Summer Term 2020

Please note that only 'active' doctoral students of the GTC can participate in the courses listed.  Doctoral students who have not yet passed their admission interviews ('applicants') and guest students from other faculties can participate only in case of vacancies.

Courses indicated as 'Elective' will run throughout the semester and take place once a week. They are specialist courses offered to masters students, however, they might also be of interest to doctoral students working or planning to work in that particular field.

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Course title

Learning and memory: from molecules to artificial systems (Elective)

Burgalossi et al.
Course content / topics

In this course, we address the neural mechanisms by which the brain allows organisms to acquire and maintain information generated by novel experiences during learning and memory processes. Students will be introduced to some basic concepts, methodologies and model systems in current memory research. One prominent idea in the field is that changes in synaptic strength can represent memories, as they may lead to alterations in networks of interconnected neurons. A focus of the course is to understand different forms of synaptic plasticity, including their specific cellular and molecular mechanisms, and how these may contribute to learning and memory. We will also address the contribution of sleep to memory formation. Finally, we will explore the basic principles of how machines learn (artificial intelligence), and ask whether and how biological findings can be applied to learning within artificial neural networks.

Learning targets
By the end of the course, students will have a basic understanding of the physiological processes of synaptic plasticity and memory trace formation in the mammalian brain.

No specific prerequisites. Basic knowledge of cell biology and neurophysiology is desirable, but not necessary.

Suggested reading
Rudy: The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Sinauer (2008).
Sweatt: Mechanims of Memory, Academic Press 2nd ed. (2010).

Additional reading:
Kesner, Martinez: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Academic Press 2nd ed. (2007).
Gluck, Mercado, Meyers: Learning & Memory – From Brain to Behaviour, Worth Publishers, New York (2008).

The books are present in the Grad School's library.

ILIAS Online Course Link

Day, time & location

SS20 online, link in course descricption. [Fri 12 am-2 pm, GTC Lecture Hall]