Courses in Neuroscience

Potential elective courses may be listed in Neurosciences, Biology, Cell Biology, Psychology, Genetics, Pharmacology or other departments. This is a partial list of available courses:

Offered every fall semester

Instructor: FRIEL, D.

Description: This survey course provides students with an opportunity to learn about some of the most exciting and timely concepts in neuroscience, including topics in basic and translational research, as well as perspectives on neuroscience as a profession, through a series of 14 lectures given by members of the Neurosciences Department in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Topics are presented in a way that can be understood by students who have taken a high school biology class. Every effort is made to explain any new concepts that are included in the lectures. Each lecturer will provide general background reading material for the topics they discuss. 

Offered every fall semester.


Description: This course is designed to introduce students to a broad range of neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases and disorders in order to understand how genetic and environmental perturbations can disrupt normal brain function. The primary focus will be on understanding the biological bases of nervous system dysfunction. For each disease discussed, the subject matter will be organized to explain how normal brain function is impacted, the biological mechanisms underlying dysfunction (including still-unanswered questions) and current efforts to develop effective treatments (translational research). With this approach, students will gain an understanding of disease presentation, how animal models and human studies are being used to elucidate pathophysiological mechanisms, and opportunities and challenges in the development of new therapies. The class format will be a mix of lecture-based sessions and discussions of scientific journal articles.

Prereq: Undergraduate: BIOL 216 or PSCL 352; Graduate: Permission of instructor.
* Cross-listed: Undergraduates should register for NEUR 301/Graduates should register for NEUR 401

Lecture/discussion course covering concepts in cell and molecular neuroscience, principles of systems neuroscience as demonstrated in the somatosensory system, and fundamentals of the development of the nervous system. This course will prepare students for upper level Neuroscience courses and is also suitable for students in other programs who desire an understanding of neurosciences. Recommended preparation: CBIO 453. Offered as BIOL 402 and NEUR 402.

Cell biology of nerve cells, including aspects of synaptic structure physiology and chemistry. The application of molecular biological tools to questions of synaptic function will be addressed. Recommended preparation: BIOL 473. Prereq: NEUR 402.

Current topics of interest in neurosciences. Students attend weekly seminars. From this series, students prepare critiques. No credit is given for less than 75% attendance.

The goal of this course is to develop the student's critical reasoning skills through reading and discussing primary research papers. Each year, the course will focus on 3-4 different topics selected by participating Neuroscience faculty members. Students will receive a letter grade based on their contributions to discussions, and at the discretion of the faculty, performance on exams and/or term paper. Prereq: NEUR 402.

Vision research is an exciting and multidisciplinary area that draws on the disciplines of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, structural biology, neuroscience, and pathology. This graduate level course will provide the student with broad exposure to the most recent and relevant research currently being conducted in the field. Topics will cover a variety of diseases and fundamental biological processes occurring in the eye. Regions of the eye that will be discussed include the cornea, lens, and retina. Vision disorders discussed include age-related macular degeneration, retinal ciliopathies, and diabetic retinopathy. Instructors in the course are experts in their field and are members of the multidisciplinary visual sciences research community here at Case Western Reserve University. Students will be exposed to the experimental approaches and instrumentation currently being used in the laboratory and in clinical settings. Topics will be covered by traditional lectures, demonstrations in the laboratory and the clinic, and journal club presentations. Students will be graded on their performance in journal club presentations (40%), research proposal (40%), and class participation (20%). Offered as NEUR 432, PATH 432, PHRM 432 and BIOC 432.

This is an advanced lecture/journal/discussion format course that covers cell signaling mechanisms. Included are discussions of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels, growth factor receptor kinases, cytokine receptors, G protein-coupled receptors, steroid receptors, heterotrimeric G proteins, ras family GTPases, second messenger cascades, protein kinase cascades, second messenger regulation of transcription factors, microtubule-based motility, actin/myosin-based motility, signals for regulation of cell cycle, signals for regulation of apoptosis. Offered as CLBY 466, PHOL 466 and PHRM 466.

How nervous systems control behavior. Biophysical, biochemical and molecular biological properties of nerve cells, their organization into circuitry, and their function within networks. Emphasis on quantitative methods for modeling neurons and networks, and on critical analysis of the contemporary technical literature in the neurosciences. Term paper required for graduate students. This course satisfies a lab requirement for the B.A. in Biology, and a Quantitative Laboratory requirements for the B.S. in Biology. Offered as BIOL 373, BIOL 473, and NEUR 473.

In this course, students will examine how neurobiologists interested in animal behavior study the linkage between neural circuitry and complex behavior. Various vertebrate and invertebrate systems will be considered. Several exercises will be used in this endeavor. Although some lectures will provide background and context on specific neural systems, the emphasis of the course will be on classroom discussion of specific journal articles. In addition, students will each complete a project in which they will observe some animal behavior and generate both behavioral and neurobiological hypotheses related to it. In lieu of examinations, students will complete three written assignments, including a theoretical grant proposal, a one-page Specific Aims paper related to the project, and a final project paper. These assignments are designed to give each student experience in writing biologically-relevant documents. Classroom discussions will help students understand the content and format of each type document. They will also present their projects orally to the entire class. Offered as BIOL 374, BIOL 474 and NEUR 474. Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar.

This course focuses on in-depth understanding of the molecular biophysics of proteins. Structural, thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of protein function and structure-function relationships will be considered at the advanced conceptual level. The application of these theoretical frameworks will be illustrated with examples from the literature and integration of biophysical knowledge with description at the cellular and systems level. The format consists of lectures, problem sets, and student presentations. A special emphasis will be placed on discussion of original publications. Offered as BIOC 475, CHEM 475, PHOL 475, PHRM 475, and NEUR 475.

Computer simulations and mathematical analysis of neurons and neural circuits, and the computational properties of nervous systems. Students are taught a range of models for neurons and neural circuits, and are asked to implement and explore the computational and dynamic properties of these models. The course introduces students to dynamical systems theory for the analysis of neurons and neural learning, models of brain systems, and their relationship to artificial and neural networks. Term project required. Students enrolled in MATH 478 will make arrangements with the instructor to attend additional lectures and complete additional assignments addressing mathematical topics related to the course. Recommended preparation: MATH 223 and MATH 224 or BIOL 300 and BIOL 306. Offered as BIOL 378, COGS 378, MATH 378, BIOL 478, EBME 478, EECS 478, MATH 478 and NEUR 478.

This course offers continuing education in responsible conduct of research for advanced graduate students. The course will cover the nine defined areas of research ethics through a combination of lectures, on-line course material and small group discussions. Six 2-hr meetings per semester. Maximum enrollment of 15 students with preference given to graduate students in the Neurosciences program. All neurosciences graduate students must complete this course during their 3rd or 4th year.

(Credit as arranged.) Recommended preparation: M.S. candidates only.

Prereq: Predoctoral research consent or advanced to Ph.D. candidacy milestone.