Early Life Events: Diagnostics and Treatment|
Credit load: 7.5 ECTS Course code: BMW33517
Coordinator: Prof. dr. F.E. Hoebeek Period: 3
Examiner: Prof. dr. F.E. Hoebeek Time slot: AD
E-mail address: F.E.Hoebeek@umcutrecht.nl Level: 3
Phone: +31 88 7554359
Dr. Cora Nijboer (DDOD), Dr. Caroline de Theije (DDOD), Dr. Jeroen Dudink (Neonatology), Dr. Marijke Achterberg (Veterinarian Medicine), Dr. Titia Lely (Gyneacology), Dr. Peter Nikkels (Pathology), Dr. Lotte van der Meeren (Pathology), Dr. Tanja Nijboer (Cognitive neuropsychology-UU), Dr. Olaf Verschuren (Rehabilitation center de Hoogstraat), Prof. Frank Broekmans (Fertility), Dr. Casper Schoemaker (Pediatric immunology)
Karima Amarouchi, Eva Hermans, Caren van Kammen, Mirjam Maas, Rebecca Kleisen.
This course adheres to the general theme ‘the first 1001 days’ of Utrecht University and focusses on the diagnostics, treatment and biomedical research of the division ‘Woman & Baby’ of the University Medical Center Utrecht. During the course ‘Early Life Events: Diagnostics and Treatment’ students will be trained by lecturers from the departments of Fertility, Gynecology, Obstetrics, Neonatology and the Department for Developmental Origins of Disease. Students will be provided with a broad overview of the research approaches available to the multidisciplinary research teams. The lecturers have a diverse background (medicine, biomedical sciences, psychology, neuroscience, pathology, biology and bioelectronics), which ensures that the students will gain insights from all relevant points of view.
The main topics of this course are the causes, consequences and (experimental) treatment options for children born pre-term or for term-born children with pathology, which are known as ‘early life events’. This course particularly emphasizes the multidisciplinary character of diagnostics and pre-clinical research. In a series of (online) lectures, activating workshops and practicals the students will be provided with insights in the biomedical and clinical topics relevant to improve fertility, intra-uterine growth and neonatal care. The students will work in small groups as a research team and gain knowledge on how translational experiments work.
Upon completion of the course, the students will be able to answer the following questions: what are the most common causes of extreme prematurity? What translational models are relevant for improving fertility, gynecology, obstetrics and neonatology? What diagnostic tools are used to monitor children at the neonatal intensive care unit? What technological advancements are currently implemented in the clinic? What is, and should be, the role of patients and parents in the design of biomedical research? What are the sensorimotor and cognitive consequences of extreme prematurity and fetal growth restriction for children later in life? What biological processes provide options to improve the rehabilitation process?
Most classes and workshops will be organized online, except for parts of the practical course and research presentations. This course contains introductory lectures by biomedical investigators and physicians providing a (limited) review of background knowledge to support the students in gaining expert knowledge from reviewing case reports. If the COVID-regulations allow, additionally the students will be given the opportunity for guided tours at the neonatal intensive care unit of the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital and the rehabilitation center ‘De Hoogstraat’. In a series of pro-active seminars the students will learn which aspects of pathology diagnostics are currently applied to diagnose common causes of adverse early life events. The students will also be trained in what aspects of rodent behavior are relevant for therapeutic innovations.
Following the 5 weeks in which the topics are broad and widen the scope of the students, the second part (5 weeks) is reserved for a practical. The topic of this practical is the growth of brain cells in culture. This technique lies at the basis of what is currently considered one of the most important experimental therapies for early life brain damage – the first safety trials just started in the neonatology ward.
During this practical, students will operate in small teams of maximum 6 and set up a neural stem cell culture, induce the differentiation of these cells and evaluate specificity of the cells using immunofluorescent stainings and microscopy. The presence of the students in the laboratory is under tight control of the COVID-19 regulations and may be denied in total. This practical will provide in depth knowledge on how biomedical research develops stem cell treatment to improve cures for the children with perinatal asphyxia and brain damage. During the practical the students will need to keep individual lab journals using LabBuddy software and conclude their findings in individual written reports and a group presentation.
Number of participants
Maximum of 24 students applies for this course.
Required background knowledge:
Previous knowledge of anatomy, physiology and cell biology is required, as provided by the Biomedical Sciences courses ‘Developmental Biology’ (period 1 BC or period 4 AD) and/or ‘Neuroscience’ (period 3 BC). In case either of these courses have not been followed, students are expected to invest extra time in catching up the knowledge.
Knowledge and insight:
After completion of this course, the student is able to:
- explain the ‘Developmental Origins of Health and Disease’ theory;
- evaluate pathological processes using immunohistochemical staining of human placenta;
- reproduce the biological processes underlying foetal growth retardation and the consequences for later life;
- explain what the most common consequences of birth defects are and how they are caused;
- analyze social play in rodents and understand what the consequences are of social deprivation for later life;
- review the process necessary to properly run big data research
- provide an overview of experimental treatment options for infants born with brain damage;
- provide an overview of the working mechanisms of Mesenchymal Stem Cell therapy for neonatal brain injury;
- explain how patient participation is optimally utilized to guide future biomedical research on early life events.
- explain the biological principles underlying neuronal stem cell differentiation;
The student is able to:
- culture, stain and image neuronal stem cells and name which type of cells the neural stem cells have been differentiated into;
- systematically report about the resulting data individually as well as in a group.
- Keep a lab journal up to date and reproducible
Teaching forms and contact time:
Prior to the lectures the students are expected to gain background knowledge from reading scientific literature and text book chapters. In class, the lectures and discussions will deal with case reports to further develop the understanding of the underlying biomedical processes. The students are expected to actively participate in seminars. To support a successful neural stem cell experiment, the students will be provided with a limited introductory session to working with biomaterial in sterile flow cabinets and fluorescent microscopy via the online LabStar tool.
This course will be in Dutch, but the lecture slides and course reader are mostly in English. Lectures and examination will be Dutch, unless an exchange student is enrolled.
The students will be assessed based on their individual performance (written exam in week 5) and on their participation and performance when working in a group (oral presentation and written report on stem cell culture experiment). The final grade is weighted from the written exam (40%) in which knowledge and insight are tested. In the written exam, each of the classes will be evaluated with an uneven distribution of points credited for the various questions. The practical course will be evaluated by the group presentation (20%) and the written report (40%). In addition, the students will need to hand in their LabBuddy input, which will be checked for completion of all questions and quality of the daily reports (no marks, only pass/no pass).
A reader will be provided containing the course material.
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- Biomedische wetenschappen, Bachelor, Voltijd