30+ neuroscientists around the globe prepare and sign a letter opposing the proposed closure of the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience in ANU

This letter has been prepared and signed by over 34 highly regarded scientists from leading institutions around the globe, including Fellows of the Royal Society, Max-Plank Directors, Howard Hughes Investigators, and a Nobel Prize winner.

The letter alerts about the damage the closure of the Eccles will incur to the international reputation of ANU and urges for re-evaluation.

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ANU plans to terminate the iconic Eccles Institute of Neuroscience in Canberra

The Eccles Institute of Neuroscience is the founder institution of ACAN and is currently supporting the course with key resources, faculty, instructors and students.

Find below the letter put together by the board of directors along with key founders and ex-directors of ACAN urging to turn this unfortunate decision around.

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Program Details

Week 1 Theme: Recording Electrical Activity in Single Neurons: the excitable cell and synaptic transmission

An intensive week learning whole-cell patch clamp techniques. Although the focus will be slice based electrophysiology, students will also gain experience with the oocyte expression system and dynamic clamp techniques. By the end of week 1 students have a firm grasp of the technical aspects of patch clamping in brain slices, but also an intimate knowledge of the important biophysical foundations underlying electrophysiological recording and data interpretation. During this week students will also learn advanced stereotaxic injection techniques that are required for subsequent weeks of the course.

Week 2 Theme: Imaging of Cortical Processing and Neuronal Network Function

Students will gain both theoretical and practical knowledge to use emergent imaging and in vivo electrophysiology techniques. Students will learn the principles and application of light microscopy, as well as the use of different types of imaging systems, functional fluorophores, delivery techniques, and digital image-processing software. Laboratory practicals will involve functional imaging from living animals and brain slices, with particular emphasis on single- and two-photon microscopy. Using calcium indicators, students will record neural responses in vitro and in vivo, and will be armed with analysis tools for extracting and interpreting fluorescence signals.

Week 3 Theme: Manipulating Subcortical Systems and Behaviour

Students will gain insight into fundamental neuromodulatory systems operating in subcortical circuits to control behaviour and methods to interrogate system function. Students will learn how to perform stereotaxic surgery in order to record and manipulate subcortical systems with fibre photometry pharmacogenetic tools. Students will also learn how to design behavioural experiments, programme behavioural training equipment and train experimental animals to specific conditioning procedures. At the completion of behavioural experiments, students will conduct slice electrophysiology experiments to verify how pharmacogenetic and optogenetic tools modify single cell excitability.

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ACAN Dates

Australasian Neuroscience Society

Sunday the 25th July – Saturday 14th August 2021 


The Australasian Course in Advanced Neuroscience (ACAN) is an intensive three-week course that teaches both advanced theory and hands-on-practice of latest neuroscience techniques. The course has historically been run on Stradbroke Island, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition will be held at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne. The core ethos of the course will not change and is designed to give students the skills to design and implement state-of-the-art experimental techniques in neuroscience.

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