Wednesday, January 23, 2019


IBRO-APRC Kerman Associate School Report


The 1rd IBRO-APRC Kerman Associate School of Neuroscience, with a focus on molecular, electrophysiological & computational Approaches was held from August 27- September 1, 2017 in Kerman, Iran.


The purpose of this school was to provide an opportunity for MSc and Ph.D. students in the Asia-Pacific region to gain the latest fundamental and technological developments of transdisciplinary research in neuroscience. The school expected participating students to have experience with laboratory work and preferably, publications.


The school was sponsored by IBRO-APRC, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman Neuroscience Research Center (KNRC), Iranian Neuroscience Society (INS), Cognitive Sciences and Technologies Council of Iran (CSTC), Stem Cells Science and Technology Council, Iranian Society of Physiology & Pharmacology (ISPP), Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman


The Students

30 students were selected from 92 candidates based on a competitive process and geographical diversity. The list included MSc and Ph.D. students from Pakistan (2), India (2), Bangladesh (1), Thailand (1), Malaysia (1), Japan (1), Armenia (1) and Iran (17). (Four selected students from Nepal, Lobnan and Iran were unable to attend the school). The students resided in Kerman Tourism Hotel (Shafa Junction, Jomhoury Eslami Boulevard,Kerman,Iran. ****) with the aim to provide more chances for interaction amongst the participants. The students were very active in all aspects of the school and often gave the tutors sharp and pointed questions.


The Lecturers

The speakers were from Australia (2), Netherlands (2), Switzerland (1) and Iran (12). Each overseas speaker presented one lecture and participated in labs and group discussion.

Lab mentors for conductive and group discussions were the members of the following Iranian Research Institutes and Universities:

·       Kerman Neuroscience Research Center (11)

·       ANU University, Australia (1)

·       Shaheed Bahonar University(1)

·       Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (1)

·       AJA University of medical Sciences (1)

·       Shiraz University of Medical Sciences(1)


The faculties were selected not only for their expertise but also for their interest in mentoring the students.


The Programs

1. Lectures

Seventeen lectures along with questions and answers were presented each morning from 9:00 to 12:30 a.m.(10 lectures 1 hour and 7 lectures 30min) The speakers were:

1-   Prof. Farshad Alizadeh Mansouri: Australia

2-  Prof. Ehsan Arabzadeh: Australia

3-  Dr. Houshang Amiri: Netherland

4-  Dr. Niels Eijkelkamp: Netherland

5-  Dr. Bechara Saab: Switzerland

6-  Prof. Fereshteh Motamedi:Iran

7-  Dr. Mohammad Rohani: Iran

8-  Prof. Hossein Baharvand: Iran

9-  Prof. Seyed Noureddin Nematollahi-Mahani: Iran

10-                Prof. Abbas Pardakhty: Iran

11-                Prof. Saeed Semnanian: Iran

12-                Dr. Khadijeh Esmaeilpour: Iran

13-                Dr. Mohammad Nami: Iran

14-                Dr. Shahrzad Mazhari:Iran

15-                Dr. Saeed Esmaeili Mahani:Iran

16-                Prof. Vahid Sheibani:Iran

17-                Prof. Javad Mirnajafi zadeh:Iran

These lectures not only covered fundamental neuroscience topics but also involved the teachers’ own findings and researches.

2. Experiments

Students were divided into 8 groups and all students visited 10 laboratories. The laboratories are listed as follows:

Molecular Neuroscience Lab

Leader: Dr. Saeed Esmaeili Mahani and Dr. Fatemeh Nouri

In this Lab, the students were exposed to the following techniques:

–    PCR

–    Western blotting

–    An introduction to cell culture


Intracellular Electrophysiology Lab

Leader: Dr. Mohammad Shabani

In this Lab, the students were exposed to the following techniques:

-      Preparing Brain Slice

-      An introduction to patch-clamp recording

-      Whole cell patch-clamp recording


Sensory Processing Lab

Leader: Prof. Vahid Sheibani and Dr. Mohammad Reza Afarinesh

In this Lab, the students were exposed to the following techniques:

-       Single unit recording from barrel cortex

-      In-vivo field potential recording from hippocampus



Leader: Dr. Shahrzad Mazhari, Dr. Ali Mohammad Pourrahimi

In this lab, the students were exposed to the following techniques:

-      Basic knowledge of EEG recording

-      Designing a behavioral task in psytask program

-      EEG recording and event related potential (ERP) analysis


Cell Culture Lab

Leader: Prof. Hossein Eskandari and Dr. Meysam Ahmadi Zeydabadi

In this lab, the students were exposed to the following techniques:

-       Cell Culture

-       Morphological analysis

-       Cell counting by trypan blue  

-       Cytotoxicity by MTT assay


Electrophysiology Lab

Leader: Dr Khadijeh Esmaeilpour

In this lab, the students were exposed to the following techniques:


-       An Introduction to extracellular recording

-       Preparing hippocampus slices

-       In vitro field potential recording from  hippocampus slices 



Electron Microscope Lab

Leader: Dr Majid Asadi-Shekaari

In this lab, the students were exposed to the following techniques:


-       Structure of TEM

-       Specimen preparation for TEM

-       Histological techniques


Behavioral Neuroscience Lab

Leader: Prof. Gholamreza Sepehri and  Dr Khadijeh Esmaeilpour

-       Shuttle box test (passive and active avoidance)

-        Open field test (anxiety)

-        Morris Water Maze test (spatial learning and memory)

-       Zero Maze test (anxiety)

-       Elevated Plus Maze  test (anxiety)

-       Novel Object recognition test(spatial learning and memory)



Primate Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

Leader: Prof. Farshad Alizadeh Mansouri and Prof. Vahid Mansouri

-       Behaving monkey test (DMTST)

-       Visiting surgery facility

-       Visiting  monkey animal house and training



Rodent Cognitive Behavioral and Electrophysiology Lab

 Leader: Dr. Mohammad Reza Afarinesh

-       Radial Maze

-       Startle Reflex

-       choice reaction task


3. Group Discussions

Each day after lab visiting the students participated in group discussions along with two faculty members and revised the scientific issues of the same day.


4. Poster Presentation

 In the last day of school every student presented a poster from his/her recent research study and discussed it with the other participants. The posters were reviewed by 7 faculty members from Iran and other countries and three best posters award were given to Antony Ariza from Japan (100 USD), Bahman Sadeghi from Iran (75 USD) and Maryam Naseh from Iran (50 USD) respectively.


5. Election

On the last day of the School, the Class president and Secretary were elected by the voting process. Razieh Jaberi ( was elected as the Class President and Daniel Ramandi ( as the Class Secretary.


6. Cultural activities and Excursions

The students, lecturers and the organizers of the school held a number of cultural and social activities during the course of the 1st Kerman IBRO School. These activities included visiting traditional places and listening to Iranian music. A summary of these activities were as follows.

1.  In the opening ceremony, Iranian music was introduced to the audience by a group of musicians from Kerman.

2.  On the second day (August 28), the students, guest lecturers and the organizers went out to visit Fathabad garden. Fathabad garden is located 16 km North West of Kerman, according to historians, this pattern has been used for constructing Shazdeh Garden in Mahan. The history of the construction of the garden is around the year 1255 (Hijri-Shamsi), In Qajar period. Fathabad memorial garden belonged to “Fazl Ali Khan Biglarbeygi” who was the ruler of Kerman. The Fathabad Qanat water passed through fathabad Garden in the past, and it was so refreshing and lovely.

3. On the third day (August 29), the students, guest lecturers and the organizers went out to visit Ganjali Khan Complex including Ganjali Khan Bathhouse and Ganjali Khan Bazar. Ganjali Khan Bathhouse was Built in 1631, the Ganjali bathhouse is located on the southern side of Ganjali Square, off a section of Vakil Bazaar known as Ganjali Bazaar. The entrance of the building is painted with ornaments of the Safavid era. It is composed of a disrobing room, cold room and hot room, all covered with domes carried on squinches. The bathhouse was converted into an anthropological museum in 1971.

Ganjali Khan Bazaar is located in southern part of Ganjali Square. Inside, the bazaar is decorated with exquisite plasterwork and wall paintings and although they are 400 years old, they are still well-preserved. The bazaar is 93 meters long and is connected to Ganjali square through 16 iwans and vaults


4. On the last day (September 1), the students, guest lecturers and the organizers went out to visit Bagh-e Shahzadeh and Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine. Bagh-e Shahzadeh, this remarakable garden was made in the 1890s by the Governor of Kerman. It is a rectangular green oasis surrounded by brown desert. There are pavilions and a central canal. Shazdeh garden is 5.5 hectares with a rectangular shape and a wall around it. It consists of an entrance structure and gate at the lower end and a two-floor residential structure at the upper end. The distance between these two is ornamented with water fountains that are engined by the natural incline of the land.

Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine, the shrine complex comprises four courtyards, a reflecting pool, a mosque and twin minarets covered with turquoise tiles from the bottom up to the cupola. The earliest construction is attributed to the Bahmanid ruler in 1436. Shah Abbas I undertook extensions and renovations in 1601, including reconstruction of the tiled blue dome, described as "one of the most magnificent architectural masterpieces in old Persia". During the Qajar period the site was particularly popular, necessitating the construction of additional courtyards to accommodate increased numbers of pilgrims. The minarets also date from this period. The small room where Nematollah Vali prayed and meditated contains plasterwork and tile decorations. The complex is also famous for its tilework and seven ancient wooden doors.


7. Conclusion

This IBRO School in Kerman provided a good platform that young students and neuroscientists from the Asia-Pacific region could meet and exchange research ideas and findings with world-class neuroscientists. Such a communication program on state-of-the-art topics and research strategies would be essential for the academic development and maturation of the young investigators.

Each student received a certificate confirming her/his status of IBRO alumna/alumnus along with the School’s documentation (Hard copy) containing the School laboratory handouts and program and abstract book also a traditional gift was given to students.

Many students expressed their appreciation for what they had learned about neuroscience, and their stay in Kerman through their evaluation form. The average School score was 4.75 from 5.