In the nervous system, neurons form stereotyped patterns of synaptic connections. These patterns, the neuronal networks, are rapidly andselectively engaged during information processes. An increasing body of evidence highlights that changes in brain function, both normal and pathological, consistently correlate with dynamic changes in neuronal circuits. During development, neuronal circuits undergo a period of refinement to eliminate aberrant synaptic connections and to strengthen desired circuits. Learning and plasticity change circuit wiring and function throughout all life. Finally, in pathological states, inappropriate connections can form among surviving neurons during neuronal degeneration. The availability of recently developed technologies that allow manipulating specific subsets of neurons in the mouse brain (e.g., gene targeting, optogenetics and pharmacogenetics) is providing us with an unprecedented opportunity to mechanistically investigate the role of specific neurons inside circuits. The course brings together top level scientists to provide a better comprehension on how experience, genetic background, and disease influence neuronal circuits and brain function.
Organizers: Michela Matteoli (Milano), Davide Pozzi (Milano) and Thierry Galli (Paris).