About This Masters Degree
The specialisation in Fundamental Neuroscience provides you with both a theoretical background and practical experience in research at the interface of biology and psychology. Compared to other programmes, Fundamental Neuroscience not only offers formal education in brain function at a biological and psychological level, but adds to this interdisciplinary cross-integration in a neuroscience context with single brain cells as a starting point.
Consequently, the focus is on acquiring the molecular biological, neuroanatomical, immunocytochemical, electrophysiological, and behavioural techniques necessary for preclinical basic research. As such, access to state-of-the-art laboratories is available, including microscopy, molecular biology, and biochemistry laboratories for tissue processing, cell culturing, histochemistry, proteomics, and genomics.
The specialisation provides an in-depth study of physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying psychological, psychiatric and neurological disorders, including affective, cognitive, and motor disorders. Within this context, you also study the role of the emerging field of pain and neuroinflammation. Core courses are organized along these mechanisms/disorders including practical trainings to acquire the necessary laboratory skills. Specific workshops provide additional technical knowledge.
The main research topics include cell signalling, brain plasticity, neurodegeneration, regeneration, genetics, and epigenetics in a translational (i.e. involving both animal and human) setting. Brain cell anatomy and biochemistry can be studied in detail with the latest innovative techniques available, for instance confocal microscopy. The electrophysiology laboratory allows for electrical brain stimulation of rats, for example, and EEG recordings in freely moving animals. The behavioural lab meets up-to-date standards for the automated assessment of animal behaviour.
During the programme, you will be part of a multidisciplinary team of neuroscientists including biological psychologists, molecular biologists, neuropsychologists, neurobiologists, neuroanatomists, psychopharmacologists, psychiatrists and neuroimmunologists. These professionals participate in world-wide international networks of research in relevant fields at academia and industry. This offers excellent opportunities for internships at some of the world’s most prestigious institutes.
The Fundamental Neuroscience specialisation equips researchers with the skills needed for investigations into the fundamental molecular mechanisms of psychological, psychiatric and neurological disorders in academic as well as industrial settings. Consequently, most students will eventually work in a preclinical setting to improve diagnosis, health, and treatment strategies.
Is this programme right for me?
What is the molecular biology behind memory? Which genetic alterations make you more vulnerable to stress and depression? What could be a good medicine to treat Alzheimer’s disease? If you are interested in such questions then Fundamental Neuroscience is the right choice. So you like to understand the underlying biological mechanisms of psychological processes or would like to elucidate pathophysiological mechanism and/or find new treatments for psychiatric and neurological disorders.
The multi- and interdisciplinary programme is designed in a way that students with different backgrounds can participate and become a trained neuroscientist equipped for most up-to-date preclinical research. Therefore, motivated students with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, biology, or life sciences are well suited to this programme.