The Kolk lab
Developmental Neurobiology

Teaching at Radboud University:

The Medical Embryology course introduces developmental biology and provides an in-depth look into human embryology. The first two weeks of the course are dedicated to the fundamental principles of developmental biology and cover the development of various animal models. Over four more weeks, students will gain a deep understanding of human embryonic development, with lectures on the formation of the three germ layers, neurulation, development of the major organ systems (organogenesis), and fetal development. Furthermore, students are introduced to teratology and taught the underlying mechanisms of various birth defects. Lab sessions are a key element of the Medical Embryology course; students study both fixed and live embryos of model organisms and gain insight into the 3D organization of the developing embryo using microscopic preparations. Teratology was further studied during a visit to the Museum of Anatomy and Pathology (RadboudUMC). Students finish the course with a Team-Based Learning module on the translational aspects of Medical Embryology.

In the Neurodevelopment course, we teach the basic principles of neural development, as exemplified by key experiments and observations from past and recent times. The course covers all significant events of neurodevelopment, including patterning and growth of the nervous system, neuronal determination, axonal navigation and targeting, neuron survival and death, synapse formation and plasticity, and behavioral development. There is a strong focus on translational aspects, combining knowledge of neurodevelopmental disorders and state-of-the-art techniques used in neurodevelopmental research, such as brain organoids. Students participate in a Simulated Research Project, in which they are challenged to develop their own research strategy and gain a deeper understanding of molecular and cellular research techniques. Additionally, students discuss leading scientific papers in the field of neurodevelopment during the symposium that concludes the course.