Biology 477

BIOL 477

Catalog Entry

BIOL 477
Three hours lecture; three hours laboratory(4).

Prerequisites:  A grade of "C" or better in BIOL 131, BIOL 132, BIOL 231, and BIOL 232

An introduction to basic and fundamental concepts in the field of neuroscience.  This course will provide an introduction and overview of several core neuroscience areas including cell and molecular biology of neurons, synaptic transmission, cognition, perception, movement, arousal, emotion, behavior, thought, learning and memory.  The laboratory component will emphasize the importance of discovery and students will participate in animal research.

Detailed Description of Course
Lecture topics may include, but are not limited to:
I.    The Neurobiology of Behavior
1.    The Brain and Behavior
2.    Nerve Cells and Behavior
3.    Genes and Behavior

II.    Cell and Molecular Biology of the Neuron
4.    The Cytology of Neurons
5.    Synthesis and Trafficking of Neuronal Protein
6.    Ion Channels
7.    Membrane Potential
8.    Local Signaling: Passive Electrical Properties of the Neuron
9.    Propagated Signaling: The Action Potential

III.    Elementary Interactions Between Neurons: Synaptic Transmission
10.    Overview of Synaptic Transmission
11.    Signaling at the Nerve-Muscle Synapse: Directly Gated Transmission
12.    Synaptic Integration
13.    Modulation of Synaptic Transmission: Second Messengers
14.    Transmitter Release
15.    Neurotransmitters
16.    Diseases of Chemical Transmission at the Nerve-Muscle Synapse: For example, Myasthenia Gravis

IV.    The Neural Basis of Cognition
17.    The Anatomical Organization of the Central Nervous System
18.    The Functional Organization of Perception and Movement
19.    Integration of Sensory and Motor Function: The Association Areas of the Cerebral Cortex and the Cognitive Capabilities of the Brain
20.    From Nerve Cells to Cognition: The Internal Cellular Representation Required for Perception and Action

V.    Perception
21.    Coding of Sensory Information
22.    The Bodily Senses
23.    Touch
24.    The Perception of Pain
25.    Constructing the Visual Image
26.    Visual Processing by the Retina
27.    Central Visual Pathways
28.    Perception of Motion, Depth, and Form
29.    Color Vision
30.    Hearing
31.    Sensory Transduction in the Ear
32.    Smell and Taste: The Chemical Senses

VI.    Movement
33.    The Organization of Movement
34.    The Motor Unit and Muscle Action
35.    Diseases of the Motor Unit
36.    Spinal Reflexes
37.    Locomotion
38.    Voluntary Movement
39.    The Control of Gaze
40.    The Vestibular System
41.    Posture
42.    The Cerebellum
43.    The Basal Ganglia

VII.    Arousal, Emotion, and Behavior Homeostasis
44.    Brain Stem, Reflexive Behavior, and the Cranial Nerves
45.    Brain Stem Modulation of Sensation, Movement, and Consciousness
46.    Seizures and Epilepsy
47.    Sleep and Dreaming
48.    Disorders of Sleep and Wakefulness
49.    The Autonomic Nervous System and the Hypothalamus
50.    Emotional States and Feelings
51.    Motivational and Addictive States

VIII.    The Development of the Nervous System
52.    The Induction and Patterning of the Nervous System
53.    The Generation and Survival of Nerve Cells
54.    The Guidance of Axons to Their Targets
55.    The Formation and Regeneration of Synapses
56.    Sensory Experience and the Fine-Tuning of Synaptic Connections
57.    Sexual Differentiation of the Nervous System
58.    Aging of the Brain and Dementia of the Alzheimer Type

IX.    Language, Thought, Mood, Learning, and Memory
59.    Language and the Aphasias
60.    Disorders of Thought and Volition: Schizophrenia
61.    Disorders of Mood: Depression, Mania, and Anxiety Disorders
62.    Learning and Memory
63.    Cellular Mechanisms of Learning and the Biological Basis of Individuality

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
In addition to the course content described above, the significance of research and primary literature will be emphasized.  In small groups, students may be expected to present primary literature articles as if they had conducted the studies themselves.  Additionally, students may present review articles thereby summarizing all that is currently known about some specific neuroscience topic.  The purpose of these presentations is firstly to be used as a teaching mechanism and secondly improve students’ verbal and written communication skills.  When available, guest speakers may present specific topics to students.  To motivate students, it is anticipated some guest speakers will be former RU undergraduates that have gone on to pursue Ph.D.s in neuroscience and other closely related physiology fields.  
In the laboratory, students will learn science by doing science.  Students will be introduced to laboratory animals including their proper handling and husbandry.  Students may be trained in some basic neuroscience techniques including but not limited to anesthetics, stereotaxy, microinjection, radio-frequency stimulation and ablation and neurohistology.  Additionally, students will be trained in grantsmanship and scientific writing.  Students, in large groups, will propose, design, conduct and interpret a research study.  Each will write a formal manuscript based on the study’s outcome as if it were going to be submitted for publication.  
The overarching goal of this course is to educate and excite students about neuroscience.  Building a strong curriculum vita and its importance for graduate and professional school admission will be discussed.  

Goals and Objectives of the Course
Having successfully completed this course, the student will be able to:
    Describe the neuron
    Describe the functional brain
     Comprehend basic neuroscience primary literature articles
    Design and conduct basic neuroscience experiments

Assessment Measures
Student comprehension may be assessed through quizzes and exams.  Exams may be designed so that the students must demonstrate synthesis.  Students may also be assessed on their presentations and class discussion participation.  Laboratory performance may be assessed subjectively based on demonstration of techniques, participation and manuscript quality.        

Other Course Information

Review and Approval

March, 2010