Animal Models for Brain Function and Disorders
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-DGCN35
Credits (ECTS)6
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Cognitive Neuroscience;
PreviousNext 5
dr. R. van den Bos
Other course modules lecturer
B. Geenen, MSc
Other course modules lecturer
dr. L.K.E. Genzel
Other course modules lecturer
dr. J. Grandjean
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. J.R. Homberg
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2021
SEM1  (06/09/2021 to 28/01/2022)
Starting block
Course mode
Please note: if you do not yet have a master's registration, you are not yet registered for the tests for this course.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Experiments in animals and in animal models for normal and pathological behaviour form an indispensable link between neuroimaging studies in humans and molecular and cellular work in neuronal tissue from various species. Animal experiments allow also invasive neurotechnologies to delineate the neurobiological mechanisms of different aspects of behaviour and cognition.

The students will get a critical state-of-the-art overview of different animal species (zebrafish, mouse, rat) used for neuroscience research, their pro’s and con’s and translational value, transgenic animal models and their breeding, behavioural models for endophenotypes of brain disorders and their validity, in vivo neurotechnologies like neuroimaging, opto- and chemogenetics, electrophysiology, EEG, tracing and intracerebral pharmacological manipulations, surgery methods, experimental design, data analysis, and ex vivo approaches like immunohistochemistry and electrophysiology.

Lectures will be complemented with several animal facility tours and demonstrations.
The students themselves will get the possibility to work out and present a detailed plan for an animal experiment based on research questions formulated by the teachers (student presentations). The students can use the practicalities addressed during the lectures, the literature proposed to read for each lecture, and any additional literature needed to fulfil this assignment.

The course is indispensable for students who are considering to do in vivo animal experiments. It gives also an excellent opportunity to meet scientists from different neuroscience fields offering internship positions.

After completion of the course, students are able to:
1. Define technologies to generate and method to breed transgenic animals
2. Define which behavioural models for rodents measure what type of behaviour and how they work
3. Define animal models for disease and aware of their advantages and disadvantages
4. Explain how neurotechnologies and ex vivo technologies work
5. Design experiments dedicated to test a hypothesis
evaluate experiments as presented in papers

Brain function and the neurobiology of their disturbances are far from elucidated. Recent advances in tools to manipulate the genome of animals and (related) neurotechnologies to manipulate specific neural projections or to measure neuronal firing and neurotransmitter release have greatly contributed to unravelling mechanisms. Furthermore, neuroimaging, the technique to measure brain structure and function in humans, is now also applied to small animals to gather data with high translational value. The course is given by experts in the field. All have long records as neurobiologists with a deep interest in behaviour, cognition and their disturbances. Lectures will be given on various aspects of animal models for a selected number of brain functions and psychiatric and neurological disorders such as autism, anxiety and depression, drug addiction, Alzheimer’s disease,  and epilepsy.


Presumed foreknowledge

Test information


Recommended materials
Course guide
Supporting literature will be provided in the Brightspace environment

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

The assignment involves the set-up of an original, realistic, sound and well-argued experimental design.

Attendance MandatoryYes

Prof.dr. Judith Homberg, 0031243610906

Weekly lectures by experts in the field, self-study, and oral presentation of the assignment. The literature and assignm

Attendance MandatoryYes

Attendance MandatoryYes

Closed book exam
Test weight80
Test typeExam
OpportunitiesBlock SEM1, Block SEM2

NOTE: enrollment for a course automatically registers you for its exam. For participating in the retake, register again.

(Group) assignment
Test weight20
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock SEM1, Block SEM2

NOTE: enrollment for a course automatically registers you for its exam. For participating in the retake, register again.