SCIE 612
Topics in Neuroscience and Behavior

Janice Naegele and Paul Lombroso

Course Description

Neuroscience is a discipline that seeks to understand how the brain and nervous system works to control behavior and emotions. It is a highly interdisciplinary field that draws from psychology, biology, philosophy, molecular biology, and psychiatry. This lecture and discussion course introduces key concepts in understanding the basic organization of the brain, how the brain develops, neuronal communication, neurotransmitters, and signal transduction. We discuss current ideas about how the nervous system controls behaviors ranging from the stress response, how we move, learning and memory, and sexual behavior. Each topic includes examples of how the nervous system can go awry in diseases and neurological disorders including: developmental disorders, anxiety disorders, learning disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy. Recent treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, including stem cell-based therapies will also be discussed. Hands-on interactive work with brain models and computer simulations of neuronal activity will supplement the readings and lectures.

Texts
*Readings packet from various sources
*Selected chapters from Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain by M. Bear, M.Connors, and M. Paradiso. This text will be available on reserve at the Science Library -- students do not need to purchase this text as the readings packet will be the main text for the course.
Instructor Information
Janice Naegele, Ph.D.
254 Hall-Atwater
(860) 685-3232
jnaegele@wesleyan.edu

Paul Lombroso, M.D.
(203) 737-2224
paul.lombroso@yale.edu

Grading
Take home exam: 10%
Essays (5; 15 pts each): 75%
Class participation: 15%
Course Schedule
DATE TOPIC READINGS LECTURER ASSIGNMENT
June 24 Neurons and glial cells, brain development, functional neuroanatomy TBA Naegele Work with brain models on reserve
in science library
June 26 Information processing in the brain: neurons as integrators and signaling units TBA Naegele Virtual experiments with neural simulations
July 1 Basics of molecular biology for neuroscience TBA Lombroso Response essay #1
July 3 No class TBA   Take home quiz
July 8 Neurotransmitters and effects of drugs on the brain TBA Naegele Response essay #2
July 10 Developmental disorders TBA Lombroso  
July 15 Learning and memory I TBA Lombroso Response essay #3
July 17 Learning and memory II TBA Lombroso  
July 22 Psychiatric disorders TBA Scahill (guest lecturer) Response essay #4
July 24 Epigenetics and effects of maternal behavior on offspring TBA Lombroso  
July 29 Sex and gender differences in the brain TBA Naegele Respons essay #5
August 1 Gene Therapy and stem cell therapy for neurological disorders TBA Naegele Movies
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