Development & Dysfunction of the Nervous System
Course Number: NEURL-UA 305
Pre or Co-requisite: NEURL-UA 210 (Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology)
Description: This course will explore the biological mechanisms that support the normal emergence of nervous system connections and function, and how genetic or epigenetic factors cause profound neurological disorders. The nervous system emerges from a small stem cell population that ultimately creates ~1011 neurons which connect precisely to one another. Even after these specific connections are formed, there occurs a dramatic change in their function and connectivity during which the nervous system is influenced by environmental experiences, thereby shaping adult behavioral skills. The lectures on neurological disorders will consider how these normal developmental mechanisms are disrupted, leading to severe neurological disorders that can last a lifetime. These include autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, and traumatic brain injury and regeneration. The major goals of the course will be understand the extent to which current theories can explain the cause of each disorder, and to learn how basic research is pivotal to the design of treatments or cures.