In the ECN track, students study the development, functioning, adaptation and pathogenesis of the nervous system. They learn to investigate how the healthy brain works (physiology) and what goes wrong (pathology) in a large variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, dementia, and schizophrenia. The primary focus is on the underlying mechanisms and the state-of-the-art technology used to investigate these mechanisms. Researchers in the university and the University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU) carry out fundamental, clinical, and pharmaceutical neuroscience research on topics such as the development of the nervous system, neuronal connectivity, neuronal plasticity in learning and memory, neuronal signalling, genetics of behaviour, and drug addiction. In the ECN track students get acquainted with a wide range of sophisticated techniques in neurogenetics, molecular and cellular neurobiology and neurophysiology.
Prof. Roger Adan
There are a large number of internships available in the ECN track covering a variety of research topics which are the focus of the participating research groups of the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU) and Utrecht University. Research internships are predominantly on clinically-relevant topics. Each internship is based on a detailed project description which guarantees the student a well-defined project. This ensures that the student is responsible for his/her own project, and provides the optimal setting for each student to experience the full experimental cycle: reading literature, formulating research question, designing and carrying out the experiment, analysing and interpreting data, drawing conclusions, writing a report or paper. The project description also includes a list of specialized techniques the student will learn and apply.
Internship topics range from neurogenetics to behaviour, from animal models to human studies, from single neuron to network study, from neuron culture to intact brain, from physiology to pathology. The majority of students in the ECN track find their internship in the departments of Translational Neuroscience, Neurology, and Psychiatry of the UMCU, but there are also internships offered for instance in the faculty of Animal Sciences and the faculty of Pharmacy of the Utrecht University.