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Neuroscience 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-150. Your Brain on College

    Have you ever wondered what happens to your brain when you drink alcohol, feel upset about something that happens during class, or pull an all-nighter to study for an exam? This course explores the ways in which many aspects of college life affect the human brain. We will address drug and alcohol use and how sleep, study habits, emotions, and more influence learning and memory. We will investigate these topics by conducting laboratory experiments, some of which will make use of animal models. Students will collect data, analyze data using statistics, and present and interpret their data. Students will draw conclusions about how aspects of college life affect the brain from background information and their own data and results. This neuroscience-based course will be linked to the psychology-based version of the same-titled course (PSYC-150) in a learning community. In addition, content from the psychology-based course will be referenced in this course. Four hours of in-class meetings; a minimum of one hour of laboratory per week.Four semester hours. (Q, S.)

    Note: Students must also enroll in PSYC-150.

    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/BIO-333. Stem Cell Biology

    This course will address current knowledge and outstanding questions in the field of stem cell biology. We will use primary literature to examine the cellular and molecular characteristics of stem cells, and we will explore modern techniques used to study and manipulate stem cells in the laboratory. We will also discuss issues pertaining to the regulation of stem cell research in the United States and abroad. We will use current web-based readings from the popular press to explore the hope and hype generated by the private stem cell industry in the quest to cure disease. Students will demonstrate understanding through oral presentation, discussion facilitation, periodic quizzes, and writing projects. This course fulfills the Molecular/Cellular distribution requirement for Biology majors. Prerequisite: BIO-102Q. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (O.)

    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. (XLP.)

    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. (XLP.)

    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-430W. 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-200Q or NEUR-200Q; 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-432W. 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-200Q or NEUR-200Q; 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

    This course investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern nervous system development from conception through about age 25. Class discussions will cover nervous system organization, neural cell fate, axon and synapse formation, and neurological conditions in context of current research in the field of developmental neurobiology. Class discussions will also consider how the timing of nervous system development over the first 3 decades of life plays a role in the neurobiology of drug addiction from scientific, public policy, and personal perspectives. Laboratory work will be performed in small groups to analyze nervous system development via a hypothesis-driven experimental design. This course fulfills the Molecular/Cellular distribution and Capstone requirements for Biology majors and the Advanced Course Biology requirement for Neuroscience majors. Prerequisites: BIO-201W; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of discussion; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (O, S.)

    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-200Q or NEUR-200Q recommended. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    NEUR/PSYC-465. Seminar: Biological Bases of Learning and Memory

    The brain allows organisms to have an incredible capacity to acquire information about the world and to encode, store, and later retrieve that knowledge, but what is the biological basis of learning and memory? How does the brain come to learn whether a stimulus is annoying, rewarding or neutral, and how does remembering how to ride a bicycle differ from remembering scenes from a movie? In this course, students will explore the concept that learning and memory have a physical basis that can be observed as biochemical, physiological and/or morphological changes to neural tissue. We will critically read and discuss primary research articles to become familiar with several different types of learning and memory and the experiments that have enabled them to be distinguished. Different cellular and synaptic mechanisms are thought to underlie distinct types of learning and memory. Newly learned information is encoded through changes in the strength of existing neuronal connections or by formation of new connections and/ or elimination of others. We will discuss the molecular and cellular mechanisms that mediate these changes by exploring concepts such as synapse formation, synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, neuromodulation and experience-dependent circuit remodeling, among others. With this knowledge, we will discuss how researchers use cutting edge technologies to introduce false memory in animals or enhance learning and memory. Our goal will be to understand the strategies and techniques researchers use to search for the memory trace. Prerequisites: PSYC-100 and Junior standing. 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. (XLP.)

    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. (XLP.)

    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. (XLP.)

    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. (XLP.)

    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. (XLP.)

    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. (XLP.)