalho
10h30 - 11h00: Coffee Break
11h00 - 11h45: The role of NMDA receptor and neuroligin rare variants in synaptic dysfunction underlying neurodevelopmental disorders| Marta Vieira

11h45 - 12h30: Synaptic basis of network dysfunction in neurodevelopmental disorders| Nael Nadif Kasri
14h00 - 15h00: Seminar: Title to be announced | Joris de Wit
15h00 - 19h00: Hands-on project/data analysis

FRIDAY January 20
09h00 - 10h30: Student presentations
10h30 - 11h00: Coffee Break
11h00 - 12h30: Student presentations
14h00 - 15h00: Seminar: Title to be announced | Nael Nadif Kasri
15h00 - 19h00: Social activity

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