AISC614.0

Neurobiology

Credits: 4 CREDITS (2P+2B)
Sites: HMS and Clinical Sites
Director(s): John Assad, Todd Herrington
Offered: March
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Open to Exclerks: No (HMS only)
Description: Summary: The human nervous system is one of the great frontiers of modern biology. Current advances in neuroscience have transformed neurology from primarily a diagnostic specialty to one rich with therapeutic options. In this course, discussion topics will include the biophysical basis of neural communication, the etiology and treatment of seizures, pain and peripheral sensory function, the disruption of cognitive function in neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disease, the role of functional neuroimaging in understanding brain networks, and the use of neurotechnology including deep brain stimulation to treat neurologic and psychiatric disorders. Clinical experiences will include neurology, as well as radiology, psychiatry, and neurosurgery. At the conclusion of the course, students will have deepened their understanding of basic neurobiology and, we hope, be inspired to contribute to scientific understanding or translate discoveries into novel therapies. Format of classroom-based sessions: Classroom sessions include highly interactive discussions/lectures by experts in the various areas, as well as weekly student-run journal clubs to critically dissect papers in the field, one paper each week. Course directors meet with student presenters in advance of each journal club to analyze the papers in detail. Format of clinical/field experiences: There will be two half-day clinical experiences per week. These will be a mix of group and individual clinic sessions designed to provide exposure to a range of clinical neuroscience. In these sessions, students will be paired with clinician-investigators with successful careers in clinically relevant basic and translational research. The objective is to both learn some clinical neuroscience and to identify critical knowledge gaps in our current clinical practice that will inspire classroom discussion and become the focus of a novel research plan developed for the class final project. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course holds class Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and students spend an additional two half-days in clinic per week (individual clinic schedules vary), as well as regular preparatory reading for classroom sessions and detailed reading of weekly journal club papers.