For students

Examination projects for student in the medical school, the biomedical research school or the neurobiology course in zoophysiology

If you are interested in doing an examination project in any of the areas below, you are welcome to contact me. Projects in related fields may also be discussed.

Experimental studies

Learning of conditioned reflexes
Many researchers now believe that conditioned reflexes (Classical conditioning.) are learned by the cerebellum, but the mechanisms are still unclear and it is also unclear to what extent other parts of the brain contribute. We work with physiological techniques (for instance recording of electrical activity in muscle and single nerve cells) to answer these questions. We have several ongoing projects in which one or two students could participate. The scope of the projects can be adapted to the time available. Both animal and human experiments can be done. An example of a human project is the study of effects of alcohol or drugs on conditioning

Cerebellar control of the inferior olive
The inferior olive sends climbing fibres to the Purkinje cells of the cerebellar cortex. The climbing fibres are believed to control the excitability of the Purkinje cells both in the form of a specific modulation of single parallel fibre to Purkinje cell synapses and in the form of a non-specific modulation of the spontaneous activity of the Purkinje cells. The deep cerebellar nuclei, which are the targets of the Purkinje cells, send an inhibitory projection to the inferior olive (see figure below). The function of this projection is unknown, but it may be a negative feed-back system for regulating the general excitability of Purkinje cells and deep nuclear neurones. We are presently studying this possibility with electro-physiological techniques.


Purkinje cell (black) inhibits the cells in the deep nuclei. One of these (blue) sends inhibitory fibres to to the inferior olive (red). The inferior olive projects back to the Purkinje cell and regulates its firing properties.

Literature reviews

Learning of conditioned reflexes
Many researchers now believe that conditioned reflexes (Classical conditioning.) are learned by the cerebellum, but what is the evidence for this? What do we know about the mechanisms? Are there differences between different kinds of conditioning (autonomic, somatic, emotional, cognitive)?

Does the cerebellum have a role in cognitive functions?
The cerebellum is traditionally described as a part of the motor system, but some new findings suggest that it may also control cognitive functions. What is the evidence for this? In what ways could the cerebellum contribute to cognitive function?

Memory mechanisms in the brain
Psychological research on memory suggests that there are several different kinds of memory. The study of memory functions in patients with localised brain damage confirms this but it is still unclear how many different kinds of memory there really are and how they are related to each other.

Nature, nurture and personality
How much of the variation in personality is due to genetic factors and how much is due to environment? Which are the environmental factors? Which aspect of behaviour can be influenced by learning?

The biological basis of psychological sex differences
Which psychological differences between the sexes have really been demonstrated scientifically? To what extent are these due to anatomical and physiological differences between the sexes?