Novel technologies and laboratory animals in behavioral neuroscience

Course content

The advances during the past decade in molecular genetic technologies have heralded a new era for neuroscience research as it enables powerful means to study and understand the brain and its output in behaving animals in unprecedented details. This course will introduce the field of molecular genetic techniques and approaches in behavioral neuroscience, including development of transgenic animals (knock-in and knock-out), viral vector systems (e.g. AAV, HSV, Lentivirus, rabies virus), genome editing approaches (CRISPR / RNAi) for regulating the expression of specific genes in cells (CRISPR/RNAi), biosensors (e.g. calcium-sensors, dopamine-sensors) and bioactuators (e.g. optogenetics, chemogenetics), that either alone or if combined together, can serve as powerful techniques to answer specific neuroscience questions.

 

Part of this course is also assigned to the Laboratory Animal Science Function A/D accredited by the Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations (FELASA) (accreditation F032/10). The course gives a practical and theoretic introduction to handling, housing and using laboratory animals and how to replace, refine and reduce the use of live animals for research.

The course adheres to the more detailed learning outcomes described in the EU guidance paper 'A working document on the development of a common education and training framework to fulfill the requirements under the Directive' (  http:/​/​ec.europa.eu/​environment/​chemicals/​lab_animals/​pdf/​guidance/​education_training/​en.pdf).

 

Combined the course will reflect on how molecular genetic technologies in behavioral neuroscience are applied in translational animal models reflecting human behaviors and disease states. The course will draw much attention on the understanding of how these molecular genetic techniques can be used in behaving animals and how they are used to address experimental questions in behavioral neuroscience. At the end of the course, you should be able to theoretically apply these techniques in translational animal models reflecting human behaviors and disease states.

Education

MSc in Neuroscience - elective course

Not open for credit transfer students or other external students

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to:

Molecular-genetic techniques in neurosciences 

Knowledge

  • explain the most common used viral vectors used in neuroscience and their main properties
  • explain the most common components comprising a viral vector
  • explain the main tools applied to monitor or manipulate brain functions
  • explain the principles behind molecular-genetic techniques and approaches used in animal models of behavioral neuroscience
  • explain the theoretical background and the future perspective of gene therapy in a clinical setting

 

Skills

  • critically evaluate projects and research results where molecular-genetically encoded tools or gene therapy are used in brain research
  • choose, apply and evaluate techniques aiming at regulation or editing of genes and gene expression used in brain research
  • choose, apply and evaluate molecular-genetic techniques aiming at monitoring or manipulating brain function in desired brain regions, cell types, and/or neuronal projections

 

Competencies

  • understand the present opportunities, problems and limitations using new molecular-genetically encoded tools in neuroscience
  • apply theoretical and technical knowledge in understanding and evaluating principles when using molecular-genetically encoded tools
  • understand the present opportunities and challenges of gene therapy for neurological disorders

 

Laboratory Animal Science Function A/D

Knowledge 

  • understand that animal experimentation is complicated and requires current training to secure the well-being of the animals and the scientific outcome 
  • explain the biological basis of laboratory animal breeding and maintenance, housing and management including basic genetics and reproduction, health monitoring, housing and handling (pre-, intra and post-procedural)
  • explain the legal basis for animal experimentation 
  • explain and critically evaluate the scientific methods applied within animal experimentation including blood sampling, injections, principles for drug-development and testing, anesthesia and analgesia and evaluation of pain- and stress related behavior in laboratory animals 
  • discuss the basic biology of laboratory animals including behavioral and physiological needs

 

Skills

  • organize self-training on handling and procedures in the most common laboratory animals 
  • discuss and evaluate the basic principles on how to use animals for research 
  • discuss and evaluate principles of procedures on their future experiments 
  • discuss, evaluate and argue about the ethical basis for the use of animals for research 
  • handle, do minor procedures and kill rodents for research at a level sufficient to fulfill learning outcomes 3.2.1. , 8.1. , 8.2.,  8.3. , 6.2.1. , and  6.2.2. of the EU Guidance Paper  (  http:/​/​ec.europa.eu/​environment/​chemicals/​lab_animals/​pdf/​guidance/​education_training/​en.pdf)

 

Competencies

  • independently take responsibility to implement and further develop practical skills in handling of common rodents used for research
  • independently take responsibility to implement and further develop practical skills in the performance of basic animal experiments 
  • perform animal experimentation within the European Union according to the EU Directive 2010/63/EU Article 23.2a and the ”Danish executive order 12 of 07/01/2016 §57” .

Lectures, e-learning, lab practicals, article presentations and discussions. Practical exercises handling live animals with instructors are given as three mandatory sessions that the students need to sign in for. Performance will be evaluated during these exercises. The students are expected to be prepared by reading a manual and watching videos prior to the exercises sessions.

Hau, J. & Schapiro SJ: Handbook of Laboratory Animal Science, 3nd ed., Vol. 1, CRC Press, Roca Raton, 2011.

Additional review papers.

Animal experimentation legislation.

Exercise manual for Laboratory Animal Science (will be placed on Absalon).
Lectures and on-line material on Absalon

Basic knowledge in cell biology, physiology, anatomy and pharmacology.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
Course participation
Full and satisfactory participation at practical exercises. Demonstration of performance for an instructor during the exercises.
Aid
Without aids
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the grade Passed, the student must adequately be able to:

Knowledge 

  • understand that animal experimentation is complicated and requires current training to secure the well-being of the animals and the scientific outcome 
  • explain the biological basis of laboratory animal breeding and maintenance, housing and management including basic genetics and reproduction, health monitoring, housing and handling (pre-, intra and post-procedural)
  • explain the legal basis for animal experimentation 
  • explain and critically evaluate the scientific methods applied within animal experimentation including blood sampling, injections, principles for drug-development and testing, anesthesia and analgesia and evaluation of pain- and stress related behavior in laboratory animals 
  • discuss the basic biology of laboratory animals including behavioral and physiological needs

 

Skills

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 130
  • Practical exercises
  • 12
  • E-Learning
  • 20
  • Seminar
  • 12
  • Study Groups
  • 10
  • English
  • 204