Course Descriptions

BIOL-5798-01 – Synaptic Transmission

This course will investigate how neurons and glial cells communicate with each other. We will review basic cell biology necessary for understanding processes important for synaptic transmission between neurons and communication between glia and neurons, including protein trafficking, membrane properties, and vesicular transport. This background will allow us to consider in detail how specific chemical neurotransmitters (acetylcholine, glutamate, GABA, dopamine, serotonin, histamine, norepinephrine, neuropeptides, endocannabinoids, etc) function to send different types of information between neurons and glial cells. However, since various functions of the central nervous system are largely defined by structure, we will include a brief overview of human neuroanatomy. We will use each of these transmitter systems to explore general principles of neurons (mechanisms for transducing a signal from outside the cell to the inside, the complexity and evolutionary relatedness of receptor subtypes, differences in signal transmission versus signal modulation, methods for organization of cellular membrane proteins), and relate these principles back to the fundamental biological concepts. We will also investigate how the various neurotransmission systems are altered by medicines, drugs of abuse, and toxins; students will be responsible for giving brief oral presentations on the molecular actions of these molecules. We will consider how disruption of specific neuronal pathways affects specific systems due to the defined anatomy. Finally, we will discuss in detail papers from the primary literature to highlight advances and areas of interest in mechanisms of synaptic transmission. In addition to class assignments, exams, and quizzes, you must submit an original research paper in the style of a grant proposal. BIOL-5798-01 is intended for first- and second-year graduate students with a neuroscience background. 

INNS-6000-01 – Critical Readings in Neuro I

Students will be provided with primary literature on neuroscience. This primary literature will be the nidus of in-class discussions of experimental and statistical approaches. We will focus on how the students’ understanding of the approaches affects their interpretation of the data presented in the paper. One of the journal club discussions will focus on bioethics.

INNS-6300-01 – Translational Neuroscience

Lecture and manuscript-based presentation of topics in clinical neuroscience focused on the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders, including seizures, dementia, autoimmune disease, infection, head trauma, pain, stroke, and depression. Grading will be based on class participation and a written exam.

INNS-6310-01 – Principles of Neuroimmunology

The interplay between the innate and adaptive immune systems can provide valuable insights into mechanisms that underlie the physiology and pathology of inflammation, a hallmark of almost most diseases of the brain. This course will provide the current understanding of how the intersection of neuroscience and immunology can provide us with the knowledge to discover modern strategies to understand the immunomodulation of neural functions, and neuromodulation of immune activities, in order to develop therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

INNS-6400-01 – Experimental Approaches & Techniques

This is a one-semester class where students will use primary literature to explore neuroscience methods and experimental design. Students will be required to read 1-2 papers per week, discuss them in class, and highlight the methods and approaches used in the research. This class is designed to be complementary to the Basic Neuroscience course as well as the journal club. In this course, students will lead as the presenters and primary discussants.

INNS-6500-01 – Basic Neuroscience I

This course is the first semester of a two-semester introduction to neuroscience. This semester starts with an overview of the brain and continues with an examination of neurons and glial cells, brain wiring, neuroanatomy, action potentials, synaptic transmission, the autonomic nervous system, the somatic sensory system, and motor function. The classes include lectures and discussions. Grades for this course will be based on a final exam, quizzes, and class participation.

INNS-9000-01 – Research Practicum I

Students will pursue a research practicum each semester. For the fall and spring semesters, students will be assigned to a mentor based on their research interests. Students will meet with the course director during the semester to monitor progress. After the internship, students will write a review paper and give an oral presentation on a topic approved by their mentor, which includes their primary data. Students will be evaluated by their mentor, who completes an evaluation form, and by the quality of their paper and presentation.