TENSS concentrates top-level international expertise to teach a dozen students techniques and concepts in experimental systems neuroscience. We focus on modern optical and electrophysiological methods to study the connectivity and function of neuronal circuits. The course is designed to be intensive and highly interactive, including both lab sessions and theoretical lectures. Coursework will take place in a land of myth and legend, beyond large forests (Transylvania), on the shores of a picturesque natural reserve called Pike Lake. Applications are welcome from interested (and interesting) graduate students and postdocs.
About the program
The course is focused on experimental and theoretical methods to study how the brain operates at the level of neuronal circuits. We cover various optical and electrophysiological concepts and techniques used currently in systems neuroscience from the basics to advanced topics on both theoretical and experimental grounds. TENSS also provides important insights into modern machine learning techniques and artificial intelligence, with application to advanced neuroscience data analysis.
The course is designed to be a highly interactive, hands-on experience, reflecting the atmosphere of CSHL, Woods Hole or Champalimaud courses. Typically, each course day will contain an extended lab session and several theoretical lectures. Hard work will be combined with a few trips through the beautiful Transylvanian countryside.
The summer school offers training for 12-14 students at graduate or postdoc level. Selection will be based on the assessment of the student’s abilities and of how much the student would benefit from the training in her/his home laboratory.
- Basic Optics – Diffraction and Resolution. Illumination Techniques. Numerical Aperture.
- Optical bench exercises – Lenses, optical systems, illumination methods, basic microscopy techniques. How to custom build different kinds of microscopes.
- Noise measurements and photo-sensors – Shot noise, optical detectors, amplifiers, NI-DAQ, CCD cameras, photodiodes, photo multiplier tubes (PMTs).
- Light and fluorescence microscopy – Fluorescence, FRAP, photo-activation, photo-conversion. Point spread function measurements, basic image analysis (deconvolution, denoising, PCA).
- Fluorescence probes – GFP, GFP based chromophores, organic calcium dyes, genetically encoded calcium dyes, pHluorins, voltage sensitive dyes.
- Intrinsic Optical Imaging – Visual, auditory & barrel cortex; olfactory bulb. Students will build a custom wide field fluorescence and intrinsic optical imaging rig.
- Scanning microscopy – Confocal and two-photon microscopy. Lasers. Students will build a two-photon microscope and write custom scanning and acquisition software in MATLAB and NI DAQmx. The ScanImage API.
- Viral approaches to label, monitor and alter neuronal circuits.
- Optogenetics – Light activated ion channels and pumps. Patterned photo-stimulation techniques.
- Benchtop electronics and basic electrophysiology – Impedence and Dipoles. Amplifiers. Extracellular and intracellular recordings. LFP; single unit, multi-unit extracellular recordings, tetrodes, electrode arrays; patch clamp.
- Awake head fixed and freely moving optical and electrophysiological recording strategies in rodents – Microdrives. Fiber optic based systems. Open source systems. Open Ephys.
- Techniques for electrophysiological data analysis.
- Monitoring animal behavior – Open Source tools for acquisition and analysis of video data. Intro to Bonsai and Arduino. Training Strategies. Closed loop systems.
- Neuronal functional connectivity and neuronal connectomics – Serial electron-microscopy and trans-synaptic labeling methods.
- Synchrony and oscillations.
- Cortical attention, sparse neuronal codes.
- Decision making, uncertainty, neuro-modulatory systems.
- Machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- Governance and ethics.
- Laboratory animal science.
The registration fee is 2500 Euro (currency converter), which will cover full board, lodging, trips and transfer from Cluj-Napoca International Airport to Pike Lake. Acceptance to the course is NOT conditioned by one’s ability to cover the registration fee.
- We strongly encourage those with limited or no financial possibilities to apply. TENSS offers means of financial aid for participants who cannot afford to pay the registration fee.
- If applicable, please specify in your application form the reason why you need financial support.