Course Syllabus

Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 

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Draft Syllabus

Semester & Location:

Summer 2023 Session 3 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Summer Course - 4 credits

Study Tour:


Major Disciplines:

Neuroscience, Biology, Biomedicine/Biotechnology


One year of either biology or neuroscience, and one course in either molecular biology or genetics, all at university level.

Faculty Members:

Jan Mulder and Nicholas Mitsios (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Program Director:

Susana Dietrich

Time & Place:

See calendar for dates and times. Room: E509

Course Description

The complex cellular and molecular organization of the brain drives a variety of physiological and cognitive functions. In this course we explore gene expression and protein distribution on the level of organ, brain region, and cell. We utilize data and resources from the human protein atlas project and other public available data sets to learn the advantages and limitations of different approaches, validate results, and utilize the available complementary data to link genes to cells and cellular processes involved in ‘normal’ physiology or disease.


Learning Objectives

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the structure and function of the brain, with emphasis on brain anatomy,  cell types and gene functions
  • Explain the methodological principles of expression analysis
  • Perform an antibody based mapping experiment visualizing protein distribution in brain tissue
  • Utilize public available data-resources to investigate molecular properties and gene expression
  • Create an overview of the molecular and cellular components of neurological disorders
  • Integrate and validate data and be able to discuss the impact of results on what we know about brain function and disease processes




Jan Mulder
PhD in molecular neurobiology (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 2005). Group leader at department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet and the brain profiling efforts within the Human Protein Atlas (HPA) project since 2010. Research focus on identifying the cellular location of proteins linked to brain function and disease. MSc in biology (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 2000). With DIS since 2017.

Nick.jpg Nicholas Mitsios
BSc in Molecular Biology (Liverpool, 1998) and PhD in Molecular Biology of Ischemic Stroke (Manchester, 2005). Currently a researcher at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute and the Brain Profiling sub-unit of the Human Protein Atlas (HPA) project since 2011. Research focuses on the central nervous systems of mammals, with an emphasis on the identification of proteins involved in brain normal development and pathophysiology. 



The readings will be chapters of Netter's Atlas of Neuroscience E-Book (3rd ed.) by David L. Felten, Michael K. O'Banion, Mary E Maida, educational material available at the human protein atlas or other online knowledge resources and peer reviewed research and review articles: 


Field studies & Study Tour

This course will have one field study. This will be about the history of neuroscience and how technical advances over the last 100+ years shaped the field. For this we visit the Nobel museum and learn about some of the major discoveries in neuroscience.

The Study Tour is an integral part of the course. We take the classroom on the road and see how theory presented in the classroom is translated into practice in the field. You will travel with your classmates and DIS faculty/staff on a week long tour within Austria/Hungary.

Expectations for study tours

  • Participate in all activities
  • Engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives
  • Respect the destination, the speakers, DIS staff, and your fellow classmates
  • Represent yourself, your home university and DIS in a positive light


While on a program study tour DIS will provide hostel/hotel accommodation, transportation to/from the destination(s), approx. 2 meals per day and entrances, guides, and visits relevant to your area of study or the destination. You will receive a more detailed itinerary prior to departure.


Travel policies: You are required to travel with your group to the destination. If you wish to deviate from the group travel plans on the way back, you need approval from the assistant program director and the study tours office.   


Approach to Teaching 

Different interactive teaching formats will be used. The course aims to provide an scaffold of fundamental knowledge to support the students exploration of the molecular and cellular aspects of brain functions. The course will have a case-based component and all students will have their 'protein of interest (determined by teacher). The students will explore the various data-sets to learn more about this protein.  This course will also have a laboratory component where the students will use immunofluorescence multiplex techniques to study protein distribution in brain material.  In addition, there will be group discussion and assignments to trigger critical thinking with respect to interpretation of results. 


Expectations of Students

All students should have an interest in neuroscience and eager to learn more about the molecular and cellular organization of the brain. The students together with the teachers are responsible for creating an atmosphere based on respect, mutual interests and work attitude needed to make this course a success.  This course is an intensive 4 weeks of neuroscience including a 5 day study tour and 2 field studies. Students need to study before each lecture and  work on their assignments when not in class (approximately 2 hours for a 1 hour lecture). 



The students will perform a laboratory experiment at the Karolinska Institutet . The students will learn the basics of antibody based detection of proteins (immunohistochemistry) and apply this technique to 'stain' their protein of interest in normal or disease affected brain material (human or animal). The results of this experiments will be part of the assignments.


Evaluation and Grading

To be eligible for a passing grade in this class all of the assigned work must be completed. 

The factors influencing the final grade and the proportional importance of each factor is shown below:




Participation and Engagement




Laboratory Work


Study Tour Assignment


Individual and Group Assignments




  • The teachers encourage the students to bring laptops and/or tablets to class. These should ONLY be be used for note‐taking, fact‐checking, or assignments in the classroom.
  • Reading must be done prior to the class session; a huge part of the class is dependent on discussions in class.
  • Students need to be present and participating to receive full credit. The final grade will be affected by unexcused absences and lack of participation. Remember to be in class on time!
  • All assignments should be handed in before the due date. In case a students has a good reason an extensions can be given ONLY if the student notifies the teacher before the due date  (not after).
  • Classroom etiquette includes being respectful of other opinions, listening to others and entering a dialogue in a constructive manner.
  • Students are expected to ask relevant questions in regards to the material covered.
  • Students should actively participate in group discussions and group assignments and should take their (equal) share in the workload.


Academic Regulations

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -



Course Summary:

Date Details Due