Spring 2024

Synapses:  Synaptic Basis of Neurodegenerative Disease

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-411  |  Neuroscience, as NEUR-411


John P. Roche (Section 01)


(Offered as BIOL 411 and NEUR 411) Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are increasing in prevalence. The gross morphological changes in the brain accompanying these diseases have been known since the early 1900’s but there is yet to be an effective treatment for these diseases.  Treatments designed to reverse the gross morphological changes have repeatedly failed in clinical trials, suggesting that it may be the molecular events that occur at stages prior to the gross morphological changes that is the causative factor in the progression of disease. This course will primarily focus on molecular events at the synaptic level that involve genes that have known linkages to neurodegenerative disease.  We will explore the most recent advances in synaptic development and function as they relate to these genes and explore how these early changes may be critical in the manifestation of disease. Students will utilize critical analysis of primary literature in order to gain a broad understanding of the historical underpinnings of the field as well as the most recent advances.  Primary research papers will be analyzed and discussed.

Requisites: BIOL/NEUR-214 or NEUR 213 required. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Roche.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to senior Neuroscience majors and then Biology, BCBP, and junior Neuroscience majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: emphasis on reading, analysis of primary research articles, oral presentation, written analysis

BIOL 411 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM SCCE A019


Other years: Offered in Spring 2021