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Neuroscience Program Courses

The courses listed below include 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.

  • 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 DirectorAnn Rittenhouse

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2021

  • 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 Director: Claudio Punzo

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • 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 Director: Yang Xiang

    Semester Offered: Fall, even years

    Last Taught: Spring 2019

  • 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 Director: Dorothy Schafer

    Course Offered: Fall, odd years

    Last Taught: Fall 2017

  • 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. Student 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 1:40-2:20). Program in Neuroscience students are required to take 2 semesters of BBS 808.  BBS 838 substitutes for 808.

    Course Director: David Weaver 

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Fall 2019

  • 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 Director: Constance Moore

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2015

  • Interprofessional Education in Clinical Neuroscience | BBS 831

    Programs: Neuroscience

    GSBS students will participate in journal clubs with clinical residents and fellows, and
    participate in other clinically-focused activities typically outside the opportunities
    available to GSBS students.

    Course DirectorsSheldon Benjamin, David Weaver

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Fall 2018

  • 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 see their skills improve throughout the course. Substitutes for Neuroscience Journal Club in meeting Neuroscience Program requirements.

    Course Director: David Weaver

    Course Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • 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 one or more faculty members. 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 Director: David Weaver

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Spring 2020

  • 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 Director: Gilles Martin

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within past two years

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