ENLIGHT joint courses

Global and Environmental Aspects of Neurohealth 2024

The course is aimed at students in natural science and healthcare programmes and deals with the effects of environmental problems on health from a neurological/psychiatric perspective. The aim is to provide a picture of the mechanisms behind the risks and at the same time provide instruments to develop analysis and strategies from an interprofessional perspective. Risks that are addressed are, for example, climate change, environmental pollution and other toxicological exposures, drugs in the environment, fetal risks, and the effects of warfare.

The course also covers the health effects of resource shortages globally. We touch on ethical and social aspects, economic drivers and the importance of legislation, as well as a review of societal development based on sustainability goals.

The course runs full-time for five weeks, with one week on campus in Uppsala and the other weeks online. The teaching consists of lectures, seminars and group work. We will use "challenge-based" learning with global and local challenge scenarios.

About the course


The course is aimed at students in natural science, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and related programs and deals with the effects of environmental problems on health from a neurological perspective. Risks that are addressed include air pollution, chemical pollutants (PFAS, PCBs, and more), heavy metals, and noise.

You will learn more about their involvement in common neurological disorders and children’s development. The aim is to provide an overview of the mechanisms behind the environmental risks and, at the same time, provide instruments to analyze the issues and develop strategies to solve them.

The course runs full-time for five weeks, with one week on campus in Uppsala and the other weeks online (Zoom). The teaching consists of lectures and seminars as well as project work. During the course, you will work on a group project in the form of challenge-based learning, where you will investigate a city or area of your choice regarding environmental risk factors for adverse neurological outcomes and possible interventions to mitigate the risks. During the project, you will meet regularly with a supervisor to help you along the way.

The course was given for the first time in the fall of 2023 and highly appreciated by students; below are a few citations from the course evaluation:

  • “I enjoyed working with students from different research areas as well as from different countries. This really is an outstanding benefit of the ENLIGHT network.”
  • “I liked how student input was always very appreciated.”
  • “The group project was challenging but gave a good impression of how projects in the ’real world’ could go if we want to work as policy advisors for example.”
  • “Really liked the lectures where they gave concrete examples of cases involving the different pollutants and the effects on health.”
  • “As an ENLIGHT student, the group assignment has been wonderful. This created the opportunity to already get to know some of the classmates before the onsite week.”

During the on-campus week you will have time to focus on project work but also study visits and guest lecturers. You will also have time to enjoy wonderful Uppsala and social gatherings.

Details on schedule: 
The course is planned to make it possible for students to follow it, even though you have other courses running in parallel.

The course starts on the 7th of October and ends on the 10th of November. For the first three weeks, we will mainly have lectures. The lectures are not mandatory and will be recorded so that students can watch them afterwards, if they cannot attend.

In parallel, the students work with their projects; they can plan this to work with their own schedules. During Thursday afternoons, we will have supervisor meetings for the student projects; these meetings are mandatory.

Short summary of the mandatory parts of the course

Week 1:

Monday – Introduction – Mandatory

Thursday – Introduction to the project – Mandatory

Week 2-3:

Thursday afternoon – Supervisor meeting – Mandatory

Week 4:

On-site here in Uppsala

Week 5:

Exam - Mandatory

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe the symptoms and possible mechanisms of our most common neurological diseases and neuropsychiatric disabilities (NPD) (overall neuro health)
  • Explain the concept of autoimmunity and its significance for the emergence of neurological disease
  • Account for currently known environmental factors and environmental pollution that may constitute risk factors for the occurrence of neurological disease and NPD
  • Describe how epidemiological studies and cell and animal models can be used to study the effect of environmental factors and environmental pollution as possible risk factors for the onset of neurological disease and NPF
  • Account for possible risk factors linked to neuro health in people's immediate environment (cities/regions) in different parts of the world

Skills and abilities

  • Be able to critically review and evaluate scientific literature regarding risk factors linked to neuro health
  • Be able to perform basic epidemiological statistical calculations

Judgement and approach

  • Critically review and evaluate risk factors and their evidence
  • Justify the ethical and legal considerations that need to be made when collecting data and connecting data between several registers when following individuals over time in epidemiological studies
  • Describe how economic and social development, with or without a sustainability perspective, may affect the environment and human neuro health


Active participation in all compulsory modules and group exercises corresponding to 4.5 credits is required to pass the course. The theoretical part of the course is examined through a written exam equivalent to 3hp.

If there are special reasons, the examiner may make exceptions from the specified examination method and allow the student to be examined in another way. Special reasons can, for example, be special educational support needed, as informed by the University coordinator.


  • Jelle Van Cauwenberg, Phd, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Public Health and Primary Care
  • Prof. Daniela Ostatníková,Institute of Physiology, Academic Research Center for Autism, Comenius University, Faculty of Medicine
  • Syed Moshfiqur Rahman, Senior Lecturer, Associate professor, Global Health & Migration, Dept. of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University
  • Kim Kultima, Senior Lecturer, Associate professor, Dept. of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University
  • Henrik Carlsson, PhD, Dept. of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University
  • Ida Erngren, PhD, Dept. of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University
  • Aitana Lertxundi, Ph.D., Department of Preventive medicine and public health, University of the Basque Country


Occupational and Environmental Health (7th edn), Barry S. Levy et al.


Parts of the above course literature are used in the course, and additional literature is provided during the course.


    Practical Details

    Courses – Focus area: Health and Well-being, Climate Change
    Study Field: All fields
    Type: course
    Format: Blended
    Host: Uppsala University
    Course dates: Online: 7 Oct – 8 Nov 2024 (Onsite in Uppsala: 28 Oct – 1 Nov 2024)
    Apply by: 15 April 2024
    ECTS: 7,5
    Number of places available: 3 per ENLIGHT partner university
    Level: Bachelor