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Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience (202-0-20)


David McLean
2135 Cook Hall

Meeting Info

Technological Institute M345: Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00AM - 10:50AM

Overview of class

NEUROSCI 202-0 introduces students to the cellular and molecular processes that allow the nervous system to produce behavior, with a focus on how electrochemical signals are generated, communicated and integrated to transform different sensations into appropriate actions. We all want to know how the mind works in health and what happens when things go wrong in disease. However, first we need to start with the fundamentals, which this course will provide. Learning about neuroscience is like learning a new language, which will require the introduction of new words and the memorization of terminology. Students will be expected to increase their vocabulary so that they can begin to appreciate and discuss neuroscience concepts and research in an informed manner. This is not a survey course, rather it is designed to provide a solid foundation for subsequent coursework that delves more deeply into various topics in neuroscience.
Prerequisites: Must be a neuroscience major, and BIOL_SC 201-0 and either; CHEM 132-0 or co-enrollment in CHEM 152-0 or CHEM 172-0.

Course content is divided into three sections. The first third focuses on the ionic and molecular basis of generating electric signals in neurons. The second third focuses on electrical and chemical communication between neurons, how these connections are adjusted, and how they develop. The final third focuses on simple circuits that illustrate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that allow us to taste, smell, see, hear, feel and move.

NEUROSCI 202-0 will be offered again Fall 2022 and Winter 2023.

Registration Requirements

Prerequisites: Must be a neuroscience major, and BIOL_SC 201-0 and either; CHEM 132-0 or co-enrollment in CHEM 152-0 or CHEM 172-0.

Learning Objectives

Students will acquire a deep understanding of:
1) Fundamental neurobiological principles arising from studies of the nervous system at the cellular and molecular level.
2) History and recent developments in neuroscience research.
3) Methods used to study the nervous system, including specific experimental techniques relevant to cellular and molecular neuroscience, the design, analysis and interpretation of experiments using specific techniques, and the strengths and limitations of those techniques.
4) Ethical issues raised by the growing body of information generated by neuroscience research, including the use of animals.

Teaching Method

The primary method of instruction will be lecture. Lectures will assume a working knowledge of the general concepts covered in the assigned chapters, and then expand upon them, principally by focusing on the techniques and recent advances in the field. Class time will also be used to solve problems and to answer questions. The idea is that the lectures will not only provide new information, but also allow students to discover and remedy misconceptions prior to the exams.

Evaluation Method

The overall grade in this course will be based on percentage of the points earned across all assignments, which include quizzes, exams, and online discussion posts. The two lowest quiz grades will be dropped. Research papers will be critiqued in online discussion parts. There will be three exams. Each exam covers material from lecture and from the assigned readings. The exams are cumulative but each will strongly emphasize the most recent material.


Class Materials (Required)

Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain (4th Ed.), ISBN: 9780781778176, List Price: $129.99.

Class Materials (Suggested)

none needed

Class Notes

Class Notes
WCAS Distro Area I - Natural Sciences
Lectures will be taught in person and will be recorded.

Class Attributes

Natural Sciences Distro Area
Department Majors Only

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements: Prerequisites: Must be a neuroscience major and have completed BIOL_SCI 201-0 and either CHEM 132-0 or co-enrollment in CHEM 152-0 or CHEM 172-0.