Fundamentals of Neuroscience-E2 

Course Map: [pdf]
Curriculum: [pdfupdated 2019/04/05]

  • Instructor: Zenas C. Chao (zenas.c.chao at gmail.com)
  • Office: Faculty of Medicine Bldg. E, Room 109 (ext. 9461) 
  • Office Hours:  Students are welcome to arrange appointments by email
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Welcome to “Fundamentals of Neuroscience”! This course covers the basic background required to understand how networks of neurons could generate complex functions of the brain. You will learn topics ranging from the electrical properties of an individual neuron to higher brain functions, such as memory and consciousness. In this class, I will put more emphasis on big picture concepts, which I believe are more meaningful than memorizing a lot of facts and details that you can easily look up.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

  • To understand the basic components of the nervous system.
  • To appreciate the complexity of brain functions and to understand their biological basis. 
  • To review and share neuroscience topics through presentation and discussion.

REFERENCE  BOOK

UTHealth Neuroscience Online Textbook: https://nba.uth.tmc.edu/neuroscience/
You are only responsible for the contents I talk about in the lecture. If you read something that I didn’t mention at all in the lecture, you are NOT responsible for that for the exams. This is why it’s so important for you to be in lecture for the semester.

POLICIES

  • No question is too dumb to ask! 
  • No plagiarism allowed! For any assignment, you must document all of your source material. If you take any text from somebody else, you must make it clear the text is being quoted and where the text comes from. You must also cite any sources from which you obtain numbers, ideas, or other materials. 
  • Be awake and on time. If you’re more than 15 minutes late, your attendance won’t be taken by the electronic attendance monitoring system. 
  • Missed quizzes and exams will result in a zero grade for that item.

GRADING

Participation (~25%), short presentation (~25%), quizzes (~25%), final exam (~25%).

PARTICIPATION

Your participation will be evaluated by your attendance and your contribution to class discussions. You will need to engage in the lectures and other students’ presentations by asking questions and sharing ideas.

SHORT PRESENTATION

During the semester, you will choose a neuroscience topic from the list below and present it in the corresponding week. For example, if you want to present the topic “patch clamp”, a Nobel Prize winning technology to record electrical activity in neurons, then you will present it in Lecture #4 (see the table below). You are also welcome to present any topic of your own choice, but you need to consult with me before Lecture #3. Your presentation should be 10 minute long, which will be followed by a short question session.

Presentation topics & dates:

Blue: Brain recording & stimulation technology
Green: Abnormal brain
Orange: Other interesting stuff

Lecture

Presentation Topics

#4

May 7

Patch clamp; optogenetics; fugu poisoning; multiple sclerosis;

#5

May 13

Parkinson’s disease; alcohol addiction; sarin gas; botox;

#7

May 27

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); hemispherectomy; echolocation; connectomics; eyewire.org;

#8

Jun 3

Computed tomography (CT); magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); functional MRI (fMRI); positron emission tomography (PET); aphasia;

#9

Jun 10

Visual neglect; blindsight; agnosia (object blindness); prosopagnosia (face blindness); akinetopsia (motion blindness); visual illusion;

#11

Jun 24

Deep brain stimulation (DBS); amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Huntington’s disease; spinal cord injury; brain-machine interface (BMI); auditory illusion; hearing aid; cochlear implant;

#12

Jul 1

Synesthesia; Alzheimer’s disease; REM sleep; deep learning;

#13

Jul 8

Electroencephalogram (EEG); split brain syndrome; lock-in syndrome; lucid dream;



Presentation scoring rubric:

Your presentation will be evaluated by the following criteria. You can use this as a guideline for your preparation.
 

Category

Scoring Criteria

Total Points

Score

Organization

(25points)

Information is presented in a logical sequence

10

 

Presentation appropriately cites source materials

15

 

Content

(35 points)

Introduction is attention-getting

5

 

Technical terms are well-defined

15

 

Appropriate amount of material

15

 

Presentation

(25 points)

Speakers use a clear and audible voice

10

 

Visual aids are well prepared, informative, and effective

10

 

Good language skills and pronunciation

5

 

Overall Impression

(15 points)

The presentation is interesting

5

 

The presenter has a clear understanding of his/her topic

5

 

Answering questions

5

 

 

Total Points

100

 



QUIZZES

Three quizzes will be given during the semester to evaluate your learning, and give you an idea what to expect for the final exam.
  • One lowest quiz score will be dropped, and will not be used for your final grade.
  • There will be NO makeup quizzes.
  • The quiz dates will be announced during the semester.

FINAL EXAM

The final exam will be held on July 23 from 4:30pm to 6pm. The final exam will not recycle questions from the quizzes, so do not just study the quizzes alone.

SCHEDULE

The schedules of lectures, quizzes, and presentations are as follow:

Lecture

Topic

Reading

Quiz

Presentation

#1

Apr 8

Introduction

[Slides]

 

 

 

#2

Apr 15

PART I. Neurons & Networks

Neurons & Glia

[Slides

Sec1.Ch8

 

Submit three topics you’re interested in

[Topic signup

#3

Apr 22

The Resting Potential

[Slides]

Sec1.Ch1

 

Decide the topic

[Final topic & schedule] 

#4

May 7

The Action Potential & Its Propagation

[Slides]

Sec1.Ch2

Sec1.Ch3

 

Fugu poisoning: Tingting & Lanxuan

#5

May 13

Synaptic Transmission

[Slides] 

Sec1.Ch6

Sec1.Ch5

Sec1.Ch10

 

Parkinson's disease: Durana & Michito

Alcohol addiction: David

#6

May 20

Computation in Small Circuits

[Slides

Sec1.Ch6

Sec1.Intro

Quiz #1: Lectures #2~#5

[Answers]

 

#7

May 27

Synaptic Plasticity

[Slides]

Sec1.Ch7

 

Deep learning: Xuye & Alexander

Pain: Marcus & Jonatan

#8

Jun 3

PART II. Functions of the Brain

Brain Anatomy

[Slides]

[Brain regions

Sec2.Ch1

 

Aphasia: Ami

DMT: Sunday & Vincenzo

#9

Jun 10

Brain Anatomy (continued)

[Slides


 

Prosopagnosia (face blindness): Reiko & Takuhito 

Visual illusion: Yitong

#10

Jun 17

Sensory System- Vision

[Slides] 

Sec2.Ch14

Sec2.Ch15

Quiz #2: Lectures #6~#8

[Answers]

 

#11

Jun 24

Sensory System- Audition

[Slides]

Sec2.Ch12

Sec2.Ch13

 

Auditory illusion: Deniz & Ayana

Hearing aid: Takahiro

#12

Jul 1

Learning & Memory

[Slides

Sec4.Ch7

 

Alzheimer's disease: Yurika & Hiroki

Hyperthymesia: Joanne & Maxim  

#13

Jul 8

Consciousness & Social Cognition

[Slides] 

 

 

REM sleep: Yuki & Ami (C)

Lucid dream: Victoria & Ilia

#14

Jul 22

Motor System

[Slides

Sec3.Ch1

Sec3.Ch2

Sec3.Ch3 

Quiz #3: Lectures #9~#13

[AnswersNEW

 

#15

Jul 29

Final Exam

 

 

 

#16

Aug 5

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