Cajal Course in Quantitative Approaches to Behaviour

19 July to 7 August 2020, Lisbon, Portugal

COVID-19 Disclaimer:

The Cajal Programme and the Champalimaud Research take the ongoing global health concern seriously, and are monitoring closely the epidemiological evolution global and locally. We are closely following all institutional, national and international recommendations for appropriate action as they become available, please find more information here.

We encourage the consultation of the World Health Organization, WHO website for updates and advice. In addition, we recommend including cancellation insurance when booking travel.

In light of the challenges and complexities of professional decision-making in recent days, we are extending the course application deadline (March 31st). We currently expect the course to proceed as planned, and will inform all applicants in case that situation changes.

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 behavioral 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 behavior 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.

Applications will be assessed by a committee, with selection being based on the following criteria: the scientific promise of the candidate (CV), evidence that the course will afford substantial benefit to the candidate (motivation letter), and the recommendation letters, as well as an overall balance of scientific background, gender.

More information on the Cajal advanced neuroscience training programme here.