Development & Dysfunction of the Nervous System
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.
* Development of the Nervous System, 4th Edition, DH Sanes, TA Reh, WA Harris
* PDF files of primary research and review articles will be posted on NYU Classes
There will be short quizzes every two weeks covering material from lectures and readings.
Each quiz will be comprised of short-answer or multiple choice questions.
The quizzes are taken at your leisure on Brightspace. You may use any resource that you’d like during the quick (i.e., it is open book), but it will be timed (20 minutes).
Journal Club Presentation
During the second half of each weekly meeting, we will discuss a selected primary research article that falls within that weeks lecture topic. Students will make the presentations. All students are expected to carefully read each article in advance, and be prepared to actively participate in the discussion.
Each student will deliver a 20 minute lecture on a specific developmental disorder. You will be able to submit a preliminary version of your presentation and get feedback.
Students will prepare an abstract of their lecture to be distributed one week in advance.
Each student will prepare a two page experimental proposal designed to address an unanswered question from their lecture topic. The proposal will contain a hypothesis, a description of the experimental paradigm and methods, and the predicted outcome.
The final grade will be determined from your performance on the following assignments:
10% Class participation
15% Journal Club Presentation
35% Student Lecture (and Abstract)
20% Experimental Proposal
Extra credit assignments are not available.
Extensions are granted for documented health issues or personal emergencies.
Attendance is compulsory.