NEUROSCIENCE AND BEHAVIOR
2014—2015

Professors: David Bodznick, Biology; Stephen Devoto, Biology; John Kirn, Biology; Janice Naegele, Biology 

Associate Professors: Gloster B. Aaron, Jr., Biology; Hilary Barth, Psychology; Barbara Juhasz, Psychology; Matthew Kurtz, Psychology, Chair; Andrea L. Patalano, Psychology

Assistant Professors:  Psyche Loui, Psychology; Mike Robinson, Psychology

Departmental Advising Expert 2014-2015: John Kirn

Department/Program Home Page

Department/Program Description.

Neuroscience is a discipline that probes one of the last biological frontiers in understanding ourselves. It asks fundamental questions about how the brain and nervous system work in the expression of behavior. As such, the field takes on a clear interdisciplinary character: All scientific levels of organization (behavioral, developmental, molecular, cellular, and systems) contribute to our understanding of the nervous system. Neuroscience has been a field of particularly active growth and progress for the past two decades, and it is certain to be an area where important and exciting developments will continue to occur. At Wesleyan, the neurosciences are represented by the teaching and research activities of faculty members in the departments of Biology, Psychology, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. The NS&B curriculum is both comprehensive and provides diverse approaches to learning. Through lecture/seminars, lab-based methods courses, and hands-on research experience, students are afforded a rich educational experience. Unique among schools of comparative size, Wesleyan has small but active graduate programs leading to MA and PhD degrees. This attribute, together with the high success rate of faculty in obtaining research grant support, further enhances the education of undergraduates by providing additional mentoring, more research opportunities, and access to state-of-the-art laboratories. The mission of the NS&B Program is to provide the foundation for a variety of career options in science, medicine, and private industry. For more information, see www.wesleyan.edu/nsb/.

General Education.
  • NS&B149 Neuroethology: Sensory Basis of Animal Orientation and Navigation
Admission to the Major.

One or more of the foundation courses in biology (BIOL181, 182) are prerequisites for the advanced NS&B courses offered by the Biology Department. Although not legislated as prerequisites, NS&B213 (Behavioral Neurobiology) and NS&B laboratory courses provide important conceptual and practical background for independent research in the junior and senior years. The ideal course sequence would include BIOL181 and 182 along with chemistry in the first year. In the sophomore year, one would take Behavioral Neurobiology (NS&B213). The other required courses and research tutorials would be spread out over the last two years.  For information on the pathway through the major please visit  http://www.wesleyan.edu/nsb/pathwaysthroughmajor.html for further information.

To be admitted to the major during March of the sophomore year, a student must have completed, with grades of C- or better, at least two of the full-credit courses listed in Foundation and Core courses that follow. At least one of these credits must be either NS&B213 or BIOL181.

Major Requirements.
Foundation courses
  • BIOL181 Principles of Biology I
  • BIOL191 Principles of Biology I Laboratory (0.5 credit)
  • BIOL182 Principles of Biology II
  • BIOL192Principles of Biology II Laboratory (0.5 credit)
  • CHEM141/142 Introductory Chemistry I/II or CHEM143/144 Principles of Chemistry I/II
  • CHEM251/252 Principles of Organic Chemistry I/II
  • PHYS111/112 Introductory Physics I/II or PHYS113/116 General Physics I/II
Core course
  • NS&B213 Behavioral Neurobiology

Advanced courses. Five advanced courses from the following list are required for students; two must be cross-listed with biology (A); two cross-listed with psychology (B); and one, a research tutorial or methodological course (C).

A. Cross-listed with biology
  • NS&B224 Hormones, Brain, and Behavior
  • NS&B239 Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain
  • NS&B245 Cellular Neurophysiology
  • NS&B249 Neuroethology
  • NS&B252 Cell Biology of the Neuron
  • NS&B254 Comparative Animal Behavior
  • NS&B299 Waves, Brains, and Music
  • NS&B303 Receptors, Channels, and Pumps: Advanced Topics in Membrane Protein Structure and Function
  • NS&B325 Stem Cells: Basic Biology to Clinical Application
  • NS&B326 Drugs of Abuse from Neurobiology to Behaviour
  • NS&B328 Chemical Senses
  • NS&B343/543 Muscle and Nerve Development
  • NS&B345 Developmental Neurobiology
  • NS&B347 Mammalian Cortical Circuits
  • NS&B351 Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • NS&B353 Neurobiology of Neurological Disorders
  • NS&B360 Capstone Experience in Neuroscience and Behavior
B. Cross-listed with psychology
  • NS&B217 Neuroscience Perspectives on Psychopathologies
  • NS&B220 Cognitive Psychology
  • NS&B222 Sensation and Perception
  • NS&B225 Cognitive Neuroscience
  • NS&B227 Reward and Motivation
  • NS&B228 Clinical Neuropsychology
  • NS&B239 Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain
  • NS&B308 Psychology of Action
  • NS&B316Schizophrenia and Its Treatment: Neuroscientific, Historical, and Phenomenological Perspectives
  • NS&B329 Neural Costs of War
  • NS&B342 Music Perception and Cognition
  • NS&B348 Origins of Knowledge
  • NS&B353 Neurobiology of Neurological Disorders
C. Research methods and practica
    • BIOL320/520 Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences
    • NS&B210 Research Methods in Cognition
    • NS&B215 Research Methods in Animal Research
    • NS&B243 Neurohistology
    • NS&B247 Laboratory in Neurophysiology
    • NS&B250/555 Laboratory in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
    • NS&B280 Applied Data Analysis
    • NS&B381 Advance Seminar in Memory Theory and Research
    • NS&B382 Advanced Research in Decision Making
    • NS&B390 Experimental Investigations into Reading
    • NS&B392 Behavioral Methods in Affective Neuroscience
    • NS&B393 Advanced Research in Cognition and Neuropsychiatric Illness
    • NS&B398 Advaanced Research in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience
    • NS&B409/410 or 423/424 Advanced Research Seminar for two semesters, both in the lab of the same faculty member
    • PSYC200 Statistics: An Activity-Based Approach

    Note: Methodological courses cannot be credited toward the requirements of categories A or B. 

    Courses of relevance outside the program.Though not requirements of the major, students should be aware that a number of courses in computer science, statistics, organic chemistry, and molecular biology, as well as courses in non-neuroscience areas of biology and psychology, complement the NS&B major and should be considered, in consultation with your advisor, when planning your program of study. A relatively new course, designed for sophomores, may be of special interest, BIOL131 Service-Learning Clinical Experience at CT Valley Hospital, as well as the more advanced course, BIOL223 Integration of Clinical Experience and Life Science Learning.

    Substituting outside courses for credit to the major
    • Foundation courses:A student who has taken foundation courses outside of Wesleyan may be able to apply them to the major. As a general rule, courses acceptable to the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics departments for University credit are acceptable to the NS&B program for substitution for foundation courses.
    • Advanced courses:Advanced courses, inside or outside of the University, might be acceptable as substitutes for the advanced courses of the NS&B major. In general, only one such course can be substituted, and approval must be obtained in advance from the program director.

    Undergraduate research. NS&B majors are encouraged to become involved in the research of the faculty. Research tutorials and senior thesis tutorials are taken with mode of grading and amount of credit to be arranged with the research supervisor. Research tutorials are numbered 401/402 (Individual Tutorial), 411/412 (Group Tutorial), and 409/410 (Senior Thesis Tutorial), 423/424 (Advanced Research Seminar, Undergraduate). These courses can fulfill the Category C requirement or can receive graduation credit. See the pamphlet Research in the Neuroscience Behavior Program available in room 257 Hall-Atwater for descriptions of the ongoing research programs in the laboratories of the NS&B faculty, or visit our web site.

Honors.

To be considered for honors, a student must be an NS&B major and have a B average (grade average 85) in the courses credited to the major. The student must submit a laboratory research thesis that was supervised by a member of the NS&B faculty and be recommended for honors by the NS&B faculty.

Advanced Placement.

AP credit may be used to place out of any of the Foundation courses, subject to the guidelines of the department hosting these courses.

Prizes.

George H. Acheson and Grass Foundation Prize in Neuroscience

Established in 1992 by a gift from the Grass Foundation, this prize is awarded to an outstanding undergraduate in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program who demonstrates excellence in the program and who also shows promise for future contributions in the field of neuroscience.

BA/MA Program.

This program provides an attractive option for science majors to enrich their course and research background. Students are advised to begin research by their junior year if they intend to pursue the BA/MA. Admission is competitive and based on GPA, faculty recommendations, and research experience. For more information, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/grad/degree-programs/ba-ma.html.

Additional Information.

Teaching apprenticeships. Students may be appointed teaching apprentices with the approval of the participating faculty member and the Office of Academic Affairs. The apprenticeship position involves assisting a faculty member in the teaching of a course. Concurrently, the apprentice enrolls in an apprenticeship tutorial (NS&B491/492) that is usually a one-credit course and operates in either the graded or credit/no credit mode.

Petitioning for exemptions. A student may request a variance from the requirements of the major or for honors by submitting a written petition to the chair of the program. The petition should indicate why the requirement cannot be met and the educational justification for the alternative. The petition will be considered by the NS&B faculty, and the student will receive a statement of the decision by letter.

Seminars. The program periodically invites neuroscientists from outside Wesleyan to come here and describe their research. These seminars frequently complement course material and give students the opportunity to interact with noted researchers. The talks are usually scheduled for noon on Thursdays. Students are encouraged to attend.