January 20: Structure, Function and Modeling of Dendrites

Announcing the first workshop in its series, “Structure, Function and Modeling of Dendrites” will be held January 20th 2012, at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Medical Center (VUmc), room H-161. See walking directions


14:00 – 14:05 Welcome
14:05 – 14:40 +Dr. Christaan de Kock (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
The cortical column in silico (abstract)

Using the Golgi impregnation technique, Ramón y Cajal carefully documented the morphological diversity of cortical neurons. Almost a century later, the introduction of the patch clamp technique by Neher and Sakmann provided the neuroscience community with beautiful tools to probe the functional properties of the various cortical cell types.

In today's talk, I will illustrate how we recorded functional properties of cortical neurons during sensory processing in vivo and subsequently reconstructed recorded neurons to obtain dendritic architecture. Next, we used the structure-function information of individual neurons to build a 3D model of the cortical column.

This approach allowed us to assess — with single cell resolution — how functional characteristics in vivo emerge from structural properties of the cortical column.

14:40 – 15:15 +Prof. Harry B.M. Uylings (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Lifespan and aging changes in human cortical dendrites (abstract)

We have applied different Golgi techniques and developed 3D metrical [Uylings & Van Pelt, 2002] and topological [Van Pelt & Uylings, 2002] methods for the study of dendritic trees. With these methods we showed different growth phases in the dendritic patterns in human frontal cortex during lifespan [Koenderink et al., 1994, 1995; Petanjek et al., 2008, 2011]. In addition we found another pattern of aging changes in normal aging than described before [De Brabander et al., 1998; Petanjek et al., 2008].

Dendritic alterations are also studied in Alzheimer\'s disease in the human dentate gyrus of the hippocampus [De Ruiter & Uylings, 1987] and the human frontal cortex [Uylings & De Brabander, 2002].

15:15 – 15:35 Break with coffee and tea
15:35 – 16:10 +Espen Hagen / Torbjorn Ness (Aas university Norway)
Models for signal propagation in dendritic structures (abstract)

Modern computer tools make it possible to model neurons in high detail, including their fine dendritic structure. By combining various neuronal simulation tools (Python, NEURON, LFPy) and Finite-Element methods (FEM), both intracellular and extracellular responses of neurons can be modeled, and electrical experimental measurements emulated. Here, we show results from a modeling study of local-field potentials (LFPs) measured by MEAs in an acute brain slice setting when current is injected into somas of individual pyramidal neurons. The results are compared with recent example experiments from our collaborating group at the Radboud University [Bakker et al, Neural Networks 22, 1159 (2009)].

16:10 – 16:45 Ben Lich (FEI Company)
Dendrites seen by Scanning Electron Microscopes
16:45 – 17:30 Chat with drinks


There is no charge for admission.

To register, please click here.


The workshop will be held at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Medical Center (VUmc), room H-161. See walking directions.

If you are travelling by car, simply take the exit labelled VUmc from the A10 ring road. The nearest train station is Amsterdam-Zuid, from which the venue is a 20 minute walk. There are also trams and buses which stop in front of the building.


Paul Tiesinga (head),
Rembrandt Bakker, Charl Linssen (coord),
Gea Hulzebos (secr),
Moniek Lijster (NIHC)

For inquiries, please e-mail Rembrandt Bakker.