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Timing and plasticity in the olivo-cerebellar system

Final Report Summary - CEREBNET (Timing and plasticity in the olivo-cerebellar system)

CEREBNET is training network on a multi-disciplinary field exploiting front-end technologies to addressing critical issues in Neuroscience. In this project we use a multidisciplinary approach to investigate neuronal and circuit functions in the cerebellar network, which plays a critical role in sensory-motor control and is probably also involved in higher cognitive functions. Therefore, in order to promote research on core neuroscience themes, it has been set up a Consortium including highly qualified groups across Europe and in Israel:
- Consorzio Interuniversitario per le Scienze Fisiche della Materia (CNISM) - Italy -PIs E. D'Angelo
- Universiteit Antwerpen (UA) - Belgium - PI Prof E. De Schutter
- Erasmus medical center (ERASMUS-MC) - Holland - PI Prof C. De Zeeuw
- University College London (UCL-NPP) - UK - PI Prof A. Silver
- University College London (UCL-WI) - UK - PI Prof M. Hausser
- Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) - France - PI Prof S. Dieudonné
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) - Israel - PI Prof Y. Yarom
- Synaptologics (SYL) - Holland - PI Mr. G. Smith

The project employed 18 young scientists in PhD and postdoctoral programs and promoted their interchange among laboratories and industries, both by developing collaborative investigations and by organizing workshops and training courses on scientific issues, techniques, and general skills.

Project objectives
The core neuroscience objectives address the functional mechanisms of the olivo-cerebellar system.
1) How does the granular layer elaborate incoming signals and learns relevant patterns?
2) How does the Inferior Olive controls the Purkinje Cells (PC) and Deep Cerebellar Nuclei (DCN) neurons?
3) How do the Purkinje cells and molecular layer elaborate granular layer and inferior olive signals?
4) How do the Purkinje cells process the cerebellar cortical output?

Work performed since the beginning of the project
We have enrolled 18 researchers: 3 Experienced Researchers (ES) and 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESR).
All ESR are taking part to local PhD programs. We have opened the CEREBNET website: The site is intended to put CEREBNET fellows in contact as well as to inform the public (persons, high schools and media) about their study and progress, to update the lab environment about upcoming issues and to answer questions that public, scientist and new generation students might have. We will also advertize upcoming conferences, courses and positions. The interchange between partners is proceeding following the secondment plan, including the connections PV-ERASMUS, PV-ENS, SYL-ERASMUS, PV-UCL, UCL-ERASMUS.

Main result achieved so far in:
- July 2010, kick off meeting in Pavia (IT). This was followed by a special issue on J. Physiology and by one on Functional Neurology.
- August 2010 - CEREBNET has supported and promoted the EILAT course in Neuroscience.
- March 2011 - CEREBNET has supported and promoted the PARIS course in neuroimaging.
- July 2011 - CEREBNET has organized the PAVIA course, open to CEREBNET fellows and to other students, on combined techniques for network investigation. The course was followed by the DOLOMITI meeting on the cerebellum, to which CEREBNET and REALNET scientist have conjointly taken part.
- November 2011 – CEREBNET intermediate report in Jerusalem followed by the EILAT conference on motor control.
- May 2012 – Modeling with Neuroconstruct – UCL-NPP-London.
- July 2012 – FENS satellite – NEUROCAMPUS – Barcelona.
- October 2012 – Joint Meeting with C7 (Marie Curie) – Amsterdam.
- November 2013 – CEREBNET-Workshop/training – Varese – Italy.
- December 2013 – CEREBNET and Cerebellum meeting – London.

Expected final results and their potential impact and use (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far):
Good progress is being achieved by the ER and ESR of the project, which are addressing the main issues indicated on cerebellar neurophysiology, especially concerning single neuron and network computation and synaptic plasticity.
Main published papers are accessible from the website: