Developmental Neurobiology

Course Number: 
Course Type: 
Currently Offered: 
Instructor (MCB Faculty): 
Reh, Thomas
Instructor (MCB Faculty): 
Wong, Rachel
Class Size: 
Course Description: 

Brain development has fascinated generations of developmental biologists and neuroscientists. This course provides an overview of the field, from classic studies to modern approaches. Topics include neural induction and patterning the brain, neurogenesis and cell fate, axon growth and guidance, formation of specific connections and adult plasticity.  We encourage active learning through a combination of instructor led lectures and discussions alternating with student-led presentations.  

Learning Objectives: 

Students will acquire a broad knowledge of the principles of neural development. We quickly move from the classic experiments to  the current molecular and cellular approaches.  In-depth discussions of primary research articles are a key component of the course. Students will gain a perspective of the current state of this field and specific open research questions.  

Some previous exposure to either developmental biology or neuroscience would be helpful, though not required.
Course requirements, examinations and grading: 

Grading A. 5 page "grant" proposal.  (50%)  1. Background of the field (1-2 pages)  2. Question to be investigated  3. Experimental design (3-4 pages; no detailed methods) B. Class Presentation (40%)  Journal club style presentation for Thursday class C. Class Participation (10%).  

Course web site: not currently active. 

Sample Schedule: 
Week Tues Thurs
  1 Overview of nervous system development  Neural induction
  2 CNS Patterning Student presentations
  3 Neurogenesis Student presentations
  4 Cell migration Student presentations
  5 Growth cones and axon pathfinding Student presentations
  6 Synapse Formation Student presentations
  7 Topographic maps Student presentations
  8 Sensory system development Student presentations
  9 Developmental cell death Student presentations
 10 Adult plasticity Student presentations
Areas of Interest: 
Developmental Biology, Stem Cells & Aging