722: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
723: Systems and Translational Neuroscience
(Cross listed as PHYI and PHCO 722-723)
Course Director: Garret Stuber, PhD
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 - Neurotransmitter Receptors (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 - Synaptic Transmission and Intracellular Signaling (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
The class teaches the principles for giving effective talks. The course also covers how to introduce speakers, prepare slides, and speak with the public about science. Spencer Smith currently directs the course, with additional faculty participating in each class. The class is limited to Neurobiology Curriculum students. The fall semester is focused on speaking. 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. The videotaped reviews and peer critiquing help tremendously to teach NBIO 850 - Communicating Scientific Results (a.k.a. PClass) effective speaking and writing methods, and this prepares students for the next stage in their scientific careers.
Outline of course
The first few weeks will be lecture-based, but then we will immediately start presenting talks. The class is divided into two groups of 4 people with whom you will rehearse. Those that will go first need to immediately begin preparing their talks and scheduling practices.
Step 1. Prepare your 10-minute talk on your own time. Start with an outline, and then flesh it out. Use the advice you get the first few weeks.
Step 2. Meet with your small group and give your talk. Feedback is exchanged. This must happen at least 2 days before Step 4 (in class presentation).
Step 3. Refine your talk based on small group feedback. Expect this refinement to be EXTENSIVE! It will take a lot of out of class time.
Step 4. Present your talk in class and receive feedback from the full class. This is a full “dress rehearsal”, no time-outs. Take notes on the feedback.
Step 5. Meet with your small group and view your video. Feedback is exchanged. Viewing these videos is often painful, but very illuminating.
Step 6. Refine your talk based on both in-class and small group feedback. Again, this should be extensive and thoughtful. Really re-tool the talk. Don’t simply put band-aids over the rough spots.
Step 7. Present your talk in the RIPS series. This is showtime. This should be the best talk you’ve ever given in your life.
All of these steps will be carried out in about 1 or 2 months. If the cycle were any longer, then the actual content of the talk would likely have to be revamped as you progress in your research.
BBSP 710 Statististics for Lab Scientists
Course Director: Eric Bair, PhD
BBSP 710 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.