Neuro-vascular function in health and disease

The neurovascular unit, composed of vascular cells, glial cells, and neurons is fundamental for the proper function of the brain. The NVU regulates supply of the cerebral blood flow (CBF) and maintains integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

Dysfunction of the neurovascular unit may result in devastating conditions such as dementia, cerebral ischemia, or brain oedema formation. This advanced experimental course will allow students to gain basic knowledge and hands-on experience on the most important techniques used to study the neurovascular unit, such as in vivo/in vitro high-resolution imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and rodent models of cerebrovascular disease. The course will also focus on data reproducibility and open science.

Course director & co-directors

  • Nikolaus Plesnila (Ludwig Maximilian University, Germany)
  • Catherine Hall (Sussex University, UK)
  • Jérôme Badaut (Bordeaux University, France)

Silvia Anderle – UCL/Unversity of Sussex, UK
Orla Bonnar – Massachusetts General Hospital, USA
Chris Dubois – CRMSB, CNRS-UMR 5536 – University of Bordeaux, France
Beth Eyre – Sheffield University, UK
Severin Filser – University of Munich , Germany
Clare Howarth – Sheffield University, UK
Malika Ihle – University of Munich , Germany
Igor Khalin – University of Munich , Germany
Tom Langdon – Johns Hopkins University, USA
Axel Montagne – University of Edinburgh, UK
Valentin Nagerl – University of Bordeaux, France
Burcu Seker – University of Munich , Germany
Michael Todorov – University of Munich , Germany

This 3-week long course is a practical “hands-on” introduction to advanced methods for the investigation of the neuro-vascular unit in health and disease. The course will be structured in a theoretical and a practical part.

In the theoretical part world leading scientists in the neurovascular unit (NVU) research will give overview lectures about the function of the NVU and present techniques how to study the NVU in a reproducible manner. Such overview presentations will be paralleled by workshops. In the practical part of the course students will learn surgical techniques necessary to perform animal models of disease and to prepare cranial windows required for the study of cerebral vessels, will be trained to image cerebral vessel function in vitro and in vivo, and will learn how to analyse and display the acquired data.

Techniques :

  • Chronic cranial window surgery
  • Habituation to the rig for awake imaging
  • Experimental design and presentation of stimuli
  • 2 photon imaging of neurovascular coupling (neuronal activity, blood vessel dilations)
  • 2 photon imaging of vascular function (vasomotion, calcium signals in vessels)
  • Wide field imaging and recording of neurovascular function and metabolism (2D OIS, laser speckle, haemoglobin spectrometry, laser doppler flowmetry – equipment to be loaned by Moor Instruments)
  • Data processing and analysis

The following projects will be taught at the course :

  • Two-photon microscopy imaging of blood vessels and neuronal activity in vivo
  • Brain imaging in freely moving mice using mini-scopes
  • Two-photon microscopy imaging of stroke
  • Widefield imaging of neurovascular relationships
  • Open Science
  • Correlative light-electron microscopy (CLEM)
  • Vascular signalling in pressurized brain slices
  • BBB permeability in mice and humans by MRI
  • SUSHI – evaluating the brain’s extracellular space by STED microscopy
  • Histological techniques for the analysis of cerebral vessels
  • Brain clearing for the analysis of cerebral vessels

Keynote Speakers


David Attwell – University College London, UK
Felipe Barros – Centro de Estudios Científicos, Chile
Serge Charpak – University of Paris, France
Turgay Dalkara – Hateceppe University, Turkey
Ali Ertürk – University of Munich, Germany
Jean Francois Ghersi-Egea – Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre, France
Anne Joutel – University of Paris, France
Martin Lauritzen – University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Malcolm MacLeod – University of Edinburgh, UK
Pierre Magistretti – University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Maiken Nedergaard – University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Mark Nelson – University of Burlington, USA
Andy Obenhaus – USI, USA
Andy Shih – Seattle Children’s Research Institute, USA
Robert Thorne – Denali Therapeutics / University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Susanne Van Veluw – Harvard Medical School, USA