BCSC 241: Neurons, Circuits, and Systems

Cross-listed: CVSC/NSCI 241 (P)
Prerequisites: NSCI 201/BCSC 240
Offered: Fall

This course takes a bottom-up approach to understanding the neurons and circuits of the sensory systems in the mammalian brain. Thematic topics will include: structural and functional diversity among sensory neuronal populations, common themes across sensory systems such as parallel information processing, coordination among feedforward/feedback circuits, and neuronal plasticity during development of functional domains. The final course module will focus on exploring the neuronal mechanisms of attention, again from a neuron- and circuit-centric perspective. Multiple sensory systems will be discussed with primary emphasis on the visual system as a model for understanding structure/function relationships. The course will also introduce students to modern methodological approaches in systems neuroscience. A major goal of the course is to familiarize students with reading and critiquing primary research literature through weekly readings, small group discussions, and short written summaries of scientific papers.