Introduction to Neurobiology

Course Number: 
Course Type: 
Currently Offered: 
Instructor (MCB Faculty): 
Carlson, Steven
Class Size: 
Course Description: 

Survey of molecular, cellular, and developmental neuroscience designed to lay the foundation for graduate students interested in pursuing research in neuroscience as well as cell biology.  Our topics will include the generation and development of neurons, gene regulation, neurotropic factors, the neuronal cytoskeleton, membrane traffic in neurons, the role of glial cells, and neurotransmitter receptors. Three of our lectures will be on molecular methods: DNA technology, protein chemistry, and microscopy.  Current major ideas as well as their supporting data from journal articles will be covered.   

Neubeh 501 is designed to be taken along with Neubeh 504; they occur back-to-back in the same room.  As noted above, Neubeh 501 covers the cell and developmental biology of neurons and glia, while Neubeh 504 covers the biophysics of neurons such as the generation of the action potential, how ion channels function, or LTP/LTD. Thus, the courses are complementary.  For instance, Neubeh 501 deals with the generation of synaptic vesicles, while Neubeh 504 describes the mechanism of exocytosis in the release of neurotransmitter.

Learning Objectives: 

At the end of the course the student should have a basic understanding of cellular neurobiology at the graduate level, not only of its major hypotheses but their supporting data as well.

None. However, some knowledge of cell biology or biochemistry is very helpful.
Course requirements, examinations and grading: 

There will be three open-book take home exams consisting of thought questions concerning issues raised in the lectures.  Each exam consists of two questions, the answers to be a maximum of two typed pages. The exam questions are given out about a week and a half before they are due.

Course web site:

Sample Schedule:

Week Mon Weds Fri
  1 Introduction & Overview Methods in Molecular Biology Methods in Protein Biochemistry
  2 Methods in Microscopy Developmental neurobiology Developmental neurobiology
  3 Developmental neurobiology Gene Regulation 1 Gene Regulation 2
  4 Gene Regulation 3 Neurotrophic factors I Neurotrophic factors II
  5 Cell Death Stem Cells Motors and Axonal Transport
  6 Actin and Microtubule Dynamics Neurofilaments Protein sorting in neurons
  7 Membrane traffic in neurons Synaptic vesicles Synaptogenesis and ECM
  8 Synaptogenesis and ECM Astrocytes Microglia
  9 Myelin and Oligodendrocytes Acetylcholine receptors Regulation and localization of acetylcholine receptors
 10 Glutamate receptors Gaba and glycine receptors Regulation of G-protein coupled signal transduction
Areas of Interest: