Blue Brain Portal

Neuroscience reconstructed: towards an integrative approach

A new EPFL /BBP MOOC in development

EPFL is developing an online and open educational course that can serve to teach the future generation of Neuroscientists. This course will provide the fundamental knowledge in neuroscience required to understand how the brain is organised and, how function at multiple scales is integrated to give rise to cognition and behaviour. It aims to teach students in Life Sciences and it will also be a great learning tool for advanced students (PhD’s, post docs) in other domains such as computer science or physics, that want to apply their knowledge and skills within the neuroscience domain.

The EPFL team is creating the original content and teaching materials based on current state of the art research and knowledge. In collaboration with Frontiers a collection of review and mini-review articles is being curated that will serve as essential references for this new educational resource. The multi-scale structure of the brain is reflected in the multi-scale structure of the MOOC: genetics and neurodevelopment, neuroproteomics and metabolomics, cellular neurobiology, synaptic physiology and transmission, neural circuits and networks, neuroanatomy, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral neuroscience. In each topic, the course will provide the fundamental knowledge in neuroscience required to understand how bridging scales and complexity can be achieved through data-driven modelling. For all of these topics we will also show that modelling and simulations allow the extraction of meaning that data alone might not provide. Furthermore, the course will allow access to the Blue Brain Project and Human Brain Project platforms for learners to consolidate learning while acquiring hands-on experience with data handling and in-silico simulations.

Our team

Our passionate team is a diverse, selected group of experts that shares a common passion to understand the brain. They are people who have significantly contributed to basic, clinical, applied or translational neuroscience. They have all been brought together by their desire to inspire and be inspired, to explore new possibilities for education, and to constantly transform the field of neuroscience.

The MOOC reflects our collective vision of what skills and knowledge 21st century neuroscientists should acquire. We are creating an unrivaled course with contributions from remarkable people, leading scientists and innovators across a wide range of disciplines: Biology, neurology, physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science and cognitive science.

Contact

Annechien Helsdingen

Leonor Teles Grilo Ruivo

The MOOC structure

A. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

A.1 Genetics and Brain Development

This section will cover the basic concepts in neurogenetics; introduce the fields of genomics, transcriptomics, translatomics; classical and cutting-edge experimental approaches; and how integrative simulation can be used to derive biological meaning from genetics data and build bridges from genetics all the way to behaviour.

A.2 Proteomics & Co.

This section will cover the basic concepts required to understand the lifecycle of a protein; introduce the fields of translatomics, proteomics, interactomics; classical and cutting-edge experimental approaches; and explore how integrative simulation can be useful to understand the relationship between protein function and brain physiology.

A.3 Cellular biology of the brain

This section will cover the structure of the nervous system, from molecules to tissues and their function; experimental approaches to understand cell physiology and cellular interactions; how integrative simulation helps in extracting biological meaning from large amounts of data and establishing causal relationships between cellular morphology, physiology and brain function.

B. Network and Systems Neuroscience

B.1 Synaptic physiology

This section will cover the basics of neuronal and glial cell signaling, plasticity, neuromodulation and information storage; experimental approaches; and how integrative simulation is an invaluable tool to model and study synaptic physiology and function in relationship with genomics, proteomics, connectomics and brain function.

B.2 Neuronal circuits

This section will cover the basics of brain microcircuit architecture from a cellular and structural point of view; network rhythms, function and dysfunction; classical and cutting-edge experimental approaches; and how integrative simulation can bring together knowledge from genetics, cellular neurobiology and synaptic physiology to understand network function in relationship to cognition and behavior.

B.3 Neuroanatomy

This section will cover the anatomical organization of the brain and how that supports function; experimental approaches and how integrative simulation can help to elucidate the relationship between anatomy and whole-brain function.

C Applications

C.1 Cognition

This section will cover the main elements of cognition; experimental approaches; and how integrative simulation can help elucidate the relationship discrete brain circuits, neurotransmitter systems, and genetic factors to give rise to cognitive function.

C.2 Behavior

This section will cover important aspects of human/animal behavior; experimental approaches; and how integrative simulation can be used as a means to understand how cognitive processes, neural network function, cell physiology and genetics support and underlie behavior.