Neuroscience

Faculty
  • Professor E. Dawley (Chair); Associate Professors Bish, Favero, Stevenson; Assistant Professors King, Makuch, Round.

  • Neuroscience is a rapidly expanding multidisciplinary field devoted to understanding the complex functioning of the nervous system. Neuroscience attempts to understand the neural substrates of both normal and abnormal patterns of behavior as well as mental events and mental states.

    The Neuroscience major is designed for students interested in exploring how the nervous system contributes to thought, emotion, neuropathology, and behavior. This major integrates the multidisciplinary nature of the field by providing students with an interdisciplinary approach to the study of brain function, behavior, and the mind.

    The courses in the neuroscience curriculum are selected from an array of disciplines. The following areas of study contribute to the interdisciplinary perspective of the major: biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science, health and exercise physiology, philosophy, psychology, and physics.

    Neuroscience majors will graduate with a Bachelor of Science that will prepare them for a career in government, industry, biomedical and medical settings or some combination of these. Neuroscience majors often pursue graduate work (at the M.A. or Ph.D. level) in behavioral neuroscience, biology, biochemistry, cognitive science, clinical or experimental psychology, neuroanatomy, neurobiology, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, toxicology, or medicine (e.g. M.D., D.O., D.P.M., M.D./Ph.D., D.V.M., Pharm.D., D.D.S., O.D., etc.). Neuroscience majors fulfill the writing requirement by completing NEUR-200WQ, BIO-201W, and an advanced research course in Biology (i.e., NEUR/BIO-431W or NEUR/BCMB/BIO-433W or NEUR/BIO-435W). Neuroscience majors fulfill the oral presentation and capstone requirement by completing two advanced research courses (one in biology and one in psychology)

    Requirements for Majors

    To fulfill the requirements of the major, all students must complete a minimum of 56 semester hours in the neuroscience curriculum as outlined below. Neuroscience majors fulfill the requirement for an oral presentation in the major and the capstone requirement by taking the two required Advanced Research Courses (at least one must be taken during the junior or senior year).

    I. Neuroscience Core: (2 courses)

    a. NEUR-100

    b. NEUR-200WQ

    II. Interdisciplinary Foundation: (7 courses)

    a. Biology Foundation: BIO-101Q, BIO-102Q and BIO 201W

    b. Psychology Foundation: NEUR/PSYC-330 and NEUR/PSYC-332

    c. Chemistry or Physics Foundation:

    • i. Chemistry: CHEM-107/107LQ and CHEM-108/108L
    • ii. Physics: PHYS-111Q and PHYS-112

    Note: Students interested in a more traditional background to Neuroscience are encouraged to choose the Chemistry Foundation. Students interested in more mathematical aspects of Neuroscience (e.g., modeling, biomechanics, etc.) are encouraged to choose the Physics Foundation.

    III. Advanced Research Courses: (2 courses)

    a. Biology: NEUR/BIO-431W or NEUR/BCMB/BIO-433W or NEUR/BIO-435W; and
    b. Psychology: NEUR/PSYC-430 or NEUR/PSYC-432

    IV. Breadth Courses (3 courses)

    Neuroscience majors must take a minimum of three approved breadth courses. Only one four-credit, on-campus research course may be used to satisfy the breadth requirement (i.e., NEUR-481, 482, 491W, 492W). Students may not use courses to fulfill both the Breadth requirement as well as either the Interdisciplinary Foundation or Advanced Research Course credit. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of the neuroscience major and choose breadth courses from multiple departments.

    Neuroscience:
    NEUR/BIO-225, NEUR/PSYC-230, NEUR-350, NEUR-382, NEUR/PSYC-430, NEUR/BIO-431W, NEUR/PSYC-432, NEUR/BCMB/BIO-433W, NEUR/BIO-435W, NEUR/PSYC-464, NEUR/PSYC-466, NEUR-481W, NEUR-482W, NEUR-485, NEUR-486, NEUR-491W, NEUR-492W

    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology:
    BCMB-351

    Biology:
    BIO/HEP 205, BIO-224, 305, 306 or BIO-346, 349, *350, 449W, 459W

    Chemistry:
    CHEM-107/107LQ, 108/108LQ, 207/207L, 208/208L, 347

    Dance:
    DANC-340

    Health and Exercise Physiology:
    HEP-351

    Mathematics and Computer Science:
    CS-170Q, 173, MATH-235, MATH/PHIL-260, STAT-243W

    Philosophy:
    PHIL-246, 274, 278, *309, 364, 374

    Physics:
    PHYS-111Q, 112Q

    Psychology:
    PSYC-220; PSYC/NEUR-230; PSYC-232, 240, *275, 320, 340, 460, *475

    Notes:
    *BIO-350, PHIL-309, PSYC-275, PSYC-475 may be used as a major elective when the topic(s) covered are related to Neuroscience. Approval of the Neuroscience Coordinator required.

    Requirements for Minors

    A minor concentration in neuroscience consists of

    • the neuroscience core: NEUR-100 and NEUR-200WQ
    • a biology foundation course: BIO-102Q
    • a psychology foundation course: NEUR/PSYC-330 or 332
    • two elective courses from the following list: BIO-101Q, 201W, NEUR/BIO-225, NEUR/PSYC-330, 332, NEUR-350, 382; NEUR/PSYC-430; NEUR/BIO-431W; NEUR/PSYC-432; NEUR/BCMB/BIO-433W; NEUR/BIO-435W; NEUR/PSYC-464, 466; NEUR-481W, 482W, 485, 486, 491W, or 492W.

    Only one course from the following list can be applied to the minor: NEUR-382, 481W, 482W, 485, 486, 491W, 492W.

    A student may substitute NEUR/PSYC-330 for NEUR-100 and STAT-141Q for NEUR-200. When NEUR/PSYC-330 is substituted for NEUR-100, a student must take NEUR/PSYC-332 as their psychology foundation course. This course sequence is recommended for students who declare the minor after their sophomore year.

    No course can count toward multiple requirements.

    Special Career Interests

    I. Students seeking admission to more experimental psychology related graduate programs should note the following:

    A. A second Advanced Research Methods course in psychology and STAT-243W are recommended.

    B. Two additional upper level (300-400) psychology courses germane to their area of interest/specialization are recommended.

    II. Students seeking admission to more biologically related graduate programs should note the following:

    1. A second year of chemistry is strongly recommended.
    2. STAT-141Q; 242 or 243, and CS-173 are recommended. Additional coursework in mathematics/computer science is recommended.
    3. MATH/STAT-141Q; 242 or 243, and CS-173 are recommended.

    III. Students seeking admission to schools of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry and podiatry should note the following:

    1. Two years of chemistry and one year of general physics for science majors are required by most of the above schools.
    2. Students and their advisers should consult one of the pre-health advisers for requirements of specific schools.

    IV. Students seeking admission to other health science programs, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, or physician’s assistant, should consult the pre-health adviser.

    V. Students who seek employment in a biologically oriented profession should note the following:

    1. STAT-141Q; 242 or 243, and CS-173 are strongly recommended.
    2. ACCT-140 and ECON-102 are recommended
    3. Additional coursework in Media and Communication Studies is recommended.
    4. Additional courses that emphasize writing are recommended.

Courses

  • NEUR-100. Fundamentals of Neuroscience 

    The goal of this course is to help students understand how the brain is involved in behavior, senses, memories, movement, and other aspects of life. Through assigned readings, class discussions, and hands-on activities, we survey the fundamentals of neuroscience—from gross anatomical structure of the brain to how the components of the nervous system function to create cognition and behavior. Analysis of primary literature sources to investigate current methods of neuroscience research is a key focus in this course. Prerequisite: First year or sophomore standing. Four hours per week. Four semester hours. 

    Note: Students who have received credit for NEUR/PSYC-330 may not enroll in NEUR-100 without instructor permission.

    NEUR-200Q. Research Methods and Techniques in Neuroscience

    This course is intended to cover the foundations of both research methods specific to neuroscience and the techniques of the field, in particular those techniques used by the current faculty of the program. By the end of the semester, students should be able to confidently critique research designs, evaluate statistical findings, and establish the appropriate designs and techniques for their future research. Prerequisite: First year or sophomore standing; or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. 

    NEUR/BIO-225. Glial Cell Biology

    Understanding biological functions and the mechanisms cells use to carry out them out are critical to advancing scientific knowledge about how cells govern systems. The overall goal of this course is to examine what we currently know about glial cells, one of the two major types of cells in the nervous system, and how research is discovering new roles for these cells in nervous system function by investigating primary and secondary literature, animal model systems, current experimental methods, and human conditions associated with alterations of glial cells. This course is designed for first year and sophomore students. Prerequisite: NEUR-100 or BIO-102 or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    NEUR/PSYC-230. Sensation and Perception

    This course will explore fundamental sensory processes with an emphasis on vision and audition. We will discuss how sensory stimulation modulates neuronal activity in distinct regions of the nervous system. Additionally, this course will explore how our brain interprets or perceives sensory information. Topics related to perception may include object recognition, color, motion, depth and size, pitch, auditory localization, speech. A working knowledge of sensation and perception will be developed. Prerequisites: PSYC-100. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    NEUR-301. Readings in Neuroscience

    Individual study of one or more selected topics in the neuroscience literature, and preparation of an annotated bibliography of a detailed proposal for subsequent research. To register for this course, the student must have the consent of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as adviser. One semester hour.

    NEUR-302. Readings in Neuroscience

    This course is a continuation of NEUR-301. Prerequisite: NEUR-301 and permission of instructor. Three hours of reading per week.

    NEUR/PSYC-330. Behavioral Neuroscience

    This course will build on knowledge of basic neuroanatomy and neuroscience techniques in the exploration of the neural substrates of behavior. Topics may include neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, sensorimotor processes, perception, attention, and learning. A working knowledge of behavioral neuroscience will be developed. Prerequisite: PSYC-100 or NEUR-100. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    NEUR/PSYC-332. Cognitive Neuroscience

    This course will build on knowledge of basic neuroanatomy, behavioral measures, and neuroscience techniques in the exploration of cognitive and neural processes supporting higher-level cognitive functions. Topics may include attention, object recognition, motor control, memory, language, cognitive control, and consciousness. A working knowledge of cognitive neuroscience will be developed. Prerequisite: PSYC-100 or NEUR-100. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    NEUR-350. Special Topics in Neuroscience

    A special course offering intended to familiarize the student with the current trends and special topics in neuroscience. Emphasis will be given to the preparation and oral presentation of papers on selected topics as well as related laboratory experience (when applicable). Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    NEUR-381. Internship

    An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an on-site supervisor. Contact Neuroscience Coordinator for further information. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: 9 credit hours in neuroscience and approval of a faculty internship adviser. Three semester hours. (I.)

    NEUR-382. Internship 

    An off-campus academic/work experience under the supervision of an internship adviser and an on-site supervisor. Contact Neuroscience Coordinator for further information. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 160 hours of work. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: 9 credit hours in neuroscience and approval of a faculty internship adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)

    NEUR-391. Directed Research

    An introduction to the nature of neuroscience research. A laboratory experience under the direction of a neuroscience faculty member and designed to introduce students to fundamental research procedures and data manipulation in the context of an original research project. Prerequisites: Permission of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as adviser. Three hours of laboratory per week. Graded S/U. One semester hour.

    NEUR-392. Directed Research

    Content as in NEUR-391, but offered in the spring term. Prerequisites: Permission of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as adviser. Three hours of laboratory per week. Graded S/U. One semester hour.

    NEUR/PSYC-430. Advanced Research Methods in Behavioral Neuroscience

    This course will apply students’ knowledge of behavioral neuroscience through the development and execution of an empirically based research project or assessment that meets ethical standards. Topics may include sensorimotor processes, perception, attention, and learning. Emphasis will be placed on effective communication, teamwork, and management skills. Prerequisites: PSYC-200WQ or NEUR-200WQ; and PSYC/NEUR-330. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.  (S.)

    NEUR/BIO-431W. Cellular Neurobiology

    An advanced examination of current research in the field of cellular neuroscience. Highlighted topics include the cell biology of neurogenesis, neuron morphology, electrical and chemical communication, intracellular signaling, and the importance of neuron-glia interactions. Class discussions will be grounded in primary literature, and the laboratory component will feature a semester-long original research project. This is a writing intensive course in which students will draft and revise a mock research proposal on a topic of their choice. Prerequisite: BIO-201W or permission of the instructor. Three hours of discussion; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours.

    NEUR/PSYC-432. Advanced Research Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience

    This course will apply students’ knowledge of cognitive neuroscience through the development and execution of an empirically based research project or assessment that meets ethical standards. Topics may include neuropsychological assessment, attention, object recognition, motor control, memory, language, cognitive control, and consciousness. Emphasis will be placed on effective communication, teamwork, and management skills. Prerequisites: PSYC-200WQ or NEUR-200WQ; and PSYC/NEUR-332. Three hours per week.Four semester hours. (S.)

    NEUR/BCMB/BIO-433W. Molecular Neurobiology

    This course focuses on the cellular and molecular basis of neuronal communication. The lecture explores the structure of neurons, neurotransmitter regulation, synaptic plasticity, neurological disorders and their current pharmacological therapies. During the semester students will examine scientific literature through presentations and increase their understanding of molecular neurobiology mechanisms through laboratory cell culture techniques. Prerequisites: BIO-201W; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours.

    NEUR/BIO-435W. Developmental Neurobiology

    An investigation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying nervous system development. This course will discuss nervous system organization, neural cell fate, axon and synapse formation, neurological conditions, and research techniques in the context of a variety of animal models. Laboratory work will emphasize cooperative problem-solving and hypothesis-driven experimental design to analyze nervous system development and behavior. Prerequisites: BIO-201W; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of discussion; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. 

    NEUR/PSYC-464. Seminar: Psychopharmacology

    This course will build on basic understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system, neurotransmitters, and psychological disorders to explore how drugs affect the brain and behavior. This course will examine psychopharmacology in depth, which will require critical examination and application of scientific research. Topics may include chemical signaling, neurotransmitter systems, recreational and illegal drugs, pharmacotherapy, and substance abuse and addiction. Emphasis will be placed on effective communication skills. Prerequisites: Junior standing; and PSYC-100 or NEUR-100; PSYC-200WQ or NEUR-200WQ recommended. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    NEUR/PSYC-466. Seminar: Neurodiversity and the Autism Spectrum

    Neurodiversity is a civil rights movement asserting that atypical brain development is part of normal human variation. This course will examine neurodiversity in the context of the autism spectrum in depth, which will require critical examination and application of scientific research. Topics may include speech and language, face processing, theory of mind, intelligence, and mirror neurons. Emphasis will be placed on effective communication skills. Students are encouraged to be open-minded about differences among people, as this course will challenge commonly-held assumptions about persons on the autism spectrum. Prerequisites: Junior standing; and PSYC-100 or NEUR-100; PSYC-200WQ or NEUR-200WQ recommended. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    NEUR-481W. Independent Research in Neuroscience

    Investigations of an experimental, clinical, or theoretical nature pursued independently by the student. The preparation of a written and oral scientific report is required. To register for the course, a student must have the consent of a participating neuroscience faculty member to serve as research adviser. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: NEUR-200WQ and permission of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as research adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)

    NEUR-482W. Independent Research in Neuroscience

    Content as in NEUR-481W, but offered in the spring term. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: NEUR-200WQ and permission of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as research adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)

    NEUR-485. Off-campus Research

    An approved, off-campus clinical or laboratory research experience supervised by a neuroscience faculty adviser and an on-site supervisor. Approved projects result in the preparation of a final written thesis and an oral presentation of its results before a faculty/student colloquium. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing and permission of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as research adviser. Eleven to fourteen hours per week. Graded S/U. Four semester hours. (I.)

    Note: Students having received credit for NEUR-381 may not receive credit for NEUR-485.

    NEUR-486. Off-campus Research

    Content as in NEUR-485. This course continues the original work begun in NEUR-485. Prerequisites: NEUR-485, junior or senior standing and permission of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as research adviser. Graded S/U. Four semester hours.

    Note : Students having received credit for NEUR-381 may not receive credit for NEUR-486

    NEUR-491W. Independent/Honors Research in Neuroscience

    This course is open to candidates for Neuroscience Honors and to other students with instructor permission.. The content is the same as in NEUR-481. The preparation of a written and oral scientific report is required. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing, and permission of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as research adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)

    NEUR-492W. Independent/Honors Research in Neuroscience

    A continuation of NEUR-491. Prerequisite: NEUR-491 and permission of a member of the neuroscience faculty to serve as research adviser. Four semester hours. (I.)