As one of the Innovation Institute neuroscientists explains the brain is the MOST FASCINATING 3 lb piece of matter in the universe!! Students learn to appreciate the beauty, complexity and dynamism of the brain and nervous system in this course through multiple dissections and other labs, activities, and discussion.
Students explore questions including:
- What are the bumps and grooves on the exterior of the brain? Students investigate functions while exploring cortical mapping.
- What are the internal structures of the brain? How does injury to one or more areas of the cortex affect a person’s function? Students learn about left and right hemispheric communication.
- Why are neurons different from all other cells in the body? How are they specialized to communicate?
- How do neurons transmit and receive electrical signals? How can neuronal circuits generate patterns of activity that control behavior?
- How do billions of neurons communicate without making mistakes? How can we learn about different types of neurotransmitters by discussing drugs, addiction and disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and depression?
- How and why does the human brain sometimes interpret incoming information incorrectly?
- What makes some mental illnesses so fascinating from a neurobiology perspective?
- What has research yielded about the learning process and the brain? How are new behaviors acquired through reinforcement learning?
- Can learning be reduced to memory? Why or why not?
- What is sleep from a neurobiological perspective and why is it important?
Students investigate key issues in neuroscience including but not limited to:
- Understand how networks of neurons convey information from the environment to different parts of the brain
- Discover how the brain puts together information to form a picture of reality
- See how connections between neurons are set up during development and reinforced during learning and memory
- Investigate how neurons recover from damage, disease, or toxic insult
- During the course, students also consider recent research trends and breakthroughs and try to identify key questions they think should be priorities and why.
Students have opportunities to meet and learn from visiting science and biomedical engineering specialists.
Learning entry points include the use of storytelling, fiction and non-fiction literature and art.