GS14 1024 Systems Neuroscience
Dragoi, Valentin. Four semester hours. Spring annually. Prerequisite: consent of instructor
This graduate level course covers the key concepts in systems neuroscience that allow students to understand how individual neurons and circuits process information and how they modulate behavior. Emphasis is placed on the basic structure and function of cells and networks residing in the nervous system. The course covers the major available techniques to examine the operation of neurons and networks in vivo. The principles of functional neuroanatomy are presented by highlighting the main types of neuronal circuits that constitute the building blocks of systems neuroscience. The neural development section is intended to offer students insight into the early 'shaping' of neuronal circuits as computational units. An important concept in systems neuroscience is the fact that information is processed in a hierarchical manner. Covering this issue will allow students to learn about the different stages of cortical processing that constitute the foundations of cognition. Finally, a fundamental property of neurons and circuits, i.e., the capacity to adapt, is discussed in the context of short and long-term plasticity, adaptation, and learning. The overall goal of this course is to provide students with fundamental knowledge of the function, development, and plasticity of neuronal circuits by emphasizing how neural circuits analyze sensory information, form perceptions of the external worlds, make decisions, and execute movements. This course fulfills the GSBS Systems Area requirement.