With few exceptions, the courses listed here take place on the IST Austria campus in Klosterneuburg, Austria, and do not accommodate remote participation or distance/e-learning.

Fall 2016/2017

Biology

Introduction to Developmental Biology

Anna Kicheva, Carl-Philipp Heisenberg, Eva Benková, Jirí Friml

The course will provide a general introduction to developmental biology and the key principles of animal and plant development. We will discuss how the specification and spatial organization of diverse cell types is related to shaping and growth of developing organs. We will look at the roles of signaling molecules and mechanical cues in this process. Throughout the course, we aim to focus on current important questions in the field.
The course will contain practical sessions during which the students will gain hands-on experience in working with key model organisms.
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)BIO-CELL
Pre-requisitesSome prior knowledge of biology is desirable.
Teaching formatLectures and paper discussions.
ECTS credits6
EvaluationProject assignment.
Starts onTue, 11-Oct-2016 (11:45 - 12:30), Mondi 2
Ends onThu, 26-Jan-2017 (11:15 - 12:30), Mondi 3
Minimum attendance4
Withdrawal deadline31-Oct-2016
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Statistics for Life Sciences

Sylvia Cremer

Statistical data analysis is a key component of all experimental work in the life sciences. It is important to develop a concept of later data analysis already before data generation (experimental design, sample size etc.), which is why statistical planning should be an integral part of every experiment. This course aims to give an overview of data structure and statistical analysis tools, from an applied perspective. The course consists of lectures and hands-on-training using the freeware statistical program R.
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)BIO-QUANT; NEU-QUANT
Target audiencebiology or neuroscience students.
Pre-requisitesAlthough previous knowledge in R is not an absolute requirement, having taken the "Introduction to R" (e.g. pre-semester courses fall 2016) would be highly recommended.
Teaching formatlectures and hands-on training.
ECTS credits3
Evaluationregular assignments.
Starts onMon, 28-Nov-2016 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 3
Ends onWed, 25-Jan-2017 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 3
Minimum attendance5
Maximum attendance20
Withdrawal deadline19-Dec-2016
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Synthetic and Systems Biology

Calin Guet

The course covers the history of both fields, which is intertwined. From the earliest papers leading up to present day results will be analyzed and the challenges of the fields will be addressed. Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems will be explored.
The class focusses on the basic science aspects of and not on the more engineering ones.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)BIO-SYS
Pre-requisitesBasic knowledge in molecular biology required.
Teaching formatDiscussions of essential papers.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationClass participation and a final exam.
Minimum attendance2
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Introduction to Molecular Biology

Eva Benková, Martin Loose

IMB is an introductory course on many of the most important molecular concepts in biology.
We will discuss the structure and function of the cell's building blocks, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, from a chemical and physical point of view.
This course introduces basic knowledge necessary for many of the following biology courses.
This course contains a laboratory class where we will together clone a gene and study its protein product. No previous experience is necessary.
Homework: Independent reading of materials covered during lecture.

Registration deadline: October 31st, 2016
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)BIO-MOL
Target audienceNon-life scientists (exclusively; participation of life scientists is/will be discouraged).
Pre-requisitesNone.
Teaching formatLectures and practical lab sessions.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationPresentation of scientific literature in groups of two to three students.
Minimum attendance6
Withdrawal deadline20-Dec-2016
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Introduction to Evolutionary Biology

Beatriz Vicoso, Sylvia Cremer

We will cover aspects of evolutionary biology, with a focus on evolutionary ecology and genomics. Each week, there will be an introductory lecture, followed by a paper discussion.
  1. Adaptive and non-adaptive evolution (BV):
    • Deleterious and beneficial mutations
    • Origin of new genes and functions
  2. Evolution of non-coding sequences (BV):
    • Genome size evolution and complexity
    • Transposable elements and non-coding RNAs
  3. Speciation (BV)
  4. Evolution of sociality and cooperation (SC)
  5. Sexual selection and the evolution of dimorphic traits (SC)
  6. Host parasite interactions and symbioses (SC)
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)BIO-EVO
Target audienceThe course is primarily aimed at students with a molecular biology background who are interested in molecular and organismal evolution, but students from other fields are welcome.
Teaching formatEach week, there will be an introductory lecture, followed by a paper discussion.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationEvery week, students will write a short essay on a selected paper. Each student will also present an article to the rest of the class once during the course.
Starts onMon, 10-Oct-2016 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 2
Ends onWed, 23-Nov-2016 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 2
Minimum attendance4 students registered for credits
Withdrawal deadline31-Oct-2016
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Data Science and Scientific Computing

Probabilistic Graphical Models

Christoph Lampert

This course will introduce the basic concepts of probabilistic graphical models. Graphical Models are a unified framework that allow to express complex probability distributions in a compact and computationally tractable way. Many machine learning applications are tackled by the use of these models, in this course we will highlight the possibilities with applications mainly from computer vision and some from the life sciences.
The main goal of the class is to understand the concepts behind graphical models and to give hands-on knowledge such that one is able to design models for different applications. The lecture material is roughly divided in two parts: learning about graphical models (model classes, factor graph representations, parameter learning, exact and approximate inference techniques, connections to deep learning), and seeing them in action (image denoising, human pose estimation, semantic image segmentation, models of biological processes).
The exercises will be a mix of theoretical and practical assignments. Instead of a final exam there will be a final project (to be solved in small teams).
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)CS-AI; DSSC-PROB
Target audienceinterested students with strong quantitative background (probability theory, linear algebra, calculus)
Pre-requisites
  • being able to read code in Python
  • being able to program in a language that allows scientific numerical computing (e.g. Python, C/C++, Matlab, Mathematica, Julia,...)
  • having taken last year's machine learning and/or DSSC core course are a plus
Teaching formatclassroom lecture + team project
ECTS credits3
Evaluation50% homework, 50% team project
Starts onTue, 29-Nov-2016 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 1
Ends onThu, 26-Jan-2017 (11:15 - 12:30), Mondi 2
Withdrawal deadline20-Dec-2016
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Methods of Data Analysis

Gasper Tkacik

This course introduces a variety of data analysis and simulation methods. It is organized around week-long modules, each covering one method and consisting of 2 lectures, a recitation, and an extensive problem set. The aim is for the students to both understand the method and try it out on real or simulated data. This is a hands-on course that should provide useful practical experience. The students may find the background of DSSC Track Core course helpful, but it is not required.
Tentative topics to be covered, in no particular order:
  1. Random numbers, Gillespie (SSA) simulation.
  2. Monte Carlo and entropic sampling.
  3. Working with probability distributions, entropy and KL-divergence, density estimation, maximum entropy models.
  4. Probabilistic models, maximum likelihood / MAP inference.
  5. Basics of information theory, linear vs information theoretic measures of dependency, redundancy, multi-information.
  6. Inferring causality in dynamical systems.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)DSSC-ANA; PHYS-BIO
Target audiencePrimarily DSSC students but open to any student fulfilling the prerequisites.
Pre-requisites(i) sufficient math background (linear algebra, basic calculus; typically at the level of intro Physics/CS/Engineering/Math undergrads); (ii) sufficient coding capability (working knowledge of a language that supports numerical computation, e.g., Matlab, Mathematica, C, Python, etc).
Teaching formatBlackboard lectures with some examples and literature reading, recitations to help with the problem sets.
ECTS credits3
Evaluation100% problem set (homework) assignments, 6 in total.
Starts onTue, 11-Oct-2016 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 1
Ends onThu, 24-Nov-2016 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 1
Minimum attendance3
Withdrawal deadline01-Nov-2016
Course websiteView

Mathematics

Introduction to Differential Topology

Mirko Klukas, Peter Franek

The course (roughly) follows Milnor's beautifully written book "Topology from the differential viewpoint". Our focus is to develop an intuitive (yet solid) understanding of basic concepts in differential topology such as
  • tangent bundles,
  • derivatives, and
  • isotopies and cobordisms, or
  • degree of a map.

In the first part of the course we show how these concepts enable us to prove (at least) two famous and very familiar theorems with very little technical effort, namely the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra and the Brouwer Fixpoint Theorem.
The final goal is the Pontryagin-Thom construction which enables us to understand the space of homotopy classes of maps into spheres in some simple cases.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)MAT-GEO
Target audienceStudents interested in various branches of geometry and topology, including those with an interest in computational topology and/or theoretical physics. The required background only includes elementary calculus.
Teaching formatLectures.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationRegular assignments every week and final exam.
Starts onTue, 29-Nov-2016 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 2
Ends onThu, 26-Jan-2017 (13:00 - 14:15), Mondi 2
Withdrawal deadline20-Dec-2016
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Topological Methods in Discrete Mathematics and Computer Sciences

Radoslav Fulek, Uli Wagner

Starting with Lovász' solution of Kneser's conjecture in 1978, a number of problems in discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science have been solved using methods from algebraic and geometric topology. The aim of this course is to explain some of these results and methods to a broad audience; the precise choice of topics will depend on the audience's background; sample topics incude:
  • Topological lower bounds for the chromatic number of a graph
  • Matchings in hypergraphs
  • Decision tress complexity and evasiveness of graph properties
  • Impossibility theorems in distributed computing
  • (Non)embeddability and Tverberg-type results
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)MAT-DISC; MAT-GEO; CS-ALG
Target audienceStudents with a solid background in mathematics or theoretical computer science; we will try to keep the specific prerequisites minimal and adapt the class to the background of the audience, introducing topological notions and results as we go along; the main prerequisite is mathematical maturity.
Teaching formatLecture+recitation.
ECTS credits3
Evaluationgraded homework + class participation + exam
Starts onTue, 11-Oct-2016 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 3
Ends onTue, 06-Dec-2016 (13:30 - 15:45), Mondi 1
Withdrawal deadline01-Nov-2016
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Mathematical Analysis

László Erdös

How should one look at a real function? What meaningful questions one may ask about them? Why do they play a central role?
The course presents some essentials of modern mathematical analysis to natural scientists. Instead of the traditional presentation of this vast area to mathematicians that focuses on conceptual development, we will have a “hands-on” approach, selecting a few key features that we found useful in mathematical research motivated by applications. A central theme is inequalities, i.e. the idea that exact computations are often not feasible, but estimating a quantity still provides useful information. We will rely on the book of Lieb and Loss, but other topics will also be covered, partly depending on the interests of the students
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)MAT-ANA
Target audience1-2 year Math students and any CS and physics students.
Pre-requisitesMain prerequisite is some familiarity with integration, differentiation and the concept of limit, on the level of an undergraduate real analysis course in the US or a bachelor course on analysis to physicists or computer scientists in Germany, Austria.
Teaching formatLectures.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationFinal exam.
Starts onMon, 10-Oct-2016 (10:15 - 11:30), Mondi 2
Ends onWed, 23-Nov-2016 (10:15 - 11:30), Mondi 2
Minimum attendance3
Maximum attendance15
Withdrawal deadline01-Nov-2016
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Neuroscience

Developmental Neuroscience and Brain Diseases

Gaia Novarino, Simon Hippenmeyer

'Developmental Neurobiology and Brain Diseases’ will provide an introduction into the concepts and principles of the basic cellular, molecular and epigenetic mechanisms controlling the assembly of neural circuits in the developing brain. The course will cover general aspects of neurodevelopment (neurogenesis, axon guidance, topographic map formation, specificity of connectivity, glia, epigenetic modulation etc.); and molecular and cellular principles of neural circuit assembly. Neural circuits will be also discussed in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders and neurological diseases in the mature brain. The course is based on contemporary literature and selected text books.
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)NEU-DEV, NEU-MOL, BIO-CELL, BIO-MOL
Target audienceStudents at all levels and with all backgrounds (experimental and theory), students intending to affiliate with any neuroscience laboratory or with a cell biology laboratory are recommended to take this class.
Teaching formatLectures with unique content, synthesized from most contemporary literature. Student presentations and plenum discussions during exam weeks.
ECTS credits6
EvaluationClass attendance and participation, paper presentations, essay (5 pages) about a topic discussed in the course.
Starts onMon, 10-Oct-2016 (10:15 - 11:30), Seminar Room / Lab Bldg East
Ends onWed, 25-Jan-2017 (11:45 - 12:30), Seminar Room / Lab Bldg East
Minimum attendance4
Withdrawal deadline31-Oct-2016
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Physics

Modern Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics I

Mikhail Lemeshko

In this course, we will survey recent theoretical and experimental developments in the field of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) physics. The covered topics include (but are not limited to) manipulation of atoms, molecules, and interactions between them with electromagnetic fields; laser-cooling, trapping, and deceleration of atoms and molecules; Bose-Einstein condensation and other phenomena in ultracold quantum gases. After introducing the fundamentals, we will discuss the emergent applications to quantum simulation, precision measurements, and chemical physics.
The main concepts of quantum mechanics, quantum optics, and spectroscopy will be presented at a depth depending on the needs of the students.
The course ‘Modern atomic, molecular, and optical physics’ is split in two parts, of which this is the first one. Part I is prerequisite for part II, but students can choose to attend only part I.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)PHYS-AMO
Target audienceIST PhD students, postdocs, and faculty interested in AMO physics.
Teaching formatLectures.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationHomework and participation.
Starts onMon, 28-Nov-2016 (13:30 - 14:45), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Ends onWed, 25-Jan-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Withdrawal deadline19-Nov-2016
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The Physics of Quantum Dots

Georgios Katsaros

The Phyiscs of Quantum Dots: How the single electron transistor aims to become part of a quantum computer
In this course the physics of “artificial atoms” will be presented with the focused being on their potential use as quantum bits in quantum computers. Starting from a classical transistor it will be shown how nanoscale transistors exhibit quantum behavior at low temperatures. The physics of spin qubits in single and double quantum dots will be discussed. Finally latest ideas of how to couple quantum bits will be presented and recent experiments will be discussed.
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)PHYS-CON
Target audienceMainly PhD students. Prior knowledge of basic electronics and quantum mechanics would be of advantage.
Teaching formatThe course will have 6 weeks of lectures. In addition there will be two blocks of practical exercise, 6 hours each. The practical exercise will take place after the 3rd and the 6th week on a Friday. The aim will be to understand the basic measurement techniques used to measure quantum dots at cryogenic temperatures. From basic differential conductance measurements towards radio frequency reflectometry measurements at 4K.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationOral scientific presentation of a recent paper related to the course subject. The paper will be chosen by the instructors.
Starts onMon, 28-Nov-2016 (10:15 - 11:30), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Ends onWed, 25-Jan-2017 (11:45 - 12:30), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Minimum attendance3
Withdrawal deadline19-Dec-2016
Course websiteView

Interdisciplinary

IST core course

Gaia Novarino, Nick Barton

The IST core course is intended to be the ISTScholar PhD program’s signature interdisciplinary course. The course is not intended to teach students to be interdisciplinary scientists, or to do interdisciplinary research, but rather to promote communication between fields, and an understanding of how to model data. The core course aims to do the following:
  1. Teach topics that are interdisciplinary in nature and that bridge a number of divergent, not obviously connected, fields of study.
  2. Teach the language and terminology used in different fields that approach common scientific and mathematical problems. .
  3. Promote the exchange of knowledge and skills between students from divergent backgrounds through active group teaching. .
  4. Promote the development of a student cohort that spans divergent fields. .

In this year’s core course, students will work in interdisciplinary groups to tackle a problem related to Gaia’s research, namely, how to make sense of the heterogeneous genetic causes of autism spectrum disorders. The course will bring together elements of molecular biology / neuroscience, bioinformatics, as well as topics in computer / data science and hopes to leverage different student’s strengths to tackle an open-ended question. Along the way, groups will receive feedback from faculty and discussion leaders. The culmination of the course will be a paper write-up and defense of the group project.
   
Course typeRequired
Target audienceAll IST Austria first-year PhD students (required course)
ECTS credits6
EvaluationRegular assignments and final project
Starts onTue, 18-Oct-2016 (08:45 - 10:00), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Ends onThu, 26-Jan-2017 (08:45 - 10:00), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Withdrawal deadline08-Oct-2016
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Other

Scientific Presentation and Conduct

Hania Koever

Course goals: To provide a forum for discussion and skills-development for all first year PhD students at IST Austria. Topics include developing goals for the PhD, choosing and making effective use of the thesis supervisor, scientific writing, presentations and outreach, and responsible conduct of research. The course is divided into four 3-week modules that take place over the course of the Fall and Spring semesters (see schedule).
Assignments: Major assignments include a portfolio of weekly reflection assignments due at the end of each module, and a slide presentation on a scientific topic presented to a general audience (module 3).
Absences: If you need to miss class, please let the course instructor know in advance, and make sure to make up all homework assignments.
Contact: hania.koever@ist.ac.at; Office Building West, 1st floor
 
Course typeRequired
Teaching formatActive discussion and workshop-style practice, along with weekly reflection and homework assignments.
EvaluationGrading is pass/no-pass. Students are expected to attend every class session, and to actively participate in discussions, activities, and homework assignments. Missing more than 2 class sessions, failing to turn in assignments, or not participating in class will result in re-taking the class next year.
Starts onWed, 12-Oct-2016 (16:00 - 17:30), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Ends onWed, 31-May-2017 (16:00 - 18:00), Mondi 2
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Introduction to Research at IST Austria

 

This course gives an introduction to the research of the IST faculty and is required of all new PhD students. The intent is to foster the interdisciplinary spirit at IST Austria, provide students with a scientific overview to aid them in choosing labs for rotations, and to help students in choosing a doctoral advisor.
Research groups present their work in a 3-day symposium.
     
Course typeRequired
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Mathematics Refresher

Jirí Friml

This lecture course aims to refresh the understanding of basic concepts of mathematics and their applications to give students an introduction to more advanced mathematical challenges waiting in other courses. It will be explained by a non-specialist in simple terms and an interactive way. It will focus on intuitive rather than formal understanding of basic concepts and will introduce basic terminology and give a bit of historical perspective. The course will encompass: arithmetic and algebra; functions and limits; introduction of calculus; initial insights into linear algebra and probability. These six lectures will be followed by a half-a-day course specifically focused on the statistics in biology.
     
Course typeGeneral
Target audienceThe content will not go beyond advanced high-school level and thus is meant mainly for those who have been successfully avoiding exposure to mathematics so far.
Starts onThu, 22-Sep-2016 (09:00 - 10:30), Mondi 2
Ends onWed, 19-Oct-2016 (13:30 - 16:00), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Withdrawal deadline23-Sep-2016
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Biology Refresher

Nick Barton

This session will give a historical overview of biology, explaining the development of both molecular and evolutionary biology. The aim is to summarise the key principles, to introduce basic terminology, and to explain the major questions in current research. No previous knowledge of biology will be assumed.
Further reading:
  • Judson, H.F. (1996) The Eighth Day of Creation Cold Spring Harbour Press. - A detailed history of the origins of molecular biology, based on interviews with the key scientists. Long, but very well written, and accessible to non-biologists.
  • Barton et al. (2007) Evolution Chs. 1, 2 Cold Spring Harbour Press. - This gives a brief summary of evolutionary and molecular biology, and its development in the mid-20th century.
 
Course typeGeneral
Target audienceStudents with little or no prior knowledge of biology
Teaching formatlectures, student presentations, discussions
EvaluationShort essay and presentation; no exam.
Starts onThu, 22-Sep-2016 (09:00 - 10:30), Mondi 3
Ends onTue, 11-Oct-2016 (10:15 - 12:15), Mondi 3
Withdrawal deadline23-Sep-2016
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Introduction to Mathematica

Nick Barton

This short course will give a basic introduction to Mathematica. This is a high-level language that is perhaps best known for symbolic computation, but which includes a comprehensive range of numerical, graphical and statistical resources (see www.wolfram.com). IST Austria has a site licence that allows unlimited use, including on the cluster.

The course will give an overview of what is available within Mathematica, and how to get started with the system. Programming in Mathematica is quite different from traditional languages, and is arguably more powerful, especially for exploratory analysis. The course will give an overview of what is available within Mathematica, and how to get started with the system. Programming in Mathematica is quite different from traditional languages, and is arguably more powerful, especially for exploratory analysis.
 
Course typeGeneral
Pre-requisitesNo previous experience is assumed. Mathematica may be appropriate for a wide range of uses: symbolic algebra, numerical computation, data exploration, statistical analysis, etc.
In the afternoon of Tuesday, September 20th an non-obligatory preparatory meeting for the programming courses "Introduction to Mathematica", and "Introduction to R" will be held (3:30pm, Mondi 3), where support will be offered with the installation of the software. This meeting will also be an opportunity to discuss any general questions participants may have in advance (e.g. with respect to the suitability of the courses etc.).”
Teaching format(Brief) lecture plus example class
ECTS credits1
EvaluationAttendance and completion of problem sets in class.
Starts onWed, 21-Sep-2016 (14:00 - 17:00), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Ends onFri, 30-Sep-2016 (13:00 - 16:00), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Minimum attendance4
Withdrawal deadline22-Sep-2016
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A (very) basic introduction to R

Srdjan Sarikas

This course provides a very elementary introduction to programming using R, as one of the most widespread programming languages for data analysis in science, and maintained largely by the practicing researchers. The course will present the core basics in the following domains:
  • Introduction to programming: variables, functions, basic control structures
  • Basic arithmetic of vectors and matrices
  • Data structures, data manipulation, importing and exporting, basic visualization
  • Using packages, basic statistical functions...

Software: Participants are encouraged to download and install R and RStudio before the first session . CRAN website provides latest R distribution for Mac, Linux and Windows. RStudio offers installers on their website.
In the afternoon of Tuesday, September 20th an non-obligatory preparatory meeting for the programming courses "Introduction to R" and "Introduction to Mathematica" will be held (3:30pm, Mondi 3), where support will be offered with the installation of the software.
 
Course typeGeneral
Target audienceAs the name suggests, the course is explicitly targeted towards students with little of no prior programming experiences. Therefore, there are no prerequisites to taking this course.
Please note: If you do have previous programming experience, you may not be eligible for ECTS credit, but are of course welcome to attend as an auditor to learn the syntax of R. For example, if you already know how to use the For, If/Else, and While statements you are likely too advanced for the course. In case of doubt, discuss your situation with the instructor.
Teaching formatSession will incorporate brief hands-on exercises. More exercises will be expected to completed individually at home, and submitted before the next session, which will begin with explanations and comments on the homework.
ECTS credits1
EvaluationGrading (pass/fail) will be based on homework exercises.
Starts onWed, 21-Sep-2016 (09:00 - 12:00), Mondi 2
Ends onFri, 30-Sep-2016 (09:00 - 12:00), Mondi 2
Withdrawal deadline22-Sep-2016
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Basic Microscopy

Ekaterina Papusheva

This course will give an introduction to contemporary microscopy techniques, with a focus on the methods that are available at IST Austria. Lectures will cover microscopy-related principles of optic, principles of fluorescence, anatomy of the microscope, methods of optical sectioning, image acquisition methods, basics of electron microscopy and sample preparation, and the basics of data analysis.
Hands-on sessions will introduce students to following light microscopy techniques: Widefield, TIRF, Confocal, Multiphoton and Spinning disc microscopy, as well as transmitted and scanning electron microscopy. Two hands-on sessions will be dedicated to image analysis methods.
 
Additional instructorsAnna Hapek, Doreen Milius, Nasser Darwish, Gabriel Krens, Robert Hauschild, Walter Kaufmann, Ludek Lovicar
Course typeGeneral
Target audienceGraduate school students of IST Austria, as well as other employees with practical interest in light and electron microscopy.
Pre-requisitesPractical interest in microscopy
Teaching formatIntensive 1-week course
ECTS credits2
EvaluationWritten exam
Starts onMon, 03-Oct-2016 (09:00 - 17:00), Mondi 2
Ends onFri, 07-Oct-2016 (09:00 - 17:00), Computer Class Room
Minimum attendance8
Maximum attendance20
Withdrawal deadline04-Oct-2016
Course websiteView

Spring 2017

Biology

Classics in Evolutionary Biology I

Nick Barton

As a field, evolutionary biology is remarkably diverse, ranging from taxonomy to theoretical population genetics, and from paleontology through to experimental evolution. In developing the reading curricula the instructors have attempted to both follow the historical development of the field, and to highlight those works that have had an important impact on evolutionary thinking. The ultimate goal of the course is to provide students with an in depth introduction to a variety of topics in evolutionary biology, and encourage independent exploration of the literature. In addition, scientists do not simply perform experiments or derive equations but must present this information to a wider audience through seminars, conference talks, and manuscripts. Therefore, the course also focuses on providing the important experience of giving oral presentations and scientific writing.
The course "Classics in Evolutionary Biology" is divided in two parts, of which this is the first one. Part I is a prerequisite for part II, but students can choose to only attend the first one. Each half carries 3 ECTS credits.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)BIO-EVO
Pre-requisitesSome knowledge of evolutionary biology helpful – for example, from the “Introduction to Evolutionary Biology” taught by Beatriz Vicoso and Sylvia Cremer (Fall 2016).
Teaching formatThe first meeting each week is an introduction (by the instructors) to the topic of the week followed by the distribution of readings for the next week. The second meeting consists of presentations by the students of the readings (from the previous week) followed by an open discussion. In the weekly recitation period, students will evaluate each other’s writings, address unanswered questions, and explore related concepts on the topic.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationShort essays and presentation; no exam.
Starts onThu, 16-Mar-2017 (15:00 - 16:15), Evolutionary Biology Room
Ends onThu, 27-Apr-2017 (15:00 - 16:15), Evolutionary Biology Room
Minimum attendance6
Withdrawal deadline21-Mar-2017
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Microfluidics

Jack Merrin

This half course will cover microfluidics with a focus on biological applications and how students can incorporate microfluidics in their research. In this course, students will gain an intuitive understanding of the behavior of fluids on the micro scale. We will discuss microfabrication methods as well as common microfluidic platforms such as flow cytometry and inkjet. Then we will discuss biological applications of microfluidics to cell culture, bacteriology, eukaryotic cells, biochemistry, immunology, neuroscience, medicine, diagnostics, chemical and cell surface patterning, 3D printing, and lab on a chip. .

Topics
  • Fluid mechanics, consequences of life at low Reynolds number
  • Microfabrication of microfluidics devices, microfluidic valve technology
  • Application of inkjet, DNA Printer, Gene chips
  • Flow cytometry, digital microfluidics
  • Microfluidic cell culture
  • Microfluidics in microbiology
  • Microfluidics with eukaryotic cells
  • Microfluidics in immunology
  • Microfluidics in neuroscience and biochemistry
  • Microfluidics in medicine and diagnostic miniaturization
  • Methods of chemical and cell patterning of surfaces
  • Lab on a chip, biological 3D printing
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)BIO-SYS
Target audienceWe will consider primarily biological applications, but the course should be of interest to anyone who is curious about microfluidics. A basic understanding of calculus is useful but not required to succeed in this class.
Teaching formatLectures, and discussion of papers which the students prepare before each sitting.
ECTS credits3
Evaluation25% Homework 25% Attendance participation, 50% Final Project
Starts onWed, 03-May-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 1
Ends onWed, 21-Jun-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 1
Minimum attendance3
Withdrawal deadline24-May-2017
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Classics in Evolutionary Biology II

Nick Barton

As a field, evolutionary biology is remarkably diverse, ranging from taxonomy to theoretical population genetics, and from paleontology through to experimental evolution. In developing the reading curricula the instructors have attempted to both follow the historical development of the field, and to highlight those works that have had an important impact on evolutionary thinking. The ultimate goal of the course is to provide students with an in depth introduction to a variety of topics in evolutionary biology, and encourage independent exploration of the literature. In addition, scientists do not simply perform experiments or derive equations but must present this information to a wider audience through seminars, conference talks, and manuscripts. Therefore, the course also focuses on providing the important experience of giving oral presentations and scientific writing.
The course "Classics in Evolutionary Biology" is divided in two parts, of which this is the second one. Part I is a prerequisite for part II, but students can choose to only attend the first one. Each half carries 3 ECTS credits.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)BIO-EVO
Pre-requisitesThe first part of the course "Classics in Evolutionary Biology" (first half of spring 2017).
Teaching formatThe first meeting each week is an introduction (by the instructors) to the topic of the week followed by the distribution of readings for the next week. The second meeting consists of presentations by the students of the readings (from the previous week) followed by an open discussion. In the weekly recitation period, students will evaluate each other’s writings, address unanswered questions, and explore related concepts on the topic.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationShort essays and presentation; no exam.
Starts onWed, 03-May-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Evolutionary Biology Room
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (15:00 - 16:15), Evolutionary Biology Room
Minimum attendance6
Withdrawal deadline23-May-2017
Course websiteView

Biology track core course

Harald Janovjak

The goal of the biology core course is to bridge different areas in biology and to show students how biological problems can be approached from different angles. Each 5-week module focuses on a specific problem or question. We first discuss the general problem along with an overview of the available angles. The remainder of the module is spent learning about the different angles using recent literature. Skills emphasized include critical reading of literature, formulating questions and hypotheses, presentation, and grant writing.

Topics for 2016/17:
  • Communication (how do cells and organisms sense the environment?)
  • Adaptation (how do cells and organisms adapt to the environment?)
Course typeTrack core
Track segment(s)BIO-core
Target audienceStudents planning to affiliate in a biology research group are encouraged to choose this course as their track core course.
Pre-requisitesA background in life sciences is desirable; students without a life-science background are encouraged to attend “An Introduction to Molecular Biology”, “Evolutionary Biology” or “Biology Refresher” in the Fall semester, or to contact the instructor in due course.
Teaching formatLectures, discussion.
ECTS credits6
EvaluationPresentations, participation, two written exams.
VenueMondi 2 (unless noted otherwise)
Starts onTue, 28-Feb-2017 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 2
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 2
Withdrawal deadline21-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Plant Cell and Developmental Biology

Eva Benková, Jirí Friml

Plant Cell and Developmental Biology course will offer PhD students core lectures addressing contemporary topics and challenging questions of plant cell and developmental biology. Students will be introduced to the concepts, scientific fundamentals and methodologies central to contemporary plant biology. At the end of the course students should have an understanding of the experimental approaches, and how they are applied to specific problems in cell and developmental biology; should be able to understand and interpret simple experiments in cell and developmental biology. Assessment for this course will be through ability of students to present selected research article, and to prove its understanding in general context during following discussion.
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)BIO-CELL
Target audienceStudents interested in contemporary molecular and genetic tools and their implementation to address cell and developmental biology questions.
Teaching formatLectures, and recitations.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationOral exam.
Starts onTue, 02-May-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 3
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 3
Minimum attendance3
Withdrawal deadline23-May-2016
Course websiteView

Bioinformatics (Genomics and Gene Expression Analysis)

Beatriz Vicoso

We will discuss common types of sequencing data and perform hands on analyses in:
  1. Genomics:
    • DNA sequencing platforms
    • Tools for genome assemblies
  2. Transcriptomics:
    • RNA-seq and Ribo-profiling analysis, detection of differentially expressed genes
    • Evolution of gene expression
  3. Epigenomics:
    • Examples of analyses different datasets, including bisulfite sequencing (methylation), DNase-Seq (regulatory regions), Chip-Seq (histone modifications).
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)BIO-QUANT; DS-QUANT
Target audienceExperimental biologists and/or theoreticians looking to analyze large-scale sequencing data.
Teaching formatEach week there will be an introductory lecture followed by a computational assignment.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationProject report.
Starts onTue, 28-Feb-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 2
Ends onThu, 27-Apr-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 2
Minimum attendance4
Maximum attendance12
Course websiteView

Molecular Population Genetics: making sense of sequence data

Beatriz Vicoso, Jitka Polechova, Nick Barton

The course will consist of 2 introductory lectures, followed by coverage of selected topics in molecular population genetics. Each topic will span 2-3 weeks, and be covered by a different instructor from the Vienna area, who will briefly introduce the topic and assign papers for discussion the following week.
Selected topics include: inference about selection and demography, genotype-phenotype mapping, evolution of gene expression, selfish elements, sex chromosomes, comparative genomics and experimental evolution. Students will be expected to participate in the discussion, and to write short essays, or solve problem sets.
 
Additional instructorsSylvain Mousset / Magnus Nordborg / Ovidiu Paun / Kirsten Senti / Mato Lagator
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)BIO-EVO; DS-QUANT
Pre-requisitesAn introductory course in evolutionary genetics. May be any of :
  • 250110 SE Seminar (Mathematical population genetics), Mathematics, Universität Wien
  • Evolutionary Biology, IST Austria
  • 094011 VO Basic course for PhD students (Population Genetics Introductory course), Vetmeduni Vienna

Alternatively, please contact one of the instructors for a list of material that can be worked through PRIOR to the start of the course. Please note that working through this material will likely take some time, so ask for it as soon as possible.
ECTS credits6
EvaluationEvaluation of homework and course participation.
Course scheduleMondays, 9:00-11:30. A preliminary course schedule is available here
VenueSeminar room Biomathematics 09.143 (9th floor), University of Vienna, Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1, 1090, Vienna
RegistrationThis course is cross-listed at IST Austria, the University of Vienna, and the Vetmeduni. Please register at your home institution.
Course websiteView

Cell Biology/ Cell Migration

Daria Siekhaus, Michael Sixt

Students will learn about eukaryotic cell biology with a focus on mechanisms of cell migration through lectures and dissection of the primary literature, both classic papers and ones highlighting recent concepts and technologies. Topics included will be the cytoskeleton, vesicular trafficking, cell signaling, polarity determination, gradient interpretation and cell migration in in vitro and in vivo contexts. Quantitative and interdisciplinary perspectives on the topics will be highlighted. Students will further develop their independent thinking, knowledge of the techniques utilized in these areas, ability to critically assess the literature, and presentation skills.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)BIO-CELL
Target audienceThis course is classified as an advanced course appropriate for biology students interested in learning more about cell migration but is open to students with limited previous knowledge in the field as well. We have selected many papers in which students with advanced knowledge of math will have an advantage. We will adapt the teaching and content according to the students and their background and pair non biology students with biology students for the presentations. Students with limited biology exposure have enjoyed and succeeded in the course in the past.
Pre-requisitesRecommended for students without biology background:" Introduction to Molecular Biology"
Teaching formatInteractive discussion of primary literature.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationPresentations, participation, mini grant.
Starts onMon, 27-Feb-2017 (11:45 - 12:30), Mondi 1
Ends onThu, 27-Apr-2017 (10:15 - 11:30), Mondi 1
Minimum attendance4
Maximum attendance15
Withdrawal deadline21-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Major Transitions in Evolution: Context, causes, consequences

Harold Vladar, Nick Barton

The “major transitions in evolution” include the origin of life, of the genetic code, eukaryotes, multicellularity, and social organization. The course will be organized around the seminal book by Maynard Smith and Szathmary, and will explore the common themes shared by these transitions.
This will be a joint course, organised in cooperation between the Museum of Natural History in Vienna and IST Austria. The course will combine lectures, presentation and discussion of papers, and tours of the museum exhibits; the course will be held at the museum.
Additional instructorsEörs Szathmary et al.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)BIO-EVO
Target audienceBiologists in some of the following areas: evolution, ecology, systematics/phylogenetics, organismic biology, or other fields related to evolution.
Pre-requisitesSome knowledge of evolutionary biology and genetics is assumed. The course will be primarily conceptual rather than mathematical.
Teaching formatLectures and museum tours
ECTS credits3
EvaluationOne talk on a chapter or paper(s), weekly summary sheets, final exam (multiple choice), museum projects.
Course scheduleMay 3rd-June 21st, Wednesdays 4:00-6:00pm (schedule can be adapted according to needs and possibilities)
VenueNatural History Museum Vienna (details will be communicated)
Minimum attendance6
Maximum attendance20
Withdrawal deadline26-May-2017
Course websiteView

Computer Science

Numerical Algorithms

Chris Wojtan

This is an advanced course introducing numerical algorithms with applications in Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Computer Graphics, and Computational Physics. The course will teach students algorithms that solve linear systems and differential equations, paying special attention to the complications created by numerical errors. After completing this course, students should not only be able to solve problems themselves, but also identify strengths and weaknesses in solutions proposed by others.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)CS-NUM; DS-NUM
Target audienceThis course is aimed at graduate students in mathematics, computer science, or the natural/physical sciences who wish to better understand computational algorithms for solving difficult mathematical problems.
Pre-requisitesThe prerequisites for this course are previous exposure to linear algebra and differential equations.
Teaching formatTwo lectures per week, with regular homework and a project.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationThe final grade will be determined by homework, a project, and class participation.
Starts onMon, 27-Feb-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 1
Ends onWed, 26-Apr-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 1
Minimum attendance3
Maximum attendance20
Course websiteView

Formal Methods

Krishnendu Chatterjee

We present formal modeling languages and analysis tools for discrete-event dynamical systems, with applications from computer science and biology. The languages we discuss are based on mathematical logic, rewrite rules, automata, and programming constructs. The analysis methods include model checking, and graph algorithms. We give brief introductions to advanced models incorporating time, probabilities, game-theoretic aspects, and continuous behavior.
   
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)CS-PROG
Target audiencegeneral, 1st year students.
Pre-requisitesBasic mathematical concepts of set theory (union, intersection etc.), and basics of probability.
ECTS credits3
Starts onWed, 03-May-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Computer Science Room
Ends onWed, 21-Jun-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Computer Science Room
Minimum attendance5
Withdrawal deadline24-May-2017
Course websiteView

Computer Science track core course

Krishnendu Chatterjee, Krzysztof Pietrzak, Vladimir Kolmogorov

The goal of the CS core course is to expose students to key ideas in computer science covering randomized algorithms, parametrized algorithms, optimization algorithms, topics in cryptography. The course will cover about six different topics (2 weeks per topic), many of which are centered around a problem or question that students will be encouraged to solve in groups.
   
Course typeTrack core
Track segment(s)CS-core
Target audienceStudents planning to affiliate in a computer science research group are encouraged to choose this course as their track core course.
Pre-requisitesA background in basic algorithms is assumed.
ECTS credits6
Starts onTue, 28-Feb-2017 (15:00 - 16:15), Mondi 3
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (15:00 - 16:15), Mondi 3
Withdrawal deadline20-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Data Science and Scientific Computing

Data Science and Scientific Computing track core course

Bernd Bickel, Christoph Lampert, Gasper Tkacik

Format:
The course is divided into three 4-week cycles in which students work in interdisciplinary groups under the supervision of a DSSC faculty member. During each cycle, students first learn the necessary background and tools, and are then coached by faculty to tackle a specific DSSC problem or data set in small groups. Evaluation is based written or oral reports at the end of each cycle.

Topics:
  • cycle 1: understanding and visualizing data (G. Tkacik)
  • cycle 2: building and analyzing predictive models (C. Lampert)
  • cycle 3: numerical simulation of physical systems (B. Bickel)

Goals:
  • Provide hands-on experience and scientific insight into different DSSC problems and methodologies
  • Learn about evaluation criteria for good models in different fields
  • Build a community of computational / data students by project work
  • Practice the following skills: handling data, extracting knowledge from data, creating models, running numerical simulations, identifying and understanding sources of error, working in mixed background teams, written and oral communication


  • A preliminary information meeting will be held on Friday, January 27th, 2017 at 9:00am (Mondi 1)
Course typeTrack core
Track segment(s)DSSC-core
Target audience
  • students who plan a PhD on the topic of data analysis, modeling in the life sciences or a data-driven direction of computer science/physics
  • if uncertain if this is the right course for you, please consult the DSSC track representative, your mentor and/or potential future PhD supervisors
Pre-requisites
  • everything in the modeling course
  • Math: multi-dimensional calculus, linear algebra, probabilities
  • Programming in a language that supports numerical computation (Python, Mathematica, C/C++, Matlab)
Teaching formatclassroom lectures, and student projects (in small groups).
ECTS credits6
Evaluationhomework/exercises (50%), and project presentations/reports (50%).
Starts onMon, 27-Feb-2017 (10:15 - 11:30), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Ends onWed, 21-Jun-2017 (10:15 - 11:30), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Minimum attendance4
Withdrawal deadline20-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Applications of Stochastic Processes

Katarina Bodova, Nick Barton

The course will cover basic stochastic processes, emphasizing examples from a range of fields. This will include Markov chains, branching processes, and the diffusion approximation.
Christoph Lampert is offering a “Probabilistic models” course that emphasizes graphical models & discrete processes. This is complementary.
Mathematical rigour will be avoided.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)DSSC-PROB
Target audienceAppropriate for students interested in data science, population genetics, statistical physics, etc.
Pre-requisitesGood mathematical and computational ability, including calculus, probability and matrix algebra.
Teaching formatLectures, problems classes.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationHomework (no exam).
Starts onTue, 02-May-2017 (10:15 - 11:30), Mondi 1
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (10:15 - 11:30), Mondi 1
Minimum attendance4
Withdrawal deadline23-May-2017
Course websiteView

Mathematics

Mathematics track core course

Jan Maas, Uli Wagner

The course provides a glimpse into selected topics of current mathematical research interest. The aim is to familiarize participants with basic notions, problems, and results outside their own research area. The course format emphasizes interaction between students and active engagement. The topics of this year’s course will be discussed during an information meeting that takes place on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 (4:00-5:00pm, Mondi 3).
Course typeTrack core
Track segment(s)MAT-core
Target audience1st year PhD students with a strong mathematical interest / solid mathematical background at the level of BSc.
Teaching formatflexible, depending on the number of enrolled students (most likely a mixture of lectures, a reading course, and presentations by the students).
ECTS credits3
EvaluationExercises and student presentations; in case the number of students is too small for extensive student presentations, the role of the latter as an evaluation criterion may be replaced by an oral exam.
Starts onTue, 13-Dec-2016 (16:00 - 17:00), Mondi 3
Ends onFri, 21-Apr-2017 (10:15 - 12:15), Mondi 3
Withdrawal deadline21-Mar-2016
Course websiteView

Selected Topics in Geometry and Topology

Arseniy Akopyan, Herbert Edelsbrunner

It will be a working seminar, with two meetings a week devoted to topics in discrete geometry and topology. Each participant gives one lecture on a topic she chooses but not directly related to the subject of her research. There will be lectures by the two instructors filling in gaps and covering interesting recent developments in the field.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)MAT-GEO
Target audienceStudents and postdocs.
Teaching formatEach participant gives one lecture.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationThe students will be evaluated on the basis of the presentations they give.
Minimum attendance3
Withdrawal deadline20-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Introduction to Topological Quantum Field Theories and Frobenius Algebras

Tamas Hausel

The course instructor will give an introduction to an axiomatic approach to topological quantum field theories. It will be shown that 2 dimensional ones are classified by commutative Frobenius algebras.
The course then will concentrate on the study of Frobenius algebras. The main example worked out from scratch will be the character theory of a finite group.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)MAT-GEO, MAT-ALG, PHY-MAT
Target audiencestudents in Math/Physics/ Computer Science
Pre-requisitesThe course will build up the theory from scratch, but mathematical maturity is assumed.
Teaching formatLectures with exercises
ECTS credits3
Evaluationwill be based on submitted solutions of exercises
Starts onTue, 02-May-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 2
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 2
Withdrawal deadline17-May-2017
Course websiteView

Neuroscience

Neuroscience track core course

Ryuichi Shigemoto, Sandra Siegert

This course:
  • introduces fundamental concepts and methods for structural and functional analyses of the brain using mouse models, imaging techniques, virus tracing, optogenetics, gene profiling, gene level modulations, and strategies to translate the knowledge into the human model system.
  • aims at covering both the basics of the techniques as well as how they are applied to address specific research questions.
  • is divided in a theoretical and a practical part to allow full spectrum of experimental design, performing the experiment, analyze the data, and discuss it.


A major goal is that students will be capable to develop a research proposal outlining the following:
  • a general introduction of the research field of interest
  • to formulate a novel, unanswered research question/ hypothesis
  • to outline, why this question is of relevance
  • to design experiments, which tackle the questions
  • to critique the potential pitfalls of the experiments, and
  • to plan potential alternatives in case of failed experiments.


The following preliminary sessions will be held:
February 15th, 2017 (14:00-15:00): General introduction by the course instructors (Lab Building East, seminar room ground floor)
February 22nd, 2017 (9:00-3:30; Mondi 1) and February 23rd, 2017 (9:00-12:00): Introduction to relevant aspects and concepts of laboratory work with rodents (Pre-clinical Facility; detailed program in the download section of the course website).
Course typeTrack core
Track segment(s)NEU-core
Teaching formatThe course is divided in a theoretical and a practical part. In the theoretical part, we will implement teaching strategies such as “Think-pair-share”. Here, students write down their ideas and discuss them with neighboring students to share and compare ideas and identify points of agreement and misalignment. The advantage of this strategy is that it provides each student an opportunity to verbalize their thoughts and actively participate without necessarily being exposed speaking in front of the whole group. Then, we will ask several groups to present their answers and open them up for group discussion.
The recitation structure is very interactive to allow students to phrase their problems and concerns, but also learn to appreciate other opinions and defend their own opinion.
ECTS credits6
EvaluationActivate participation of the student is required as well as full attendance to each class (exceptions have to be discussed with the course instructors and the grad school). The students are asked to write a 2-page research proposal about their brain region-of-interest and submit it by the end of the course. Before submission, they will present the proposal in a 5-min chalk-talk with a 10-min questions-and-answer session. To prepare for this proposal, each student should present in the recitation (Depending on the amount of time of discussion: random selection of the people to present (Volunteers, if not: bowl with names, after each round the name comes back in the bowl and get be pulled out again. After 3x presenting, name is taken out of the bowl). Not submitting a proposal or not regular participation causes a fail.
Starts onWed, 15-Feb-2017 (14:00 - 15:00), Seminar Room / Lab Bldg East
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (10:15 - 11:30), Seminar Room / Lab Bldg East
Minimum attendance4
Maximum attendance10
Withdrawal deadline21-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Molecules, Cells, and Models

Peter Jonas

The goal of this course is to give an overview of molecular and cellular neuroscience and to discuss certain interesting aspects in detail at a quantitative level. The course will cover the following topics:
  • Membranes and membrane proteins: Lipids bilayers, ion channels, receptors for various transmitters and signaling substances, and ion pumps.
  • Axons and excitable membranes: Ionic mechanisms of resting potential and action potential, molecular properties of voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels, and mechanisms underlying speed of propagation of action potentials.
  • Synapses and exocytosis: Mechanisms of transmitter release, mechanisms of postsynaptic receptor activation, comparison of synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction and at central synapses, and functional properties of electrical synapses.
  • Dendrites: Cable properties of dendrites, integration of excitatory and inhibitory potentials (EPSPs and IPSPs), active properties of dendrites, action potential backpropagation into the dendritic tree.
  • Plasticity: Pre- and postsynaptic plasticity, long-term potentiation, long-term depression, spike-timing dependent plasticity, role of the backpropagated action potential in plasticity, homeostatic plasticity, adult neurogenesis.
  • Building quantitative molecular and cellular models: Synapse models, single neuron models, and neuronal network models, usage of different computational platforms (Neuron, Mathematica, and others).

To facilitate understanding, the material is systematically presented in a bottom-up sequence. The goal is to obtain a quantitative understanding of molecular and cellular aspects of neuroscience.
 
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)NEU-MOL; NEU-QUANT; BIO-CELL
Target audienceThe course is strongly recommended for students considering a PhD in any of the neuroscience groups. The course may be also interesting for cell biologists and computer scientists.
Pre-requisitesCourse level will be adjusted according to the composition of the audience. Knowledge of Mathematica is strongly recommended.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationHomework, assignment/presentation, final exam
Starts onMon, 27-Feb-2017 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 3
Ends onWed, 26-Apr-2017 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 3
Minimum attendance3
Maximum attendance10
Withdrawal deadline20-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Systems Neuroscience

Jozsef Csicsvari

Systems Neuroscience course will examine how neuronal systems encode and process sensory information leading to sensory perception, decision making and behavioural responses. It will also discuss brain systems involved in some fundamental brain functions such as sleep-waking cycle regulation and memory formation. In all these topics a special emphasis will be made on the functional dissection of brain circuit: how neuronal circuits embedded in complex systems operate to generate function.
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)NEU-SYS
Teaching formatLectures and recitations.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationParticipation, final exam.
Starts onTue, 02-May-2017 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 1
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (08:45 - 10:00), Mondi 1
Withdrawal deadline23-May-2017
Course websiteView

Physics

Physics track core course

Georgios Katsaros, Johannes Fink, Mikhail Lemeshko

The goal of the course is to familiarize the students with methods, concepts and ideas of current interest in quantum and solid-state physics. The instructors will provide a list of topics to be studied, typically in the form of a review paper or a reading list. Each student gets assigned a topic which is closest to his/her area of expertise, and for which he/she will act as an “advisor”. Each student also gets assigned a topic which needs to be chosen outside of his/her own area of expertise, and which he/she will study during this course, with the help of the “advisor”. There will be weekly meetings with the instructors to discuss the topics and the progress made by the students. During the second half of the course, each student will give a presentation on the chosen topic.
Course typeTrack core
Track segment(s)PHY-core
Target audienceFirst and second year physics students
Teaching formatSeminar type course: 4 weeks of literature review and discussions, 2 weeks of presentation and feedback
ECTS credits3
EvaluationBased on final presentation.
Starts onTue, 02-May-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 1
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Mondi 1
Minimum attendance3
Maximum attendance12
Withdrawal deadline23-May-2016
Course websiteView

Superconducting Microwave Resonators: Modeling, Fabrication and Characterization

Johannes Fink

This course will give an introduction to chip-based superconducting microwave resonators with a strong emphasis on micro- and nanofabrication techniques. For hands-on sessions we plan to split the group in two parts. Listed tasks will be distributed among the students and solved with the instructor’s or the TA’s help. The course will be structured as follows:

  1. Modeling: An introductory theory session about relevant basics of microwave engineering on the one hand, as well as quantum optics input-output theory on the other hand. Tasks: Detailed derivation of complex scattering parameters of microwave resonators with different coupling geometries such as: reflective (1), through (2) and side coupling (3). Analytic modeling (Mathematica) of coplanar waveguide (4) and FEM modeling (Sonnet) of lumped (5) and distributed element (6) resonators. CAD drawing (e.g. AutoCAD) of two test designs (7, 8) as well as file preparation (BEAMER) for electron beam lithography (9).
  2. Fabrication: Hands-on training in cleaning, spinning, baking, development and lift-off. Demonstrations of electron beam lithography, thin film evaporation, plasma ashing and SEM. Tasks: Each student fabricates one chip with multiple test resonators (10) with the help of the instructor.
  3. Characterization: The important aspects of a measurement setup required for sub-single photon resonator characterization will be introduced. Tasks: The students will measure their devices as a function of photon number (11) or temperature (12). Data analysis according to the model developed in part 1 is mandatory for each student, i.e. to extract intrinsic and loading losses as a function of intra-cavity photon number (13). Quantitative analysis and modeling of quasi particle density (temperature), two level fluctuator saturation (power), dielectric loss tangent, losses to parasitic modes, and the impact of interference channels (Fano response) are encouraged.
Course typeIntroductory
Track segment(s)PHY-CON
Target audienceNew students planning to work in the nanofabrication facility, in particular those planning to work with superconducting circuits.
Pre-requisitesAttending the clean room safety and cleanliness course as well as the wet bench and optical microscope introductions (both done by NFF staff) is mandatory before the course start. Having completed the introduction to other equipment is not required but can be helpful.
Teaching formatThis course will be held in a blocked format with 4-5 independent blocks each starting on a Friday morning.
ECTS credits3
EvaluationEach student hands in his / her Mathematica scripts and the laboratory notebook containing a log of the performed tasks such as: scattering parameter derivation, modeling results, CAD design, detailed log of fabrication steps, the measurement setup, results and data analysis, for evaluation.
Course scheduleFriday, May 5th- Friday, June 9th (starting time tbd)
Starts onFri, 05-May-2017 (08:45 - 12:45), Meeting room 2nd floor / Lab Bldg West
Ends onFri, 09-Jun-2017 (08:45 - 12:45), Meeting room 2nd floor / Lab Bldg West
Minimum attendance4
Maximum attendance6
Withdrawal deadline25-May-2017
Course websiteView

Operator Algebras and Quantum Statistical Mechanics

Robert Seiringer

Introduction to operator algebras and quantum statistical mechanics. The course is a natural continuation of the course “Mathematical methods in statistical mechanics”, which was taught in the spring 2016 and covered mostly classical statistical mechanics. The latter course is not a prerequisite for the current course, however, which will focus on quantum systems.

Recommended Reading
  • Bratteli / Robinson: Operator Algebras and Quantum Statistical Mechanics
  • Israel: Convexity in the theory of lattice gases
  • Ruelle: Statistical Mechanics. Rigorous results
  • Simon: The Statistical Mechanics of lattice gases
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)MAT-ANA; PHY-MAT
Target audienceGraduate students interested in mathematical physics. A solid prior knowledge of functional analysis and quantum mechanics is preferable.
Teaching format2 lectures + 1 recitation per week.
ECTS credits6
EvaluationHomework and take-home final exam.
Starts onTue, 28-Feb-2017 (10:15 - 11:30), Mondi 3
Ends onThu, 22-Jun-2017 (10:15 - 11:30), Mondi 3
Minimum attendance4
Withdrawal deadline21-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Modern Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics II

Mikhail Lemeshko

In this course, we will survey recent theoretical and experimental developments in the field of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) physics. The covered topics include (but are not limited to) manipulation of atoms, molecules, and interactions between them with electromagnetic fields; laser-cooling, trapping, and deceleration of atoms and molecules; Bose-Einstein condensation and other phenomena in ultracold quantum gases. After introducing the fundamentals, we will discuss the emergent applications to quantum simulation, precision measurements, and chemical physics.
The main concepts of quantum mechanics, quantum optics, and spectroscopy will be presented at a depth depending on the needs of the students. .
The course ‘Modern atomic, molecular, and optical physics’ is split in two parts, of which this is the second one. Part I (fall 2015) is prerequisite for part II.
Course typeAdvanced
Track segment(s)PHYS-AMO
Target audience IST PhD students, postdocs, and faculty interested in AMO physics
Pre-requisitesModern atomic, molecular, and optical physics I
Teaching formatLectures.
ECTS credits3
Evaluationhomework and participation.
Starts onMon, 27-Feb-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Ends onWed, 26-Apr-2017 (13:30 - 14:45), Seminar room Big Ground floor / Lab Bldg West
Minimum attendance4
Withdrawal deadline20-Mar-2017
Course websiteView

Past courses can be found in the course archive.

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