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Amherst College Neuroscience for 2013-14

226 Introduction to Neuroscience

(Offered as NEUR 226 and PSYC 226.) An introduction to the structure and function of the nervous system, this course will explore the neural bases of behavior at the cellular and systems levels. Basic topics in neurobiology, neuroanatomy and physiological psychology will be covered with an emphasis on understanding how neuroscientists approach the study of the nervous system. Three class hours and four hours of laboratory per week.

Requisite: PSYC 212 or BIOL 181 or 191. Limited to 36 students. Spring semester. Professors Baird and Trapani.

2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016

325 Psychopharmacology

(Offered as PSYC 325 and NEUR 325.)  In this course we will examine the ways in which drugs act on the brain to alter behavior. We will review basic principles of brain function and mechanisms of drug action in the brain. We will discuss a variety of legal and illegal recreational drugs as well as the use of psychotherapeutic drugs to treat mental illness. Examples from the primary scientific literature will demonstrate the various methods used to investigate mechanisms of drug action, the biological and behavioral consequences of drug use, and the nature of efforts to prevent or treat drug abuse.

Requisite: PSYC 212 or PSYC/NEUR 226, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 22 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Turgeon.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

351 Neurophysiology

(Offered as BIOL 351 and NEUR 351.)  This course will provide a deeper understanding of the physiological properties of the nervous system. We will address the mechanisms underlying electrical activity in neurons, as well as examine the physiology of synapses; the transduction and integration of sensory information; the function of nerve circuits; the trophic and plastic properties of neurons; and the relationship between neuronal activity and behavior. Laboratories will apply electrophysiological methods to examine neuronal activity and will include experimental design as well as analysis and presentation of collected data. Throughout the course, we will focus on past and current neurophysiology research and how it contributes to the field of neuroscience. Three classroom hours and three hours of laboratory work per week.

Requisites: BIOL 191 and CHEM 151; PHYS 117 or 124 is recommended. Limited to 24 students. Open to juniors and seniors. Fall semester.  Professor Trapani.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2010, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

425 Proseminar: Research and Writing

The general topic for this proseminar may change from year to year. In 2012-13 the course will emphasize research and writing skills on topics related to behavioral neurobiological systems. Students will explore recent research findings in areas pertaining to the role of hormones and/or neural circuits in several behavioral processes including but not limited to echolocation, mating, prey location, flight control, spatial navigation, song development in birds, mineral appetites, social functions, aggression, and learning in memory mechanisms in several species. Through instructor supervision, discussion, group presentations, and peer review, each student develops a specific research project that results in a 20-30 page review paper and a subsequent research proposal. Key goals of the course are to prepare juniors for a thesis research project and to provide a research-intensive experience for seniors who do not elect to conduct an honors thesis. This course will count as a Group A/List A elective course for the neuroscience major. 

Limited to junior and senior Neuroscience majors or by permission of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Baird.

2016-17: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Fall 2014

490, 390 Special Topics

Research in an area relevant to neuroscience, under the direction of a faculty member, and preparation of a thesis based upon the research. Full course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Committee.

2016-17: Offered in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

499D, 498 Senior Departmental Honors

Research in an area relevant to neuroscience, under the direction of a faculty member, and preparation of a thesis based upon the research. Double course spring semester. 

Spring semester. The Committee.

2016-17: Offered in Spring 2017
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016