Pre-candidate Courses

Following is detailed information about the curriculum for first- and second-year students, effective Fall 2014.

First Year Curriculum

Summer Before First Term

Neuroscience "Bootcamp" - Introduction to Molecular NeuroBiology and NeuroPhysiology

-An intense intorduction to Molecular Neurobiology and Neurophysiology focusing on cellular and molecular neuroscience that meets for three weeks, just before the beginning of the Fall term. This "bootcamp" provides students an introduction to graduate school and fosters social interactions between the incoming cohort of students. Topics focus on the development, knowledge and technical advances in molecular neurobiology, a comprehensive understanding of cell and membrane electrophysiology, including synaptic and network neurophysiology and its relationship to behavior. The laboratory experience encompasses experiments and research orientated towards advancing the technical and analytical approaches of molecular neurobiology and cell and membrane electrophysiology.  Students work together in groups getting to know each other and working collaboratively on projects. Some of the topics touched on include analysis of RNA isolation and characterization from tissues, PCR and PCR fragment cloning, plasmid DNA isolation, restriction enzyme characterization, in situ hybridization, protein isolation and Western blot characterization.  Anatomical topics include axonal pathway tracing, immunocytochemical localization of specific neuronal proteins, and time lapse video microscopy. Among the physiological topics are intracellular, extracellular and patch clamp recording, action potential generation and propagation, synaptic physiology and plasticity, single ion channel recording and analysis of ion-selectivity and gating.  In addition, students are provided independent research problems to promote integrative thinking across molecular and cellular neuroscience as well as working in groups. 

Optional Summer Research Rotation

-Rotations are broken up into long and short rotations of 7 weeks, students need to complete 3 rotation segments (2 could be put together for a long 14 week rotation) and this can continue until the end of the summer following their first year allowing more focus on coursework. This early rotation would need to be completed before the start of Neuroscience 623.

Fall Term

Neuroscience 611, 612, 613- Fall Term Principles of Neuroscience Courses: Neuroscience 611- Neuro Pharm, 612- Neural Development and 613- Circuits and Computational Neuroscience

-Represents the first half of a year-long, graduate-level survey of neuroscience. The goals for these courses are: to provide students with a broad range of basic Neuroscience background knowledge, to provide students with a sense of how knowledge was obtained, by reading and discussing “classic papers” and to provide students with a sense of where the current frontier is, by reading and discussing very recent papers. Each week this class meets for 3-5 hours, with a mix of lectures and discussion. The major topics covered  are broken into 3 modules (Neuroscience 611- Neuropharmacology , 612- Neural Development and 613- Circuits & Computational Neuroscience) These courses constitute the first half of a comprehensive introduction of neuroscience.   The 3 course modules make up an entire semester long introduction to Neuroscience topics, each lasting a third of the semester. 611- Neuropharmacology covers binding relationships; pharmodynamics; amino acid, chlorine&  glutamate Transmission; adrenergic and serotenergic transmission; Opiod Systems, Neuropeptides and a number of other topics. 612- Neural Development covers Neurogenesis, Neuronal activity and critical periods; axon growth; degeneration and regeneration; Synaptogenesis; Neurotrophic factors and other topics as time allows.  613- Circuits and Computational Neuroscience covers network activity and computational modeling of neurons and neuronal networks; brain function and network interactions in multiple brain regions; EEG rhythms; motor control and consciousness. 

Neuroscience 570/571- Neuroanatomy and Lab

-Neuroanatomy course and lab provides a systematic survey of the structure of the human nervous system, including major pathways, neurotransmitters, and functions.

PIBS 503- Ethics

-Covers a number of topics related to the responsible conduct of research. Among the topics usually treated are the proper use and care of animals in research, rules for research involving human subjects, accepted standards for recording data and keeping notebooks, distinguishing ethical from unethical practices and a discussion of what type of contribution to a project merits authorship on papers.

Neuroscience 700- Seminar

-Weekly colloquium series with talks being presented by students in their second and fourth years as well as invited speakers and internal faculty. This is a one credit course. Students in their second year presenting can choose to enroll for an additional credit in Neurosci 701 by writing a review paper that is relevant to their 700 topic presentation.

Professional Development

-As scheduled by the Associate Director, all first and second year students are required to attend.

Neuroscience 800-Research Rotation

-Rotations are broken up into long and short rotations of 7 weeks, students need to complete 3 rotation segments (2 could be put together for a long 14 week rotation) and this can continue until the end of the summer following their first year allowing more focus on coursework.

Winter Term

Neuroscience 614, 615, 616- Winter Term Principles of Neuroscience Courses: Neuroscience 614- Sensory Systems, 615- Neurobiology of Rhythms and Sleep and 616- Neuropathology

This course is the second half of a comprehensive introduction to neuroscience.  Each week this course has two lectures and one discussion session.  The discussion session is focused on detailed analysis of key papers.  The 3 course modules make up an entire semester long introduction to Neuroscience topics, each lasting a third of the semester. 614- Sensory Systems covers proprioception; the auditory system; the visual system and other topics as time allows. 615- Neurobiology of Rhythms and Sleep covers sleep states and their regulation; phylogeny and functions; photic entrainment; sleep disorders; sleep and learning and animal models of circadian rhythms. 616- Neuropathology covers tumors; MS and neuroinflammation; trinucleotide repeat disorders; movement and psychiatric disorders, epilepsy, alzheimers and other dementias. 

Neuroscience 700- Seminar

-Weekly colloquium series with talks being presented by students in their second and fourth years as well as invited speakers and internal faculty. This is a one credit course. Students in their second year presenting can choose to enroll for an additional credit in Neurosci 701 by writing a review paper that is relevant to their 700 topic presentation. 

Professional Development

-Twice monthly meetings all year long, topics vary but are geared towards success in graduate school and career planning.

Neuroscience 801-Research Rotation

-Rotations are broken up into long and short rotations of 7 weeks, students need to complete 3 rotation segments (2 could be put together for a long 14 week rotation) and this can continue until the end of the summer following their first year allowing more focus on coursework.

Statistics

-Every student is expected to demonstrate basic proficiency in statistics. This requirement can be satisfied by several different courses, or by previous experience as an undergraduate. 

Elective Course

-4 elective credits (total) are typically taken during the second year. The electives can be achieved by a variety of courses in Biological Chemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Human Genetics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychology and Neuroscience Journal Clubs, can be taken in the first or second year.

 

Second Year Curriculum

Fall Term

*Effective Fall 2015 (Fall 2014 cohort), students will take their preliminary exam at the end of August with the opportunity to advance to candidacy in December at the end of 18 months.

Pre-Term Preliminary exam preparation with oral exams expected to take place at the beginning of September, this allows for the advancement to Candidacy effective the first day of classes in the Winter term.

Neuroscience 801- Research Rotation

Professional Development

-Twice monthly meetings all year long.

Neuroscience 700- Seminar

-second year students meet with a faculty mentor for six weeks of intense discussion of a restricted topic in neuroscience. At the end of this time, each student selects a topic for presentation to the entire Neuroscience Program. The presentation is in the form of a 20-minute lecture. Students receive extensive help from the faculty mentor in preparing their talk, and written and oral feedback from other Program faculty after the talk. This course gives our students outstanding skills for giving scientific presentations. Second year students present in either Fall or Winter term. Students can enroll for an additional credit by meeting the additional requirement of writing a review paper.

Graduate Student Instructor

-All students must serve as a Graduate Student Instructor (Teaching Assistant) for one semester. Students typically fulfill this requirement in the fall term of their second year. The majority of positions are in undergraduate courses in Biology or Psychology, although positions in other departments are available for students with appropriate backgrounds.

Statistics

-Every student is expected to demonstrate basic proficiency in statistics. This requirement can be satisfied by several different courses, or by previous experience as an undergraduate. 

Elective Course

-4 elective credits (total) are typically taken during the second year. The electives can be achieved by a variety of courses in Biological Chemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Human Genetics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychology and Neuroscience Journal Clubs

Pharm502-Introduction to Scientific Communication

-Introduces graduate students to essential scientific communication skills. Beginning with the relatively easy task of learning to search the literature over the Internet and ending with the challenges of writing a NRSA grant application and giving a short seminar, each student will develop confidence in both written and spoken scientific communication. Counts as an elective and is highly recommended. 

Winter Term- Candidacy Achieved 

Neuroscience 995- Candidate Level Research

Elective Course

-4 elective credits (total) are typically taken during the second year. The electives can be achieved by a variety of courses in Biological Chemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Human Genetics, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychology and Neuroscience Journal Clubs. Can be taken as a candidate level student if approved by the NGP Director. 

Statistics

-Every student is expected to demonstrate basic proficiency in statistics. This requirement can be satisfied by several different courses, or by previous experience as an undergraduate.  Can be taken as a candidate level student if approved by the NGP Director.