Course Objectives


  • The seminar component of the course will include the development of critical analysis skills through journal club style writing assignments related to the research talks of the participating faculty members at Munich and Berlin .
  • Students will observe specific laboratory techniques and engage in laboratory exercises through lab visits and demonstrations.
  • The course will have a thread of neuroanatomy throughout the month long visit.  In Munich, the course will focus on comparative vertebrate and invertebrate neuroanatomy; in Berlin we will continue the discussion of invertebrate neuroanatomy and explore the history of neuroscience techniques and the discoveries they produced.


Ludwig Maximilians Universität (LMU ) has a strong program in comparative and systems level neuroscience.  Students will be exposed to research programs that use mammalian, avian, amphibian, fish or insect species as models to understand the evolution and function of the nervous system.  In addition to class activities, students will visit the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and go out into the field to observe animal behavior in a natural setting.

Participating LMU Faculty:

  • Dr. Mario Wulliman: Neuroanatomy and Evolution of Vertebrate Brains.
  • Dr. Hans Straka: Ontogenesis of the Amphibian Brain and Vestibular System.
  • Dr. Bendikt Grothe / Dr. Oliver Behrend: Evolution of the Auditory System.
  • Dr. George Boyan: Neuroanatomy and Development of the Insect Nervous System


Medical Neuroscience is the focus of research at Charité Medical University in Berlin.  Berlin also has deep connections to the history of neuroscience both in microscopy and recording neural activity. Students in the course will explore current microscopy and imaging technologies while looking back at the development of the microscope.  We will also look at the action potential, both from the historical context of the first recordings to current work examining neural activity.  Students will get a historical perspective through visits to the Berlin Museum fur Naturkunde and the Berlin Medical Historical Museum.

Participating Charité Faculty:

  • Dr. Peter Giere: Museum Für Naturkunde
  • Dr. Stefan Sigrist/Dr. David Owald: STED Microscopy and Synaptic Structure
  • Dr. Helmut Kettenmann: History of Microscopy in Berlin
  • Dr. Benedikt Salmen: Electrophysiology
  • Dr. Henrik Alle: Action Potentials in Cortical Neurons
  • Dr. Uwe Heinemann: History of Electrophysiology