Course Descriptions

Course Catalog for NEUROSCIENCE
NESC 101
The Brain
Recent developments in neuroscience have revolutionized our views of familiar human experiences such as locomotion, substance abuse, mental illness, sleep, and memorization. Through highly enjoyable and selected readings, presentations by visiting faculty, demonstrations and other activities, we will explore the foundations of this field as well as recent discoveries. The overall objective of this course is to provide students with a basic understanding of neuroscience, enabling them to make important decisions that may affect their lives.
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 120
Nervous Connections
Recent scientific research indicates that a worm has 302 neurons, snails have long-term memory, and elephants can hear through their feet. This course will draw on current research in neuroscience to explain why information about other animals is relevant to our lives. Selected readings, lectures and class discussions will provide a basic understanding of the human nervous system and how research on animal systems has yielded this knowledge. Laboratory exercises will introduce the students to nervous system anatomy and function through dissection and experimental techniques. A basic understanding of biology and chemistry will be helpful, but this course has no pre-requisites. First-year students are given preference.
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 120
Nervous Connections Laboratory
This is an optional lab component that can be taken in conjunction with the Neuroscience 120 lecture. The laboratory exercises will introduce students to nervous system anatomy and function through dissection and experimental techniques.
Concurrent enrollment in Neuroscience 120 Lecture is required.
0.25 units, Laboratory
NESC 201
Principles of Neuroscience Laboratory
A team-taught introductory course in neuroscience that will examine the neuron and its biological interactions in animal nervous systems. Topics will include the anatomy, development, chemistry, and physiology of nervous systems.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Biology 183L or permission of instructor.
0.25 units, Laboratory
NESC 201
Principles of Neuroscience
A team-taught introductory course in neuroscience that will examine the neuron and its biological interactions in animal nervous systems. Topics will include the anatomy, development, chemistry, and physiology of nervous systems.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Biology 182 and 183.
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 202
Clinical Neuroanatomy
This course will cover basic clinical neuroanatomical structures. We will attend neuropathology rounds at Hartford Hospital and observe human brain dissections. We will also perform laboratory exercises such as dissecting sheep brains and performing computer neuroanatomy simulations. Structures will be discussed in terms of functions and neurological pathologies with appropriate readings. All students will create a brain atlas of their own.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Biology 152 or 153.
0.50 units, Laboratory
NESC 262
Introduction to Animal Behavior
This course will explore the subject of animal behavior from various perspectives: evolutionary biology, psychology, and neuroscience. The ultimate and proximate mechanisms that influence animal behaviors will be demonstrated by looking at vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Particular attention will be given to the behavior of humans and other primates. Topics to be covered include learning and memory, predation and foraging behavior, mating behavior and parental care, sociality, communication, and aggression.
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 301
Introduction to Neuroscience Methodology
A laboratory course that will introduce the student to current methods and techniques used in neuroscience research. The course consists of three-week rotations in the laboratories of staff members. Among the topics to be covered will be radioligand binding assays, neurochemical assays, electrophysiology, psychobiological techniques, experiments in perception, and methods in cognitive science. This course is normally taken in the junior year.
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 315
Functional Neuroanatomy
This course provides an overview of the central, peripheral, and autonomic components of the human nervous system. Cellular, sub-cellular as well as organ-system aspects of nervous system functioning will be explored. Throughout the semester, basic scientific principles will be correlated with clinical case studies. References to the history of neurology will illustrate how our current concepts of nervous system functioning have evolved. The information covered in this course is critical for anyone interested in pursuing a career in either the basic or applied neurosciences.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Neuroscience 201 or Psychology 261
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 320
Developmental Neuroscience
This course will provide an overview of the developmental assembly of a complex nervous system. We will investigate the relations between developmental changes in the brain (morphology, neurochemistry, connectivity), and developmental changes in perceptual, cognitive, and social abilities (e.g., attention, executive function, empathy) throughout the lifespan. We will also address fundamental theoretical issues in the field of developmental neuroscience, such as the role of experience versus innate biological predisposition, the range of plasticity, and the functional degree of specialization in the brain. Part of this course will be devoted to gaining a better understanding of experimental methods utilized in the field of developmental neuroscience, in order to both critically analyze such studies, and, as a final paper, design your own study.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Neuroscience 201 or Psychology 261
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 350
Neuroethics
This course provides a broad overview of the major theories and practice of neuroethics. Both clinical and research issues will be addressed by asking the students to reason through a series of decision-making scenarios. The concept of personhood, particularly as it relates to those with dementia and the persistent vegetative state, will be emphasized. Whether neuroscience research should aim to make individuals "better" than normal as opposed to remaining focused on the amelioration and reversal of disease will be discussed. Students will also consider whether ethical decision-making should allow room for intuition and spirituality or be governed primarily by a set of commonly accepted precepts.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Neuroscience 201 or Psychology 261
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 362
Neuroethology
This course will explore the control of animal behavior by the nervous system from an evolutionary perspective. Topics to be covered include motor control (orientation, navigation, pursuit and escape behavior), communication systems (mate searching, territoriality, and social interactions), resource location and ingestion, circadian and other rhythmic behaviors and learning and memory. Examples will be drawn from a wide variety of vertebrate and invertebrate animals as appropriate to the topic. For select topics special attention will be paid to experimental design and data analysis. Text readings and selected primary research articles will guide discussion of each topic. In addition to exams and quizzes, students will write several short essays and one term paper during the course of the semester.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Neuroscience 201 or Psychology 261
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 365
Cognitive and Social Neuroscience
This course examines the way in which brain function influences mental processes and overt action. We will consider a range of cognitive and social functions, primarily from the perspective of neuroscience and draw on such related disciplines as cognitive psychology, social psychology, and computational analysis as needed. The functions to be reviewed include perception, attention, memory, thinking, emotional processing, group behavior, stereotyping and empathy. We will apply these to consider topics such as substance abuse, discrimination, child development, and mental illness.
1.00 units, Seminar
NESC 388
Current Issues in Neuroscience
This half-credit course considers current neuroscience research on topics ranging from clinical research to molecular biology. Students will attend presentations by neuroscience researchers and read and discuss pertinent research literature prior to each presentation. Some special scheduling arrangements will be necessary for activities outside of the regular class meeting time.
Prerequisite: Senior Neuroscience major or permission of instructor.
0.50 units, Lecture
NESC 399
Open Semester
No Course Description Available.
4.00 units, Independent Study
NESC 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
NESC 401
Neurochemistry
An interdisciplinary course investigating the chemical processes involved in central nervous system functioning and communication. Emphasis will be placed on the chemical aspects of synthesis, metabolism, and release of neurotransmitters. The role of neurochemistry in behavioral and neurological disease states will be evaluated. Current research topics in this area will also be presented.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Neuroscience 201, Chemistry 211, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 402
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
An advanced study of individual cells and small networks of cells in the nervous system. Specific topics include the development of neurons and glia, the cellular physiology of communication in the nervous system, and characterization of molecules responsible for unique properties of neurons. These cellular and molecular processes will be examined through lectures, student-led presentations, and laboratory experiments.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Biology 183.
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 419
Research in Neuroscience (Library)
Students will conduct library research projects under the direction of a faculty member. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
NESC 425
Research in Neuroscience (Laboratory)
Students will conduct original laboratory research projects under the direction of an individual faculty member. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
NESC 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
NESC 490
Research Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
NESC 497
Senior Thesis
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Independent Study
NESC 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for each semester of this yearlong thesis. (2 course credits are considered pending in the first semester; 2 course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester). Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
2.00 units, Independent Study
NESC 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for each semester of this yearlong thesis. The research culminates in a thesis, an oral presentation, and a poster at the undergraduate Science Symposium. (2 course credits are considered pending in the first semester; 2 course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester). Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
2.00 units, Independent Study
NESC 810
Neurochemistry
The course will focus on current research that presents major advances in the field of neuronal communication. This will be accomplished through study of the peer-reviewed research literature. An emphasis is placed on understanding the mechanisms involved in the operation, maintenance, and dysfunction of chemical systems in the central nervous system. Technological advances which have led to increases in sensitivity and resolution in analytical biochemistry and the ability to observe and quantitate events on a molecular level in intact biological structures will also be studied. Neurochemical research involving the function of the human central nervous system will be the focus of both written and oral presentations by class participants.
1.00 units, Lecture
NESC 874
Minds and Brains
The neurosciences have made striking progress in recent years toward understanding the brains of animals and human beings. Through readings in philosophy and science we will consider what contribution this explosion of neuroscientific data can make to our understanding of the mind.
1.00 units, Seminar
NESC 892
Human Neuropsychology
The course will begin with a cursory review of basic neuroanatomy, brain organization and topography, and neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter conductive systems. Next, an in-depth examination of physiological and neurological manifestations of cognitive and psychopathological disorders as well as behavioral correlates of neuropathological and pathophysiological disturbances will follow. Finally, a survey of current diagnostic procedures and treatment approaches will be presented. All course material augmented with, and accentuated by, illustrative clinical case material. Students should anticipate that special scheduling arrangements will be required for activities outside of regular class sessions.
1.00 units, Seminar