Master's degree in Molecular and Medical Biotechnology

Biotechnology in Neuroscience

Course code
Name of lecturer
Paolo Fabene
Paolo Fabene
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre dal Mar 1, 2021 al Jun 11, 2021.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course is aimed at providing knowledge on the use of biotechnology in the field of neuroscience, with special reference to the physiopathology of the nervous system, biomolecular, cellular and functional techniques of neurobiological relevance, models of neurological diseases, therapeutic approaches.


- Principles of structural and functional organization of the nervous tissue and the nervous system
- The neuron: subcellular components and polarization
- Synaptic transmission
- Ligand-receptor activity in neurotransmission and cell membrane signal transduction mechanisms
- Neuronal cell death: necrosis, apoptosis, autophagy
- Glial cells (astrocytes, microglia, oligodendroglia, Schwann cells) and intercellular crosstalk in the nervous system
- Blood-brain barrier: mechanisms of regulation, pathological alterations, biotechnological approaches to blood-brain barrier traversal
- Development of the central nervous system, with special reference to neuronal migration.
- Principles of organization of sensory systems, motor programme, cognitive processing, vigilance states (wakefulness and sleep).
-- Fluorescent proteins, multiphoton microscopy, cellular and subcellular imaging approaches to the study of the nervous system and their applications
- Neuronal circuits: connectivity and connectomics, tract tracing, genetic tracing
- Optogenetics: general principles; advanced techniques for the visualization of the nervous tissue
- Physiopathological mechanisms of nervous system disease
- Experimental models of neurological diseases, with special reference to neurodegenerative diseases
- Stem cells, progenitor cells and nervous tissue
- Reparative mechanisms in the central and peripheral nervous system
- Approaches to the study of gene expression in the central nervous system
- In vitro studies and biotechnological approaches
- Gene therapy
- Cell therapy

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is oral and can be in Italian or English (at the student's choice).
The student will prepare a Power Point presentation (about 30 minutes; the Power Point texts should be in English and with appropriate references). This will be followed by a discussion, during which questions can be asked also on other parts of the course

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