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Rodent models of cognitive dysfunctions in neurologic and psychiatric disorders
Hungary(HuMSIRC)- Semmelweis University,Budapest
Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary, Nagyvárad tér 4
István Gyertyán, PhD
István Gyertyán, PhD
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Despite the abundance of cognitive enhancer mechanisms identified in basic research, drugs approved for cognitive disorders are scarce and of limited efficacy. Several dozens of pre-clinically promising compounds were found to be ineffective in clinical studies. A major reason may be that the so-called ‘gold-standard’ animal assays, which are well suited to the study of fundamental learning processes, fail to predict clinical efficacy against complex and robust cognitive defects. Preclinical validation of potential drug targets requires a different methodological approach.
What is the aim of the project?
Research objective of our group is setting up a target validating rodent cognitive model battery which provides better prediction for the clinical efficacy of putative cognitive enhancer mechanisms than the models/approaches used so far.
What techniques and methods are used?
The practical realization of the target validation methodology consists of three steps: 1: Teaching cognitive tasks representing different cognitive domains to the same cohort of animals with the aim to create a population with ‘widespread knowledge’. Tasks cover several cognitive domains (e.g. 5-choice serial reaction time task – attention, cooperation task – social cognition, Morris water maze – spatial learning). 2: Applying a cognitive impairing intervention to transform the cohort of animals to a ‘patient population’. For the impairment, different methods can be applied, one at a time, which corresponds to a particular cognitive deficit model (e.g. impairing agent, aging, brain lesions, stress, increasing task difficulty, etc.). 3: Testing putative procognitive mechanism with a ‘clinical trial-like’ design on the wide spectrum of cognitive functions in the actual ‘patient population’
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks of the student will be performed on his/her own
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
To acquire theoretical knowledge related to the research. To take part in the research activity of the group. To learn the different experimental methods in examining rodent cognitive behavior for example the teaching of the different cognitive tasks which represent the main cognitive domains. To learn how to apply a cognitive impairing intervention in order to transform the animal cohort into a patient population. To take part in testing process of putative procognitive mechanisms, including analysis of the results.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Yes, reading and discussion of papers published in the field. The discussions will be form in a seminar with the tutor.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Experience with working with animals is an advantage but not a prerequisit; basic computer skills (e.g. use of MS Office) is required. Subjects passed: Anatomy, Physiology,Pharmacology
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Gyertyán et al Cognitive ‘Omics’: Pattern-Based Validation of Potential Drug Targets. Trends in Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Feb; 38 (2); 113-126; DOI: 10.1016/j.tips.2016.10.010
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