Neuroscience Course Descriptions

Core Curriculum – Genes
Fall (1st half)
2 credit hours
Instruction includes molecular genetics of model organisms; DNA replication, repair and recombination; transcription; RNA catalysis, processing and interference; translation; protein turnover; developmental biology; and genomics.

Core Curriculum – Proteins
Fall (1st half)
2 credit hours
Instruction includes the energetic basis of protein structure; stability; ligand binding and regulation; enzyme mechanics and kinetics; methods of purification; and analysis by spectroscopic methods.

Core Curriculum – Neuroscience
Fall (2nd half)
2 credit hours
Instruction focuses on neuronal membrane structure and transport, cellular electricity, synaptic transmission, diseases involving ion channels, and organization of the nervous system.

Fundamentals of Neuroscience
Spring (full semester)
3 credit hours
The goal of this course is to provide broader fundamental knowledge that builds on the basic concepts introduced in the Neuroscience Thread of the Core Course. This course will provide an introduction and overview of several core neuroscience areas, including membrane physiology, ion channels, cellular neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, sensory and motor systems, brain regulation of behavior and body physiology, and neural development. Principles of Neural Science, Edited by Kandel, Schwarz, and Jessell is the primary reading material.

Professionalism, Responsible Conduct of Research, and Ethics I
Fall (full semester)
1 credit hour
Topics covered through lectures and small group discussions: goals of education in RCR; professionalism; collaboration; teambuilding and professional behaviors; everyday practice of ethical science; mentorship; data management and reproducibility; animal research; genetics and human research.

Professionalism, Responsible Conduct of Research, and Ethics II
Spring (full semester)
1 credit hour
Topics covered through lectures and small group discussions: codes of ethics and misconduct; building inter-professional teams; conflict of interest; sexual boundaries and professional behavior; applications of genetic testing; technology transfer and intellectual property; plagiarism, authorship, and citation; peer review; image and data manipulation.

Recommended

Core Curriculum – Cells
Fall (2nd half)
2 credit hours
Instruction includes cell structure; membrane biology; intracellular membrane and protein trafficking; energy conversion; signal transduction and second messengers; cytoskeleton; cell cycle; and introductory material in microbiology, immunology, and neurobiology.

Electives

See degree plan (page 2) for specific elective requirements.

Neurobiology of Mental Illness
Spring (1st half on even years)
1.5 credit hours
The goal of this course is to provide an understanding of the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders to second and third year neuroscience graduate students. This course will highlight recent developments in depression, schizophrenia, and other related psychiatric illnesses, and emphasize the importance of translational research to better understanding these diseases.

Neural Control of Homeostasis
Spring (2nd half on even years)
1.5 credit hours
The hypothalamus is one of the most essential and evolutionarily conserved regions of the mammalian brain. It lies at the base of the brain and is remarkably small, being approximately 4-5 grams of the total ~1400 grams of the adult human brain weight. Absence of the hypothalamus is not compatible with life. In this course, we will explore the long array of diverse homeostatic processes that the hypothalamus governs. We will focus on hypothalamic-mediated control of body weight, glucose, and temperature homeostasis, as well as sleep/awake cycle and reproductive functions. Experts on the various topics will present lectures, followed by student presentations of relevant literature.

Heritable Neurological Diseases of Mice and Men
Spring (1st half on odd years)
1.5 credit hours
Many diseases of the mammalian nervous system are the result of mutations in single or multiple genes. In this course, we will explore the major inherited neurological disorders involving sensory, motor, and higher integrative systems. Our primary focus will be diseases of humans, but we will also consider insights gained in mouse, fly and worm model systems. This course will have a molecular orientation, with the goal of correlating the neurological phenotypes with the functions of the affected proteins. Experts on the various topics will present lectures, followed by student presentations of relevant literature.

Neurobiology of Drug Addiction
Spring (1st half on odd years)
1.5 credit hours
This is a weekly course on current research topics on the neurobiology of drug addiction. The course is conducted during the first half of spring semester, and each session is 3 hours long. The first hour will be a didactic lecture by Psychiatry and Neuroscience faculty. The second and third hours involve a student presentation and discussion of related original and current research papers. The course covers the pharmacological actions of drugs of abuse, neural substrates of drug reward and craving, molecular mechanisms of drug-induced neuroplasticity, genetics, and their involvement in tolerance, sensitization, dependence, and addictive behavior.