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BIOL 311
Neural Systems and Circuits Fall 2020
Division III
Cross-listed BIOL 311 / NSCI 311

Class Details

This course will examine the functional organization of the mammalian brain, emphasizing both neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. How do specific populations of neurons and their connections encode sensory information, form perceptions of the external and internal environment, make cognitive decisions, and execute movements? How does the brain produce feelings of reward/motivation and aversion/pain? How does the nervous system regulate homeostatic functions such as sleep, food intake, and thirst? We will explore these questions using a holistic, integrative approach, considering molecular/cellular mechanisms, physiological characterizations of neurons, and connectivity among brain systems. Journal article discussions will complement course topics, providing experience in reading, understanding, and critiquing primary research papers. Writing an original literature review article will provide experience in expository writing and anonymous peer review. Laboratory sessions will provide experience in examining macroscopic and microscopic neural structures, as well as performing experiments to elucidate the structure and function of neural systems using classical and cutting-edge techniques.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; In Fall 2020, this course will be offered in a hybrid format, with in-person experiences for students on campus, as well as the ability to complete discussions/labs remotely. Exact details to be announced prior to the first day of the course.
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 2134
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation, completion of labs, literature review assignment, hour exams, a final exam
Prerequisites: BIOL 212 (same as PSYC 212 or NSCI 201) or BIOL 205
Enrollment Preferences: Biology majors and Neuroscience concentrators
Unit Notes: does not satisfy the distribution requirement for the Biology major
Distributions: Division III
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
BIOL 311 Division III NSCI 311 Division III
Attributes: NSCI Group A Electives

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