Core Courses

NSCI 501a Principles of Neuroscience
Ralph DiLeone, Angeliki Louvi
General neuroscience seminar: Lectures, readings and discussion of selected topics in neuroscience. Emphasis will be on how approaches at the molecular, cellular, physiological and organismal levels can lead to understanding of neuronal and brain function.

NSCI 510b, Structural and Functional Organization of the Human Nervous System
Charles Greer, Michael Schwartz
An integrative overview of the structure and function of the human brain pertaining to major neurological and psychiatric disorders. Neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and clinical correlations are interrelated to provide essential background in the neurosciences. Lectures in neurocytology and neuroanatomy survey neuronal organization in the human brain, with emphasis on long fiber tracts related to clinical neurology. Weekly two-hour laboratory sections in close collaboration with faculty members. Lectures in neurophysiology cover various aspects of neural function at the cellular level, with a strong emphasis on the mammalian nervous system. Clinical correlations consist of sessions given by one or two faculty members representing both basic and clinical sciences. These sessions relate neurological symptoms to cellular processes in various diseases of the brain.

NSCI 512a/b, Lab Rotation for First-Year Students
Charles Greer
Required for all first-year Neuroscience graduate students. Rotation period is one term. Grading is Sat/Unsat based on PI’s rotation evaluation.

NSCI 513a/b, Second Year Thesis Research
Required for all second-year INP graduate students. Both terms required. Grading is Sat/Unsat based on PI’s certification.

NSCI 580b Bioethics in Neuroscience
Charles Greer
This course is an introduction to ethics and ethical decision-making in the Neurosciences. Format for the course is an informal discussion. Each week, we will be joined by members of the Yale faculty and community who can share their experiences and expertise as it relates to the topic of the week. This course is mandatory for first year graduate students in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (INP). Grading is Sat/Unsat and is determined based on attendance/participation, weekly questions submitted based on assigned readings and a final term paper and presentation.

NSCI 720a Neurobiology
Haig Keshishian, Paul Forscher
Examination of the excitability of the nerve cell membrane provides a starting point for the study of molecular, cellular and intracellular mechanisms underlying the generation and control of behavior.

Neuroscience Electives

NSCI 502b, Cell Biology of the Neuron
Sreeganga Chandra
A comprehensive introduction to neuronal cell biology. Basic principles of cell biology reviewed in the context of the developing nervous system. Membrane trafficking, receptor mechanisms, neurotrophin signaling, neuronal cytoskeleton, axon guidance, and synapse formation and maintenance are discussed.

NSCI 504b, Seminar in Brain Development & Plasticity
Weimin Zhong
Weekly seminars (Monday) and discussion sessions (Wednesday) to explore recent advances in our understanding of brain development and plasticity, including neuronal determination, axon guidance, synaptogenesis and developmental plasticity.

NSCI 507b, Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Diseases
Sreeganga Chandra, Will Cafferty
This course focuses on diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Schizophrenia, Multiple Sclerosis, and Epilepsy, in which modern neuroscience has advanced mechanistic explanations for clinical conditions. The course will highlight recent genetic, molecular, electrophysiological, and imaging experiments in parsing disease mechanisms.

NSCI 519a/b, Tutorial
By arrangement with faculty and approval of DGS.

NSCI 521a, Neuroimaging in Neuropsychiatry I: Imaging Methods
Kelly Cosgrove
Neuroimaging methodologies including Positron Emission Tomography (PET); Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT); Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI); functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI); Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), and gene array imaging (GAI) are rapidly evolving tools used to study the living human brain. Neuroimaging has unprecedented implications for routine clinical diagnosis, for assessment of drug efficacy; for determination of psychotropic drug occupancy and for the study of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurologic and psychiatric disorders. This course is designed to provide an overview of the theory and current state of development of the different neuroimaging modalities.

NSCI 522b, Neuroimaging in Neuropsychiatry II: Clinical Applications
Irina Esterlis, Kelly Cosgrove
Neuroimaging methodologies including Positron Emission Tomography (PET); Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT); Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI); functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI); Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) are rapidly evolving tools used to study the living human brain. Neuroimaging has unprecedented implications for routine clinical diagnosis, for assessment of drug efficacy; for determination of psychotropic drug occupancy and for the study of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurologic and psychiatric disorders. This course is designed to provide an overview the application of state of the art neuroimaging methods to research in neurologic and psychiatric disorders.

NSCI 523a, Imaging Drugs in the Brain
Evan Morris, Kelly Cosgrove
Seminar course to explore the uses of PET, SPECT, and fMRI to study the mechanisms of action, and long term effects of drugs (legal and illegal) on brain function. Basic research will be the main focus, augmented by two class periods allotted to uses of imaging in drug development by Pharma.Syllabus will be comprised of review articles, book chapters and journal articles. Some class periods will begin with short lecture to cover methodological concepts followed by discussion of reading material.

NSCI 532a, Neurobiology of Cortical Systems
Michael Crair
This is a lecture, reading and discussion based course focused on the mammalian cerebral cortex. Students will learn about the evolution, development, function and dysfunction of the cortex. Significant emphasis will be placed on examining unique aspects of the cortex, including cortical circuit structure, plasticity, cognition and models of higher-order cognitive processing. We will also examine disease processes in which cortical dysfunction are specifically implicated.

NSCI 533a, Function and Dysfunction of the Visual System
Z. Jimmy Zhou
A survey course on the visual system, covering the retina, central visual pathways, and visual centers. Topics on the development, structure, function, dysfunction, and repair of the visual system will be introduced by faculty members and discussed among students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty members. The class will meet for one 1.5 hr lecture and one 1.5 hr paper discussion session per week.

NSCI 540b, Seminars in Neuroscience
Jess Cardin
This course is a practical introduction to the art and science of giving a data-based neuroscience seminar.  The ability to give a clear, convincing, and engaging talk about your work is one of the key career skills of successful scientists.  Content, visual presentation, body language, and delivery all combine to determine your impact on your audience.  The focus in class will be on student presentation skills and detailed feedback, interspersed with short example talks by invited guests from Yale and other institutions. Students will give at least two talks over the course of the semester and participate in weekly Q&A and feedback.  Grading will be based on class participation.

NSCI 585b, Fundamentals of Neuroimaging
Fahmeed Hyder, Douglas Rothman
The neuroenergetic and neurochemical basis of several dominant neuroimaging methods, including fMRI. Topics range from technical aspects of different methods to interpretation of the neuroimaging results. Controversies and/or challenges for application of fMRI and related methods in medicine are identified.

NSCI 588a, Computational Modeling & Analysis in Neuroscience
Damon Clark, Alex Kwan
Quantitative methods for exploring and understanding data are becoming increasingly common in neuroscience. The aim of this course is to introduce students to state-of-the-art methods that are used for data analysis and computational modeling of behavior and neural activity. Classes will combine discussions of primary research papers with coding tutorials to facilitate focused, hands-on exploration of quantitative methods of interest. Topics will include modeling decision-making, model selection, time-frequency analysis of neural activity, and neural population models. Students will need their own computers and access to MATLAB. Minimal programming experience is helpful but not required.

NSCI 590a, Sensory Neuroethology: Bats, Owls, Electric Fish and Beyond
James Mazer
In this course we will review the neurophysiology of sensory processing with particular attention to animal behavior (ethology) and computation. We will begin with the classic neuroethology literature and end with current work on neocortical circuits underlying sensory processing in higher vertebrates. This seminar course will meet once per week to read and discuss (mostly) primary research papers selected and presented by the students.

NSCI 595a, Seminar in Visuomotor Neurophysiology
Daeyeol Lee, James Mazer
Review and discussion of seminal papers in neurophysiological and computational studies of visual system.It will cover papers on the receptive field physiology of neurons in the retina and central visual pathway, motor cortex, and computational theories of vision and motor control. The course will largely focus on the literature in primates, but will also draw on behavioral and neurophysiological studies in other mammals, such as cats and humans.

NSCI 596a, Seminar in Neurophysiology of Decision Making
Daeyeol Lee, James Mazer
This course involves the critical reading and discussion of both historical and contemporary papers on neurobiology of decision making. Although it covers some key papers in behavioral economics, reinforcement learning, and neuroeconomics, the major emphasis will be on the studies directed at understanding the mechanisms of decision making using neurobiological methods, including single-neuron recording and functional neuroimaging.

NSCI 597b/NBIO 597b Neuroeconomics
Ifat Levy, Daeyeol Lee
This course will introduce some of the main topics in human decision-making research. We will discuss how behavioral economics methods are combined with neuroscientific tools, in particular functional MRI, to study the neural mechanisms underlying decision and valuation processes. The course will include both introductory presentations by the instructors and paper presentations by the students.

NSCI 600a, Experimental Methods in Neuroscience
R. Todd Constable
This course will examine the experimental techniques currently available to neuroscientists. It will explore the kinds of information obtainable in studying phenomena ranging from electrophysiological recordings of individual neurons, to metabolic processes, ensembles of neurons, to behavioral output. Techniques to be covered include microscopic methods (light, electron), electrophysiology (extracellular/ intracellular single cell recordings, multiple cell recording methods, brain slices), macroscopic methods (ERP, MEG, TMR), metabolic measures (microdialysis, biosensors, MR spectroscopy), imaging approaches (optical tomography, PET, SPECT, functional MRI), and interventional techniques (lesions, cortical stimulation, knockout genetics, surgery, drugs). The knowledge gained from each of these approaches, the limitations of the methods, and future developments will be considered. This is a lecture course and students will be evaluated through oral class presentations in a journal club format. No prior familiarity with these methods is needed in order to participate.

NSCI 610b, Neurophysiology
Nii Addy, Vincent A. Pieribone and Fred Sigworth
This course will give students instruction in both the theoretical and practical aspects of modern experimental neurophysiology. The course will begin with mathematical calculations of excitable membrane electrical properties. Other lectures will cover different neurophysiology approaches including: patch clamp, extracellular unit recording, optical methods, electrochemical approaches and optogenetics. The course will be team taught and will give students an in depth survey of modern neurophysiology. Course format:Lectures combined with student interactions (student presentations).

NSCI 611b, Introduction to Systems Neuroscience
Steve Chang
This course provides an overview of the fundamental principles governing the central nervous system. Topics include the anatomy of the central nervous system, the neural mechanisms underlying cortical and subcortical control of behavior, various neuroscience techniques, as well as implications for nervous system disorders. The lectures will combine basic knowledge of the nervous system with the key experimental findings that led to new discoveries in brain function.