Experimental Design

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching

Type of exam

Written exam and seminars


First-year PhD students in Neuroscience


The course has the goal to provide basic instruments to understand (i) how a neurobiology experiment should be designed to test an experimental hypothesis, (ii) how experimental data should be checked for statistical significance, (iii) how rigorous experimental conclusions can be drawn from data interpretation. After a general introduction on the basic principles of hypothesis testing
and experimental group setup, the course will use informal journal club presentations to teach students how to critically read a scientific paper to learn finding flaws, imperfect design and overstatements in scientific literature. Interaction of the students in the audience is
expected. A module of the course will present biostatistics methods used in experimental hypothesis testing. Finally, specific lessons will teach how to write a research project for approval by government ethical committees.

Educational aims

These discussions and lectures are expected to enhance the ability of PhD students in designing their own experiments and in properly testing data to support meaningful scientific conclusions.

Bibliographical references

Scientific articles provided during the course