The regulation and functions of ascending noradrenergic, dopaminergic, serotonergic and cholinergic systems, terminating in forebrain areas, have been studied largely in isolation. For example, fairly specific hypotheses have evolved concerning the information processing mediated via dopaminergic or cholinergic projections terminating in cortical fields. Moreover, contemporary neurobiological hypotheses of major neuropsychiatric disorders focus largely on aberrations in the integrity or regulation of individual ascending modulatory systems. Most researchers readily accept the idea that understanding of the functions of individual modulatory systems requires evidence concerning the interactions between these systems. However, information on, for example, noradrenergic or dopaminergic modulation of acetylcholine release in the cortex, or vice versa, has remained relatively scarce and conceptually undeveloped.
Goals: The seminar will review and discuss the anatomy, neuropharmacology and function of major ascending systems, focusing on evidence concerning the interactions between these systems, via long-loop pathways, such as the prefrontal innervation of brain stem noradrenergic systems, and via local, synaptic mechanisms. As a formal goal, all participants will work on a review paper on these issues, to
be potentially submitted to a review journal such as Progress in Neurobiology. A course home page will be set up so that all participants can write simultaneously on the paper (using Words and Endnote), governed by their individual assignments. So if this works out, you’ll even get a paper out of it.
Students: The seminar will be restricted to maximally 10-15 graduate students (permission by instructor; 4 credits). Ideally, but not necessarily, students should have candidate status and be prepared to contribute actively, in writing, to this project. The seminar time will be mostly used to discuss emerging problems and issues that may need to be addressed, such as the structure and quality of the writing and the integration of materials. We will find out whether a committee can write a paper. Please contact email@example.com as early as possible if you are interested in participating.