Barcelona, Spain

Neurons in Action

when 13 July 2020 - 17 July 2020
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 150

Nowadays we know that brain function depends on signals generated in neurons thanks to the flow of electrically charged particles (ions) through proteins that act as "gates" and are known as ion channels. These gates are essential in the capture of the different stimuli we receive from our environment, in the transmission of information through networks of interconnected neurons in our brain, and in the final generation of proper responses to these stimuli.

During the course we will present the role of certain ion channels in interneuronal communication and in memory and learning processes. We will also approach from a historical perspective the different techniques and biotechnological advances that allow the observation of neurons in action, including the electrical changes underlying the storage of memories. Cinema will help us in the discussion about the real possibility of memory manipulation as a therapeutic approach to phobias. In addition, we will explain how it is possible to control the activity of neurons using light and the opportunities this technique offers in the future treatment of brain diseases. By visiting a research laboratory, we will observe on line the activity of neuronal ion channels.

Finally, students will present in small groups a reflection on their particular vision of the human brain before and after the course. By comparing these visions, we will discuss whether or not our understanding of the functioning of the brain (and main challenges that laid ahead) is very different.

Course leader

José Manuel Fernández

Target group

Undergraduated students (Sophomore, Junior and Senior)

Fee info

EUR 150: Registration fee (non refundable)
EUR 550: Tuition fee (non refundable)


Non UPF students from universities with an international exchange partnership with UPF will be exempt of paying the 150€ non refundable registration fee.