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Biomedical Sciences: Neurobiology tracks

Molecular Neurosciences

The function of the brain is the result of an extremely complex integration of signalling units: neurons. In order to understand the role of neurons in health and disease, it is essential to understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying neuronal function. With the progress made in genetics in recent years, it has become a great ambition to understand what all these genes are doing in neuronal systems.

A basic understanding of molecular principles holds the key towards unique treatment paradigms for psychiatric and neurological diseases such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s. The Master’s track in Molecular Neurosciences provides a training platform for students who have the ambition to play a major role in looking for solutions for the diseases of today and tomorrow.


The goals of the track are to:

  • provide an essential theoretical framework in molecular neurosciences;
  • prepare the student to be a critical researcher;
  • prepare the student to work independently in a molecular neuroscience lab;
  • prepare the student to report on his/her results in written and spoken form;
  • train the student in the research process: research question> design experiment> interpret results> define following research question(s);
  • train the student in applying for research funding.

Programme outline


The track starts with a mandatory course of three months covering several topics:

  1. Development and specification of neuronal systems;
  2. Signalling pathways in neuronal systems;
  3. Stem-cell fate and cortical genesis.

Each topic includes one week of full-time practical work. These practical assignments include the use of state of the art techniques such as in-utero and ex-vivo gene transfer in the brain and FACS. At the end of the course, students will be given a theoretical assignment to integrate theory and practice.

It is possible to combine this Master's programme with a different major or additional courses (at the UvA or other universities).

Internships & thesis

After the core course, an initial internship is planned for about 40 ECTS. At the end of the year, a student symposium is held where the data of the internships will be presented and discussed with colleagues and supervisors.

In the second year, a second internship will be planned with the goal to go abroad. Alongside this internship, a second optional course can be taken in order to obtain a formal certificate in animal work. The second year will be finalised by writing a research thesis (literature review , 12 ECTS).