Neuroscience Program Courses

The courses listed below inlcude required courses of the core curriculum, research and milestone courses, as well as program specific advanced topics, seminars, journal clubs and tutorials for specialization in Neuroscience.

  • Professionalism and Research Conduct (PARC) | BBS 601

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, MD/PhD, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    This is a required course for all third year Basic Sciences students and all MD/PhD students entering doctoral study but who are not on the CPHR track. The PARC course helps to center our students in areas that are foundational to success in research: responsible data management; management of intellectual property; the ethical use of research subjects; recognizing and resolving conflicts of interest, professionalism in peer review and publishing; engaging mentors; and career exploration and planning. The PARC course comprises faculty-led presentations and small group discussions with case studies and workshop material. An online learning module (CITI training program comprising many case studies) is also included and must be completed before the end of the fall semester. Students required to take the fall PARC course will be block-registered. 

    Coordinator: Anthony Carruthers

    Semester Offered: Fall 

    Last Taught: Fall 2016

  • Communicating Science | BBS 602

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    This course seeks to help prospective scientists in the biological and medical sciences communicate their work effectively, in writing, graphics, and oral presentations. The course teaches how to prepare a research paper using words, statistics, and figures; how to present science to a lay audience; how to write a grant proposal; and how to present orally to scientific peers.

    Coordinator: Philip Zamore

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Taught every fall

  • Foundations in Biomedical Science | BBS 614

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Pathway to Graduate Study, Translational Science

    This problem-based course provides learning opportunities through exploration of multidisciplinary areas of contemporary biomedical research, and creates a forum for practice in the skills required for research.

    Coordinator: Mary Ellen Lane

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2016

  • Introduction to Neuroscience | BBS 760

    Programs: Neuroscience

    This course gives an overview of the fundamental principles of molecular, cellular, developmental and integrated neuroscience, including state-of-the-art experimental approaches. Required for all students in the Neuroscience Program. Optional advanced topics course for students in other programs.

    Course Coordinator: David Weaver

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2016

  • Bases of Brain Disease | BBS 782

    Programs: Neuroscience

    This advanced topics course will be an in-depth study of specific areas of the neurochemical, anatomical, cell biological and genetic basis of nervous system disease. It will teach students skills in critically reading, literature and presentation of research material. The course topics are divided into sections covering disorders of neuronal migration and development; neurodegenerative diseases; and behavioral disorders. These topics cover the cell and molecular biological processes of brain function in health and disease. 

    Course Coordinator: Zuoshang Xu and Claudio Punzo

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2016

  • Genetic Basis of Behavior | BBS 783

    Programs: Neuroscience

    The genetics of behavior represents a focal point in contemporary neuroscience research. Genetic screens have been conducted to identify mutants affecting behavior in model systems, and this has converged with advances in understanding the neurobiological basis of behavior. This course will synthesize the state of the art regarding the genetic basis of behavior in model organisms (worms, flies and mice), including discussion of learning and memory, circadian rhythms, and social behaviors. Lectures will include descriptions of systems for identifying mutations, genes that have been identified, and how identification of these genes contributes to understanding the underlying neural mechanisms of behavior. The course format will include faculty lectures, student presentations and discussion of assigned readings. 

    Course Coordinator: Yang Xiang

    Semester Offered: Fall, even years

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within last two years

  • Molecular and Cellular Basis of Neural Development | BBS 784

    Programs: Neuroscience

    The nervous system is the most complex tissue in the human body. The formation and maintenance of this amazing structure entails sophisticated mechanisms that drive the specification of appropriate cell fates in and along the spatial and temporal axes, and the formation and fine tuning of highly specific cell-cell contacts that are crucial for the organism to properly comprehend and manipulate its environment. In this course, students will present and discuss seminal papers that have unveiled important molecular and cellular aspects of nervous system development. Topics covered will include cell fate specification of neurons and glia, neuronal and glial differentiation, axon guidance, synaptogenesis and the fine tuning of the neural circuits through apoptosis and neurite pruning. Over the course of these studies, the students will gain an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that are used to build nervous systems and the insights provided by model organisms. 

    Course Coordinator: Marc Freeman

    Course Offered: Fall, off years

    Last Taught: Fall 2015

  • Journal Club in Neuroscience | BBS 808

    Programs: Neuroscience

    Neuroscience Journal Club gives students the opportunity to present and discuss exciting new papers in neuroscience in an informal setting. Presentations occur weekly (Wednesday 12-1). Students are also expected to attend the Neuroscience Program Seminar series (Thursday 12:15-1:15) and to meet with external speakers (Thursday 1:30-2:30). Program in Neuroscience students are required to take 2 semesters of BBS 808.

    Course Coordinator: Paul Dobner

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2016

  • Current Topics in Neuroscience: Visualizing the Brain at Work | BBS 815

    Programs: Biomedical Engineering & Biotechnology, Neuroscience

    Neuroimaging is an area of growing interest among the neuroscience research community and an area of active research here at UMass Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Fruitful neuroimaging research is predicated on fluency with the fundamentals of imaging technology as well as fluency with the neuroscience topics related to the questions being addressed. The Center for Comparative Neuroimaging (CCNI) holds this monthly seminar to facilitate this synthesis of information by examining current neuroimaging research. Students wishing to build a more detailed understanding of the challenges and strategies of current neuroimaging research may attend this seminar for credit. Students receiving credit will be required to present a topic of their choosing at a scheduled weekly meeting, and will have the support of the course mentors and CCNI faculty in the preparation of their talk.

    Course Coordinator: Constance Moore

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Fall 2015

  • Communicating Neuroscience: Learning by Doing | BBS 838

    Programs: Neuroscience

    This course will demonstrate the major elements that distinguish a great presentation, and identify areas in which each student can improve their presentations through peer critiques and self-assessment. Importantly, this class will allow students many opportunities to apply those critiques, and see their skills improve throughout the course. Substitutes for Neuroscience Journal Club.

    Course Coordinator: David Weaver

    Course Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2015

  • Tutorial in Neuroscience | BBS 848

    Programs: Neuroscience

    Tutorials offer the opportunity for one student or a small group of students to discuss research in a specific research area, or a series of selected papers, with a faculty member. The small group format allows extensive discussion and interaction. This course number allows faculty and students the flexibility to develop a syllabus of their making. The proposed syllabus must be approved by the Neuroscience Program director. Tutorials are arranged with individual faculty members. Students may re-enroll for multiple tutorials.

    Course Coordinator: David Weaver

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Spring 2015

  • Current Topics in Neuroscience: Drug Addiction | BBS 849

    Programs: Neuroscience

    The study of addiction is very appealing to neuroscientists, since aside from the obvious societal and medical impact of this topic, it allows one to cover the breadth of the discipline, from channel and membrane biophysics to psychology. In this course, which meets weekly for one-half semester, there will be an orientation lecture presented by the instructor, after which students will present and discuss relevant literature. 

    Course Coordinator: Andrew Tapper

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2016

  • Laboratory Rotation | BBS 850

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Laboratory rotations are defined periods of research experience under the direction of a faculty member. They are intended to familiarize the student with concepts and techniques in several areas of research and to assist the student in evaluating research laboratories and projects that might be developed into a dissertation project. The student will participate in an ongoing research project; gain familiarity with concepts underlying the research; acquire a working knowledge of techniques used in the research; and write a report and present an oral summary of the results of the research. 

    Course Coordinator: Faculty member in whose lab student is working

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Taught every Fall and Spring semester

  • Laboratory Rotation | BBS 851

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Laboratory rotations are defined periods of research experience under the direction of a faculty member. They are intended to familiarize the student with concepts and techniques in several areas of research and to assist the student in evaluating research laboratories and projects that might be developed into a dissertation project. The student will participate in an ongoing research project; gain familiarity with concepts underlying the research; acquire a working knowledge of techniques used in the research; and write a report and present an oral summary of the results of the research. 

    Course Coordinator: Faculty member in whose lab student is working

    Semester Offered: Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every Summer

  • BBS Qualifying Exam | BBS 860

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Students are required to register for this course in the fall semester of the academic year in which they are to pass their Qualifying Examination.

    Course Coordinator: Mary Ellen Lane

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Taught every year 

  • BBS TRAC Meeting | BBS 865

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    All graduate students are required to have at least one Thesis Research Advisory Committee (TRAC) meeting each academic year. After passing their Qualifying Examination and selection of their TRAC, students are required to register for this course each fall semester until their Dissertation Advisory Committee is formed. 

    Course Coordinator: Mary Ellen Lane

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Taught every year

  • Prequalifying Research | BBS 870

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    This course is for students who have selected a program and thesis advisor but who have not yet passed the Qualifying Examination. 

    Course Coordinator: Student's thesis advisor

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every semester

  • Thesis Research | BBS 900

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Students register for Thesis Research fall term of year three of the program, after passing the Qualifying Exam.

    Course Coordinator: Student's thesis advisor

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every semester

  • Graduate Research | BBS 990

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Students register for Graduate Research fall term of year four in the PhD Program and will continue to register each semester until they complete all remaining requirements.

    Course Coordinator: Student's thesis advisor

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every semester

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