NS&B History

Neural Systems and Behavior, as it’s known today, stemmed from “Invertebrate Zoology” which began at the turn of the century.

Neural Systems and Behavior began in 1978, and the first director (who in fact coined the term NS&B) was Alan Gelperin.  Because the room was still designed for marine invertebrate research, students worked around the large salt-water tanks, with tubes running all across the ceiling.  Unfortunately personal conflicts arose and Gelperin had to step down the following year, so Ron Hoy and Edwardo Macagno stepped up to co-direct the course.  An early history of this period, by Alan Gelperin, can be found here.

Macagno and Hoy diligently served as directors for 5 years from 1979-1983.  They chose William Kristan to help teach, bringing his expertise in Leech neuroanatomy to NS&B.  Ronald Calabrese worked as a teaching assistant that year and would prove to serve as a lasting presence throughout NS&B history.  

The second pair of course directors, from 1984-1989 were Darcy Kelly and Tom Carew.  As the t-shirts from that period will attest, the course participants were no strangers to having fun when their work was through.  1987 in particular is fondly remembered as the year of the "aplesia races." In these races, wherein two aplasia were placed on the far end of the long table that ran through the center of the lab and prompted to move to the other side, was won by a single stretch of the winning aplesia's appendage.

The third pair of course directors, from 1990-1994 were Ron Calabrese and Martha Constatine-Patton.  At this time the alcohol regulations were much more loose than they were today.  In Calabrese's own words, they "drank beers at the rigs every night."  With technology as it was in those days, the largest budget item was film for their cameras.

The fourth pair of course directors, from 1995-1999 were Harold Zakon and Janice Weeks.

The fifth pair of course directors, from 2000-2004 were Richard Levine and Catherine Carr.

The sixth pair of course directors, from 2005-2007 were Michael Dickenson and Sarah Bottjer.  Their work on flies and finches, respectively, inspired the common name for the NS&B breakroom, the "finch and fly."

The seventh pair of course directors, from 2008-2012 were Paul Katz and Jim Knierim.  Their efforts to make the course more technologically connected prompted the creation of both this website and the facebook page

The eighth and current pair of course directors, starting in 2013 are Hans Hofmann and Andre Fenton.  They cut the number of modules from 3 per cycle to 2 per cycle and have been working to develop new molecularly-focused modules to supplement those currently implemented.

A complete list of the course associated individuals from 2002 onwards, designated by
CD=Course Director
TA=Teaching Assistant
CCA=Course Coordinator/Course Assistant
Can be found here.

Emily Liljestrand,
Jun 13, 2013, 7:48 AM