Goals of the Minor

In the Minor Brain & Mind, five courses each address different aspects of brain and mind. Starting with the basics of neuroscience, we move to how genes drive development and behavior, to subsequently understand how disease mechanisms like addiction, eating disorders or depression occur, and finally discover how mind-machine interactions can take over or support brain functions.

The purpose of this minor is to acquaint the student with the different fields of Neuroscience. The student will gain insight into the latest knowledge of how the brain works and also how this knowledge can be used to understand cognitive processes, social interactions between individuals, anti-social behavior as well as different brain diseases, such as depression, addictions, attention, gender identity or eating disorders. The nature-nurture debate will be discussed as well as recent updates in human genome research. In addition, the minor provides an introduction into recent scientific technological advances in brain-machine interfaces, deep brain stimulation, and robotics. The integration between disciplines, such as biology, psychology, sociology and genetics plays a central role in this minor. Students learn to think critically about how know-
ledge of the brain and the human genome can be applied to deal with societal issues.

Academic Skills:
Each course will address an important academic skill such as writing scientific abstracts, debating and discussing, public speaking, collaborating in projects, science in media, and thinking outside the box.

Each course in the minor offers inspiring key note lectures from national and international scientists.
Steven Kushner (keynote lecture in Cognitive Neuroscience course)
Professor Steven Kushner’s is the youngest Professor in medicine in the Netherlands. His training as Doctor of Medicine, medical scientist, and psychiatrist provided an optimal preparation for work in which science and medicine are combined. His studies in mice on the changing brain, and mechanisms underlying human disease, are exemplary in the field of translational research. Using novel genetic technologies, he works on fundamental questions like: how many brain cells do we need to learn something? How does the brain store memories that can last a lifetime? And how is an individual brain cell that is part of a memory network different from its neighbours? Put shortly: what are the precise cellular and molecular mechanisms that the brain uses to record memories? Kushner is convinced that these studies will not only expand our understanding of the biology of memory, but could in the future provide opportunities for clinical translation into cognitive neuropsychiatric disorders.