722: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
723: Systems and Translational Neuroscience
(Cross listed as PHYI and PHCO 722-723)
Course Director: Garret Stuber, PhD
Purpose of the course:
The purpose of this course in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology is to explore the experimental and theoretical basis for our current concepts of nervous system function. The course runs as a series of three Blocks in the fall semester and three Blocks in the spring semester. This is NOT a survey course in neurobiology. The goals of the course are not so much to inform as to foster an understanding of how we accumulate our knowledge and hypotheses; not to provide a complete textbook picture of the functioning nervous system as we know it in 2015, but to provide the intellectual tools and skills to evaluate current and future hypotheses; not so much to provide answers to questions as to attempt to define the unanswered questions.
In order to create a climate for active discussion and exploration of ideas, each Block is limited to 24 students. All students are required to obtain permission from the Course Director to enroll. Because of the BBSP, we do not know how many applicants we will have for the course in Fall. Priority is given to (1) students entering the Neurobiology Curriculum, as they are required to take the entire course, and to (2) students from departments affiliated with the course and who intend to register for all six Blocks of the course. Students should acquaint themselves with the course description and schedule and, if they are willing to take on the responsibilities of the course, email Denise Kenney for permission to enroll; Denise will contact the Course Director. The email should state for how many Blocks the student intends to register and why he or she wants to take the course.
Neurobiology as an experimental and health science:
We strive to enhance the development of our graduate students not only as experimentalists, but also as health professionals who are cognizant of the diseases that affect our society. Thus, an entire block of the required course is devoted to disease mechanisms. In addition a number of our students take additional training in translational science in an HHMI funded “Grad-to-Med” training program.
BLOCK 1 - Neurobiology Bootcamp: Introduction to Techniques Used in Studying the Nervous System/Electrical Signaling (NBIO 722A) Because the students taking the Core course have diverse backgrounds, this block is divided into two sections.
Block 1a: Neurobiology Bootcamp: Introduction to Techniques Used in Studying the Nervous System Because the students taking the Core course have diverse backgrounds, the first block serves as an introduction to neurobiology as well as an overview of many of the techniques students will encounter while reading materials and papers for the rest of the course. Examples of topics covered include statistics and hypothesis testing, molecular biology and genetic engineering, confocal microscopy, and functional anatomy of the rodent brain.
Block 1b: Electrical Signaling This block introduces materials related to electrical excitability of neurons. Topics include ion channels, membrane potentials, generation and propagation of action potentials, dendritic excitability, and computational neuroscience as it relates to electrical signaling of neurons.
BLOCK 2 - Synaptic Transmission and Intracellular Signaling (NBIO 722B) This block focuses on neurotransmitter signaling through distinct receptor subclasses. Topics include G-protein coupled receptors and associated signaling, receptor binding theory, ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate and GABA receptors, receptor trafficking and localization.
BLOCK 3 - Receptors (NBIO 722C) This block focuses on synaptic mechanisms of neurotransmitter release and termination of signaling, as well as intracellular signaling cascades that are regulated by synaptic transmission. Topics include electrophysiological and molecular analysis of neurotransmitter release, short-term plasticity in neurotransmitter release, synaptic plasticity, calcium signaling and regulation of intracellular signaling cascades and gene expression.
BLOCK 4 - Development of the Nervous System (NBIO 723A) This block focuses on molecular mechanisms of neuronal development and their relation to disease. Topics include neurogenesis, neural stem cells, molecular control of axonal guidance and neuronal migration, and cell and synaptic adhesions molecules.
BLOCK 5 - Anatomy and Function of Sensory and Motor Systems (NBIO 723B) This block focuses on the neural circuitry that comprises sensory and motor systems. Topics include organization and function of the retina, and visual cortex, mechanosensation, genetically defined circuits for nociception, organization and function of somatosensory cortex, motor cortex, basal ganglia neural circuitry, and cerebellar organization and function.
BLOCK 6 - Neurobiology of Disease (NBIO 723C) This block focuses on the neurobiological underpinnings of disease. For each topic, the disease and its impact on society is introduced, and then detailed discussions of the molecular, genetic underpinnings and circuit and behavioral consequences of the disorder are presented. Topics include epilepsy, addiction, fear and anxiety circuitry, schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. This block also includes two classes devoted to human neuroimaging methods such at fMRI and DTI.
NBIO 850 Communication of Scientific Results
(Cross-listed: PHYI 705/706)
Course Director: Spencer Smith, PhD
Also known as PClass, this course is focused on the principles for effective scientific communication. The major component is focused on developing and giving scientific talks. The course also covers how to introduce speakers, prepare slides, and speak with the public about science. Finally, a written component is focused on preparation of specific aims for fellowship and grant application. Spencer Smith currently directs the course, with additional faculty participating. The class is limited to Neurobiology Curriculum students. Students prepare talks, refine them in small groups (3-4 students), and then present them in class. The in-class talk is videotaped, and these tapes are reviewed by the students in a session with their peers. After another round of refining with their small group, the students give their polished talks to the department in a formal setting. Writing is critiqued in class, with peers and guest faculty all offering input. Together, these components help the students develop their own effective speaking and writing methods, and prepare students for the next stage in their scientific careers. Fall semester.
BBSP 610 Statistics for Lab Scientists
Course Director: Eric Bair, PhD
BBSP 610 introduces the basic concepts and methods of statistics with emphasis on applications in the experimental biological sciences. Students should have a basic understanding of algebra and arithmetic. No previous background in probability or staitistics is required, nor is experience with statistical computing. The objectives of this course are to provide graduate students in biomedical research programs familiarity with basic experimental design and elementary statistical methods. By the end of the course, students should understand the principles of experimental design, be familiar with basic statistical methods (and how they are implemented in R), and know which methods are appropriate in a given circumstance.