This course is offered by the Department of Molecular Genetics of the VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Coordinator: Albena Jordanova
Lecturers: Albena Jordanova
Goal and content
Molecular neuroscience is advancing at a spectacular rate, revealing important clues to the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of neurological diseases. This course aims to review unifying ideas and concepts and to relate this information to disease examples that reflect our current knowledge in molecular neurology. The students will learn in a research- and disease-oriented manner how neurons are organized and maintained, and how they communicate by means of synapses. The course will examine numerous neurological disorders sharing apparently common features and will discuss to what extent these features reflect common patho-mechanisms. Examples of recent research breakthroughs of the Department of Molecular Genetics in the domain of neurodegenerative disorders will be presented. The course will further explore how the underlying mechanisms in these disparate disorders may be targeted for potential diagnostic and therapeutic gain. Participation in the course will provide an essential conceptual framework for students intending to pursue research.
- Molecular and cellular architectonics of the nervous tissue. Cellular components. The role of neuron-glia interaction. Subcellular organization, organelles and their function in health and disease;
- Synthesis, turnover and trafficking of neuronal proteins and RNA. Neuronal defects related to protein and RNA metabolism;
- Principles of excitation and transmission in the nervous system
- Programmed cell death: genetics and role in neurodegenerative disorders.
- Oxidative stress in neurodegeneration and stroke.
- Approaches in molecular neuroscience research. Genetics as a tool in neurology. Cellular and animal models – advantages and disadvantages.
Prerequisite knowledge: Relevant BA. A specific prerequisite for this course is knowledge of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology
Teaching method: general introductions by instructors; student discussions about papers.
Place/time/frequency: weekly classes over a twelve-week period.
Assessment: papers and presentations.
Literature: Handouts and review articles from the lector. Textbooks: Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM, Principles of Neural Science, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2000; Waxman S, Molecular Neurology, Elsevier, ISBN: 978-0-12-369509-3.