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Cursus: BMW33517
Early Life Events: Diagnostics and Treatment
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (ECTS)7,5
Categorie / Niveau3 (3 (Bachelor Gevorderd))
CursustypeCursorisch onderwijs
VoertaalEngels, Nederlands
Aangeboden doorFaculteit Geneeskunde; Undergraduate School Biomedische Wetenschappen; Biomedische wetenschappen;
ContactpersoonF.E. Hoebeek
Contactpersoon van de cursus
F.E. Hoebeek
Overige cursussen docent
3  (07-02-2022 t/m 15-04-2022)
TimeslotAD: AD
Cursusinschrijving geopendvanaf 01-11-2021 t/m 28-11-2021
Inschrijven via OSIRISNee
Inschrijven voor bijvakkersNee
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:                           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. Tanja Nijboer (Cognitive neuropsychology-UU), Dr. Olaf Verschuren (Rehabilitation center de Hoogstraat), Prof. Frank Broekmans (Fertility), Dr. Casper Schoemaker (Pediatric immunology), Dr. Roos de Jonge (OWC)

Technical support
Daniëlle van Rossum, Karima Amarouchi, Eva Hermans, Mirjam Maas, Rebecca Kleisen.

This course adheres to the general theme ‘the first 1001 days’ of Utrecht University and focusses on the causes, consequences and cures of adverse early life events as seen from 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?

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 3 weeks in which the topics are broad and widen the scope of the students, the second part (7 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. 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 work with LabBuddy software and conclude their findings in individual written report and a group presentation that focusses on a scientist audience and on a patient audience

Number of participants
Maximum of 24 students applies for this course.

Required background knowledge:
Previous knowledge of anatomy, physiology and cell biology as provided by the Biomedical Sciences courses ‘Developmental Biology’ (period 1 BC or period 4 AD) and/or ‘Neuroscience’ (period 3 BC) is not mandatory, but may be experienced as helpful. In case either of these courses have not been followed, students are expected to invest extra time in catching up the knowledge.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge and insight:
After completion of this course, the student is able to:
  • explain the ‘Developmental Origins of Health and Disease’ theory;
  • reproduce the biological processes underlying foetal growth retardation and the consequences for later life;
  • explain how genetic predisposition can lead to mental retardation;
  • 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;
  • analyze immunohistochemical stainings using Image J software
  • systematically report about the resulting data individually as well as in a group.
  • Provide in depth feedback to fellow students on their research report

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 4) 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%). For the written report also the feedback (how it is formulated and how it is dealt with) will be included in the score. The reports in LabBuddy will be checked for completion of all questions and quality of the daily reports (no marks, only pass/no pass).

Required material:
A reader will be provided containing the course material.

Je moet voldoen aan de volgende eisen
  • Ingeschreven voor een opleiding van de faculteit Faculteit Geneeskunde
  • Ingeschreven voor één van de volgende opleidingen
    • Biomedische wetenschappen, Bachelor, Voltijd
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