Exploring the Brain through TBI
It is difficult to fully understand how the brain functions under completely normal working conditions. One technique used to investigate brain functioning through clinical cases where there has been trauma in a specified region of the brain. Thus, in people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) neuroscientists can locate the region of trauma and any change in functioning of the individual. This course is designed to explore the brain through various historical cases and provide a deeper understanding of neuro-functioning from resulting deficits in dissociated brain regions. Clinical cases will be provided as we travel from the frontal lobe to the temporal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe and beyond.
Hormones and Behavior
This course will introduce students to several topics within the field of neuroendocrinology. Topics to be discussed will include the blood brain barrier, synthesis and release of neurotransmitters relevant to behavior, psychosomatic interactions, and the effects of various monoamine, peptide, and steroid hormones on sexual, reproductive, affiliative, aggressive, parental, and reward-seeking behaviors. In addition to readings from the text, students will read and discuss primary literature sources from work with both human and non-human models. Laboratory work will teach students several research skills and laboratory techniques including study design, behavioral observation and scoring, blood sampling, processing and storage, and data set management.
This course will explore how translational research applies neuroscience knowledge to inform, prevent, treat, and cure brain diseases. Some topics will include the role of the blood brain barrier in preventing disease, the role of both central and peripheral cytokines in the manifestation of psychiatric disorders, how genetic and environmental factors influence susceptibility to psychiatric conditions, and several psychiatric conditions including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s Diseases, anxious and depressive disorders, and multiple sclerosis.
We will study the topography, functional distribution of nerve cell bodies, and ascending and descending tracts in the spinal cord. Brainstem organization and functional components will be covered, to include cranial nerve nuclei, ascending/descending pathways, structure and information flow in the cerebellar and vestibular systems. Once we have identified all of the functional units of the nervous system, we will continue with how these various pieces and parts work together: motor and sensory systems, cortical versus cerebellar systems, and their functional integration.
Techniques in Neuroscience
This course will introduce students to techniques relevant to the field of neuroscience, both in terms of the theory that describes the techniques and in terms of practicing the techniques with biological samples. Students will read and discuss primary literature sources from work with both human and non-human models. Extensive laboratory work will teach students laboratory techniques that may include sterile technique, radioimmunoassay, and enzyme immunoassay.
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