Courses

Students are reminded that excellent relevant elective courses may be found in many non-NUIN programs and are encouraged to explore current listings available at the following links: DGP, IBiS, Psychology, BME, CSD, and Biological Sciences, among others.

NUIN 401-1,2,3 Fundamentals of Neuroscience (Heckman, Baker, Voss )

(1 unit per quarter; offered every year; required for NUIN students)

This three quarter long course sequence introduces students to a wide array of topics in neuroscience, spanning molecules to behavior. Fall quarter focuses on cellular neurophysiology and sensory transduction; winter focuses on systems neuroscience, with important examples selected from sensory, motor, and neurendocrine systems; and spring covers topics in neurodevelopment, molecular neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience.


NUIN 403 Fundamental Molecular and Cell Biology for Neuroscience (Bozza)

(1 unit per quarter; offered every year; required for NUIN students)

This course is intended to provide students a solid grounding in the principles of biochemistry, molecular genetics, and cell biology. An emphasis will be on material most relevant to neuroscience. The first third of the course, covering biochemistry, will be a shared module with IGP 401. The second and third modules will be unique. This course is not intended to replace complete courses in these topics for students interested in advanced training.


NUIN 411-1 Great Experiments in Molecular & Developmental Neuroscience (Awatramani, Ma)

(1 unit; offered every year)

This course fulfills the Great Experiments Course requirement for second year graduate students in the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience program concentrating in Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience. The general aim of the course is to fill the informational and intellectual gap in the current formal curriculum between the basic overview of this topic provided by the first-year core course (NUIN 401) and the highly focused, often recent material covered in special topics courses taken as electives. In this course, students will read and discuss classic papers that generated concepts that form the basis for our understanding of development, function and diseases of the nervous system at the molecular/genetic level.


NUIN 411-2 Great Experiments in Cellular Neurophysiology (Raman)

(1 unit; offered every year)

This course fulfills the Great Experiments Course requirement for second year graduate students in the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience program concentrating in Cellular Neurophysiology. The general aim of the course is to fill the informational and intellectual gap in the current formal curriculum between the basic overview of cellular neurophysiology and biophysics provided by the first-year core course (NUIN 401) and the highly focused, often recent material covered in special topics courses taken as electives. In this course, students will read and will be guided through written problem sets (before class) and discussions (within class) of a series of classic papers in cellular neuroscience.


NUIN 411-3 Great Experiments in Systems & Cognitive Neuroscience (McLean)

(1 unit; offered every year)

This course fulfills the Great Experiments Course requirement for second year graduate students in the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience program concentrating in Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience. The general aim of the course is to fill the gap between the basic overview of Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience provided by the first-year core course (NUIN 401) and the highly focused, often recent material covered in special topics courses taken as electives. Students will read a series of classic papers in systems and cognitive Neuroscience.


NUIN 421 Circadian Clocks: From Genes to Behavior (Turek)

(1 unit; offered alternate years, next offered in Spring of 2014)

This course examines the primary literature that involves the elucidation of the molecular, neural, and physiological basis of circadian rhythms and the implications of temporal organization in animals.


NUIN 433 Neurobiology of Disease (Opal)

(1 unit; offered alternate years; next offered TBD)

This is a survey course aiming to orient graduate students in Neuroscience or related disciplines to important neurological diseases and general aspects of related research. For every session, a neurological clinician presents an hour of material aimed at oriented the students to the disease process in question (for example, multiple sclerosis), which is followed by a second lecture given by a basic scientist focused on a relatively narrow research question. Papers are discussed in a second session related to the research question. The examination consists of writing a small NIH-style grant on a neuroscience research question.


NUIN 440 Advanced Neuroanatomy (Perkins, Baker)

(1 unit; offered every year)

Designed to provide a fundamental understanding of neuroanatomy, this course considers the nervous system from both structural and functional perspectives, resulting in an integrated view of the brain. In addition to lectures and demonstrations, half the time is devoted to laboratory exercises in which students view histological sections and participate in the dissection of a human brain. This course extends over only 7 weeks of the quarter.


NUIN 441 Biophysical Signal Processing For Movement And Rehabilitation Sciences (Acosta)

(1 unit; offered alternate years, next offered in Winter of 2014)

Students in this course learn how to collect and analyze kinematic, kinetic and electrophysiological data associated with the neuromusculoskeletal system. Emphasis is on understanding and implementing time and frequency domain signal processing methods important for analyzing movement data. Students develop and implement the signal processing tools using Matlab.  This course is not intended for engineering graduate students to replace complete courses in signal processing.


NUIN 442 Issues In Movement And Rehabilitation Science (Dewald, Tysseling)

(1 unit; offered every year)

This course emphasizes literature on contemporary issues pertaining to key principles and models in the field of movement and rehabilitation science. In the first half of the course, theoretical, biological, physical, behavioral, and computational approaches to understanding the control of movement in the context of rehabilitation are explored. These building blocks are then applied to analysis of common disorders of movement control and contemporary and evolving therapeutic approaches used in rehabilitation. Topics include stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, cerebellar disease, cerebral palsy, sensory disorders, aging, and muscle and joint pathologies.


NUIN 455 Instrumentation for Neuroscience (Baker)

(1 unit; offered every year)

This is a practical course in electronics and mechanical instrumentation ranging from Ohm’s law, power supplies, and fasteners, to machining, microprocessors, and computers. We cover the basics of instrumentation theory, design, construction, use, repair, and safety. We emphasize basic machine shop practices and basic to intermediate level applications of active electronics devices (integrated circuits or ICs). No prior knowledge is required.


NUIN 460 Interneurons and Brain Networks (Maccaferri, Martina)

(1 unit; offered alternate years; next in Winter 2015)

The purpose of this course is to highlight the concept of neuronal cellular specificity and its consequences for network functions. We compare the anatomical, membrane and synaptic properties of GABAergic interneurons and pyramidal cells. Particular emphasis is put on the hippocampus, which is a brain region related to higher cognitive functions such as learning and memory. The different roles of interneurons and pyramidal cells during specific types of hippocampal network activities are examined. The course is based on lectures and discussion of seminal papers in the field. Grades will be based on presentations, classroom performance, plus a final written exam.


NUIN 462 Cortical Circuit Organization (Shepherd)

(1 unit; offered alternate years; next offered in Fall of 2014)

How does the cortex work? This course is designed for advanced neuroscience students to learn about cortical and subcortical circuits at the synaptic, cellular, and network levels. The course will focus on the structure and function of neocortical circuits, emphasizing sensorimotor systems in rodents but including circuits in a variety of sensory and motor areas, subcortical pathways representing major cortical inputs (e.g. corticocortical, thalamocortical) and outputs (e.g. corticospinal, corticostriatal). Students will give presentations focusing on specific circuits. The course will be based on primary articles and reviews, and a mix of lectures and student-led presentations.


NUIN 470 Cellular and Molecular Basis of Information Storage (Routtenberg, Contractor)

(1 unit; offered alternate years, next offered in Spring of 2014)

A literature-based course focusing on the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which information is stored in the nervous system. A theoretical and historical review will review contributions of Cajal and Hebb, among others. Consideration of how synapses change will review mechanisms of long term potentiation and dendritic excitability; and studies of learning and synaptic plasticity using electron microscopy, two photon confocal microscopy and Golgi neuronal imaging techniques. Progress in understanding how memory for space (including place cells), associations and fear is formed will be reviewed. Finally, the relation of genes to synapses and memory will be considered in the context of transgenic and gene knockout studies in mammals and invertebrates.


NUIN 473 Mechanisms of Aging and Dementia (Binder, Disterhoft)

(1 unit; offered alternate years; next offered in Spring of 2015)

This course is designed to familiarize the student with aging and age-related dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, Frontal lobe dementias and Parkinson’s Disease. Lectures will be given on incidence, diagnostics, and mechanisms studied in cell and animal models and in humans. Sessions will be two hours long – the first hour will be in a lecture format; the second will involve student-led discussions of papers relevant to the lecture topic. Student presentations of current literature and class participation will determine a portion of the grade; the balance will depend on a written and oral presentation to the class of a research proposal relevant to topics covered during the course.


NUIN 478 Neuropharmacology of Brain Disorders (Radulovic, R. Miller)

(1 unit; offered every year)

The course is centered on reading and critically discussing original scientific papers concerning the neuropharmacology of brain disorders and mechanisms of drug action. One of the course objectives is to help students learn how to critically read and integrate scientific literature. Generally, there will be a review article and 2-3 papers assigned per session. Active and frequent participation by each student is expected. The final exam will consist of a 10 page grant proposal on a relevant topic, written as an NIH predoctoral NRSA. Topics include: Neurotransmitters and receptors, neurogenetics, synaptic transmission, neuropharmacology, mood disorders, neuroimaging, psychosis, neurodegeneration, dementia, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.


NUIN 480 – Neural Control of Movement (L. Miller)

(1 unit; offered alternate years, next offered in Spring of 2014)

This class is intended to be primarily a discussion of the classic and current literature related to the brain’s control of movement. Students will be expected to read 3-4 assigned papers per week, a combination of classic and new studies. The readings will be made available on the blackboard system. The instructor will introduce each theme or set of papers in the class session on Monday. The class will discuss the papers on Friday. The student leading the discussion will be expected to present some material from at least two additional papers, which must be discussed with the instructor by Wednesday. You should prepare a 1-page handout summarizing the main points to be covered in the paper, and a couple critical figures from the other papers you’ve found. Any student who is not presenting a given paper will be expected to e-mail several discussion questions to the presenter and instructor by Thursday. Grading will be based on the quality of the presentation, overall class participation, and a short (3000-4000 words) paper due at the end of the quarter. The paper should synthesize material from two of the Friday sessions. The class will assume a good background in the anatomy and physiology of the motor systems.


NUIN 481 Neural Mechanisms of Pain (Apkarian)

(1 unit; offered alternate years; next offered in Spring of 2014)

Different aspects of pain research, including inflammation, peripheral, spinal cord, brainstem, thalamus and cortical circuits for acute and chronic pain mechanisms are covered. Application of genetic, molecular, electrophysiological, and human brain imaging approaches to unravel mechanisms of pain and analgesia are explored.


NUIN 486 – The Biology of Sleep (Allada)

(1 unit; offered alternate years; next offered in Winter of 2014)

This course is a literature-based seminar course that deals with genetic, physiological, pharmacological, and behavioral approaches to sleep, with particular emphasis on the role that genes play in regulating sleep.


NUIN 490 Responsible Conduct in Neuroscience Research (Schneeweis)

(0 unit; offered twice annually, once in Evanston and once in Chicago)

Through a combination of lecture and discussion, students will explore the ethical dimensions of biomedical research. Emphasis will be on practicing skills in moral reasoning and identifying relevant institutional, professional, and governmental regulations and guidelines. Ethical issues special to or unique to neuroscience will be presented by student groups.


NUIN 495 Special Topics: Quantitative Methods and Experimental Design (Heckman)

(1 unit; offered every year)

The goal of this new elective is to provide students with basic training in experimental design and in quantitative methods used to analyze many kinds of data obtained with a variety of techniques.  The course will be divided into three components focusing on Probability and Statistics, Linear Systems, and Signal Analysis.  Examples will be drawn from a range of research areas from molecular to cellular to systems level neuroscience.  This course will be team taught and coordinated with NUIN 401-3, meeting immediately afterward on the same campus.


NUIN 590 – Research (Schneeweis)

Students register for 1-3 units per quarter until accumulating 9 quarters of residency in the NUIN program.