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    Applications open for the IBRO-APRC Tehran Advanced School of Neuroscience

    IBRO-APRC Tehran Advanced School of Neuroscience

    Tehran, Iran

    April  29 - May 11, 2017


    School Website URL:

    Organizer: Dr. Saeed Semnanian (Tarbiat Modares University)

    Aims and Scope of the School:

    The Advanced School will focus on “in depth discussions on a planned project, using novel techniques, with an emphasis on possible mechanisms, data analysis and data presentation in neuroscience research”.


    This Advanced School will provide a platform for young researchers to increase their depth of understanding from theoretical basis up to methodological know-hows of neuroscience research.

    Mentors & Laboratory Experiences

    Group 1: In vitro and in vivo recording of synaptic plasticity in health and diseases

    TMU lab head

    Prof. Yaghoub Fathollahi

    Details: NMDA receptors are not functioning in basal synaptic transmission take place in CA1 area, while this receptor is involved in potentiated and potentiation of synapses in healthy state. On the other hand, pathological potentiation such as seizure induced changes in synaptic plasticity require calcium channels rather than NMDA receptors. Using in vitro field potential recording, participants will learn to record population activity of neurons in CA1 area of hippocampus and investigate the role of NMDA receptor and calcium channels in physiological and pathological potentiation, respectively. 

    SBMU lab head

    Prof. Fereshteh Motamedi

    Details: Aberrant synaptic plasticity may lie at the heart of many brain disorders: specially the dentate gyrus (DG) of hippocampus, which is susceptible to such alteration due to Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the study of synaptic plasticity in that area, offers a promising route by which the pathological electrical events could be monitored. By employing paired pulse stimulation and also inducing long term potentiation and depression, in the perforant path-DG synapse we are able to navigate the changes in hippocampal excitability in the DG as the gatekeeper of hippocampus. By using in vivo field potential recording from DG synaptic network, participants will learn to capture electrical events in the anesthetized and freely moving healthy and A–beta treated rats and the data will be analyzed thereafter.

    Group 2: Studying the role of orexin neuropeptide in drug addiction (Single unit extracellular recording from anesthetized and behaving animals)

    TMU lab head

    Prof. Saeed Semnanian

    Details:  Drug addiction is a chronic and often relapsing brain disease which leads to changes in structure and function of the brain and consequently causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite having harmful effects to the drug addict. Various brain regions (such as Locus Coeruleus nucleus and Lateral paragigantocellularis nucleus) have been shown to be involved in drug dependence. In addition, orexinergic system have been reported as an important endogenous factor for mediating the cellular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. In spite of the numerous studies performed during the recent years, most cellular and molecular aspects are still poorly unveiled. In this laboratory the main aim is to reveal the role of orexinergic system in development of drug dependence through affecting specific neuronal pathways within the brain stem structures.

    SBMU lab head

    Prof. Abbas Haghparast

    Details: Single-unit extracellular recording is a tool to explore the brains of animals and humans to study behaviors and functions. This method is widely used in cognitive science, where it permits the analysis of animal/human cognition and cortical mapping. This information can then be applied to brain machine interface (BMI) technologies for brain control of external devices.

    One primary line of research in this lab focuses on studying the interrelationship of the Reward-Pain-Stress circuits and involvement of orexinergic system in sub-cortical areas such as NAc, VTA, LH and Hippocampus, and the Prefrontal cortex. Also, in this lab, the second research line is investigation of decision-making processes in specific conditions such as induction of addiction, stress, sleep-deprivation, sleep disorders and neurodegenerative diseases in prefrontal-striatal-hippocampal circuitry.

    Group 3: Neural Degeneration and Regeneration

    TMU lab head

    Prof. Mohammad Javan

    Details: Adults’ brain has a limited capacity for repair. Neural cell loss frequently happens due to neurodegenerative diseases and traumatic brain injuries. Optic never provides a unique platform to study axon regeneration and remyelination and screening for related therapies. Using visual evoked potential recording from mice the extent of axon degeneration and demyelination would be functionally assessed. Injection of tracing dyes into the superior colliculus and counting the number of retrograde- labelled retinal ganglionic cells provide an accurate method for detecting primary axonal damage due to traumatic injury or secondary axon degeneration following chronic demyelination. Visual cliff and visual placing as behavioral tests can be used for evaluating the visual acuity. Immunohistofluorescence studies can provide histological data concerning the level of axon degeneration and demyelination.

    SBMSU lab head

    Prof. Abolhassan Ahmadiani

    Details: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and the most common cause of dementia in older adults, is an irreversible brain disorder that progressively destroys cognitive functioning, eventually erasing memory and disabling reasoning skills. Studying the basic mechanisms of Alzheimer's, using in vivo and in vitro models, focuses the long-term goal of finding a way to cure and possibly prevent the disease. Viral mediated gene expression in early adult rats are used to simulate the sporadic form of AD which the disease pathogenesis begins many years before the clinical manifestations. Behavioural tests of cognitive function in parallel to molecular and histological tools are used to verify the disease modelling and further therapeutic interventions. In vitro primary culturing of neural cells also provides a platform for the study of the signalling events as well as screening the efficacy and toxicity of therapeutic candidates.

    Group 4: Electrophysiological basis of epilepsy

    TMU lab head

    Prof. Javad Mirnajafi-Zadeh

    Details: Seizure occurrence is accompanied with changes in excitation/inhibition ratio and results to potentiation of synaptic transmission in many areas of the brain, including the hippocampus. These changes can affect the induction of new synaptic plasticity in this area. Using extracellular field potential recording and whole cell patch clamp recording, we can measure the changes in extracellular field potentials, glutamatergic or GABAergic synaptic transmission and study the effect of different factors and mechanisms which may be involved. In addition, the ability of plasticity induction in these synapses is evaluated following different treatments and data are discussed. 

    SBMSU lab head

    Prof. Mahyar Janahmadi

    Details: Ion channels play a critical role in the function of excitable cells and dysfunction of both voltage and receptor-gated ion channels can cause diseases including epilepsy. Therefore they could be interesting targets for therapeutic or preventive intervention. Using conventional intracellular recording and whole cell patch clamp recording techniques the dysfunction of individual ion channels, particularly HCN pacemaker channels and TRP channels, which may alter intrinsic neuronal excitability and firing pattern in epileptic condition is assessed and electrophysiological consequences of altered neuronal function are discussed.

    Group 5: Electrophysiological signatures of behavior and visual perception

    TMU lab head

    Dr. Mohammad Reza Raoufy

    The brain and immune system form a bidirectional communication network, known as "immune to brain communication". For instance, systemic inflammation does communicate with the brain leading to a distinctive pattern of neural activity and behavioral changes such as anxiety and depression. It seems that the dynamic interactions between hippocampus and amygdala are critical for such behaviors, but the cellular mechanisms are unknown. Using well-established electrophysiological and behavioral techniques, accompanied with signal processing, we investigate the biological nature of immune-to-brain communication elicited by systemic inflammation.

    SBMSU lab head

    Dr. Mir Shahram Safari 

    Details:  Importance of top-down (corticocortical) and bottom-up (subcortical) pathways in regulating visual responsiveness are crucial, how these two pathways working independently and interact during coincident engagement in vivo to optimize vision while maintaining network stability is unknown. Sensory-evoked responses in V1 neurons are highly dependent on subcortical neuromodulation pathways that regulate brain state. With cell-type-specific resolution using optogenetics and optopatcher in vivo, we are addressing how corticocortical and subcortical pathways (cholinergic and serotonergic systems) interact to regulate responsiveness of layer II/III neurons of V1. Our studies provide insight into the rules and conditions governing activity propagation in connected networks of brain.

    Who should apply to this School?

    Junior faculties, post-doctoral researchers, and PhD students under the age of 35 years are preferred. Applicants from the Asia-Pacific region will be given priority. Preference will be given to IBRO alumni of previous 2-week schools.

    What costs will be covered for selected applicants?

    Travel, transport and living expenses

    Application deadline: March 1, 2017 (11:59 p.m. CET)

    Apply here

    For all enquiries, please contact Dr. Saeed Semnanian at


    International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), Neuroscience Research Center, Shahid Beheshti Univ Med Sci, Tarbiat Modares University, Iranian Society of Physiology and Pharmacology, Iranian Neuroscience Society,  Cognitive Sciences and Technologies Council of Iran, Iranian National Science Foundation