Principles of Neuroscience

Course Description:   Principles of Neuroscience (Nesc 201) is a team- taught introductory course in neuroscience that examines the neuron and its biological interactions in animal nervous systems. Topics include structure and function of neurons and neuroglia, development and functional organization of animal nervous systems, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neuroendocrinology, and neuropsychopharmacology.

Prerequisites:     Biology 182L and 183L.  1 credit (1 1/4 credits with the optional lab).

Staff: Profs. Daniel Blackburn, Susan Masino, William Church, and Sarah Raskin

Grading: Final letter grades are based on four lecture exams and a final exam.

Recent Lecture schedule:

A. Structural Organization, Diversity & Evolution

1. Introduction to Neurobiology and Neurons
2.  Neural Structure & Function; Investigative Techniques
3.  Glia, Nerves, and Nervous System Organization
4.  Organization of the Peripheral Nervous System and Spinal Cord
5.  Development and Functional Organization of the Brain
6.  Brain Morphology and Evolution

B. Neural Function: Wiring and Firing of Neurons

7.  Electrochemical Gradients, Selective Permeability and Equilibrium Potential
8.  Action Potentials, Synaptic Integration & Receptive Fields
9. Synaptic Plasticity, Stress and Drug Addiction
10. Physiology (Visual System) and Pathology (Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s)
11. Brain Rhythms and Sleep

C.  Chemical Communication of the Nervous System

12.  Cellular Communication: Neurotransmitters and Synapses
13.  Communication Mechanisms – Synthesis, Storage, Release, and Receptors
14.  Communication Mechanisms – Inactivation of Neuronal Signals and Post-synaptic Events
15. Neurotransmitter systems: Anatomy and Interactions
16. Glial cells – Newly recognized players in CNS function; Putting it all together with Vision

D.  Diseases of the Brain

17.  Structural Lesion:  Visual System Disorders
18.  Pathways and Feedback: Stress and Addiction (Diffuse Modulatory Systems)
19.  Pathways and Feedback: Stress and Addiction (Diffuse Modulatory Systems)
20.  Neurochemical changes: Alzheimer’s Disease
21.  Neurochemical/Immunology interactions: Alzheimer’s Disease