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GS14 1024 Systems Neuroscience

  • Credit Hours: 4
  • Grading System: Letter Grade
  • Prerequisites: Consent of instructor


This course cover the key concepts in systems neuroscience that allow students to understand how individual neurons and circuits process information and modulate behavior. The central idea behind this course is to illuminate the connection between physiology and function. In order to do this, we will concentrate on several key brain systems, and for each of these systems, we will interrogate how the structure and physiology of distinct brain circuits account for their function.

The aim is to understand fundamental principles, not to survey the entire brain. We chose several different systems that are qualitatively different to illustrate the basic principles of systems neuroscience. The course will provide students with fundamental knowledge about the function, connectivity, and plasticity of neuronal circuits.  We will do this by exploring how selected brain systems form perceptions of the external world, execute movements, make decisions, represent space, and form memories.  In addition, we will examine how stress, fear, and reward are encoded and regulated, how the brain controls internal metabolic needs such as food intake, energy expenditure, temperature regulation and sleep, and how pain sensation is initiated peripherally and perceived centrally. We will emphasize unifying principles, including how the brain processes information, how different cell types contribute to the function of circuits, and how the brain is modified during learning and experience.

An integral part of the course is a neuroanatomy lab that will relate the functional view presented during the lectures with the anatomical structures in which these functions are implemented. The course will also include article presentations in which each student has the opportunity to present a scientific paper related to the course material, discuss the findings, and ask questions.

Course Outline Systems Neuroscience