This lab course provides an introduction to experimental approaches in neurobiology. Emphasis is on molecular, physiological and anatomical approaches for studying neuronal function. Students will learn how to introduce a single amino acid mutation within a neuronal receptor, make mutant DNA, mutant RNA and then study the function of the mutated receptor. Several other molecular biology techniques such as western blotting, RTPCR are also performed. The function of different neuronal receptors is studied through electrophysiology recording and fluorescent microscopy. Among the anatomical topics to be covered are gross and microscopic anatomy of nervous systems, axonal pathway tracing, and immunocytochemical localization of specific neuronal proteins. For data acquisition and data analysis, student will learn how to use software such as Pclamp and Image J.
Textbook: Students will need to purchase a lab manual, which is available at one of the bookstores.
Grades are based on several discussions/presentations, quizzes, an organized lab notebook and two exams.
This lab course can be used to satisfy requirements for the neuroscience concentration, the Cell and Molecular Biology Concentration and the Biology Concentration.
The eight hours per week are organized into prep lectures, lab sessions and discussion sessions. Prep lectures are used to introduce methodology and techniques performed in the lab, lab sessions are used to carry out experiments and discussion sessions are used to present and discuss results.