How does the brain work, and how do changes in brain structure and function give rise to neurological conditions and deficits? Developing a deeper understanding of the brain has been deemed one of the 21st century’s Grand Challenges, and this course will draw on different research methodologies to begin unraveling one of life’s greatest mysteries. Through inquiry-driven investigations that include close examination of primary data, we will explore the mechanisms by which electrochemical and circuit activity in nervous systems give rise to sensation, perception, and behaviors including, but not limited to, movement, language production, spatial navigation, emotional responses, sleep, and learning and memory. Laboratory investigations will parallel those done in modern neuroscience research labs and include molecular (DNA and protein) sequence analysis, fluorescence microscopy of nervous tissue, and behavioral assays. Finally, through our tour through nervous systems across phyla, we will begin to illuminate insights into the evolution history and inner workings of our own brain.
Students should have completed at least one year of high school biology as a prerequisite to this course.
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