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Concentration in Neuroscience

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences-Newark
Concentration in Neuroscience

1. Goals:
To provide graduate students with a comprehensive introduction to the Neurosciences that encompasses both basic science and clinical aspects.

2.  Intended Applicant Pool:
Master’s Students

3. Competencies of Concentration Graduates:
Students will be able to:

Understand the essential properties of neural cells as they relate to their functions.

Understand the anatomy of the nervous system and how each division alone and in conjunction with other divisions coordinates neural functions.

Understand how to apply the research tools of modern biomedical science to neuroscience.

Acquire the knowledge required to understand the molecular and cellular bases for neurological and psychiatric diseases and their treatment.

4. Curriculum:

To obtain this Concentration, students will be required to complete a minimum of 8 credits of course work from the following courses, including the following 2 courses.

A. Fundamentals of Neuroscience (NEUR 5200Q) 3 cr. Fall

This course introduces students to the gross and microscopic anatomy of the nervous system with an emphasis upon the functions of each of the major subdivisions of the brain and spinal cord as well as the functions of each of the major cell types that comprise the CNS and PNS.  Students also will be provided information on the biochemistry and physiology of the nervous system. The student will gain an overall view of the field of neuroscience, experience in reading the literature and in presenting neuroscience topics to an audience.

B. Neurobiology of Disease (NEUR N5040), 3 cr. Spring

The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the neurobiological basis of selected medical disorders. This course will focus on the molecular, cellular and behavioral mechanisms underlying neurological and psychiatric disorders including epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Depression, Schizophrenia, Addiction, Autism, CNS infections, brain and spinal cord injury and stroke. Lectures will include an overview of neural systems implicated in the diseases, the major issues that are being addressed in basic research in order to elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neural dysfunction and the approaches used to treat disease symptoms. Classes will consist of lectures by the instructors and student presentations on topics related to the lecture themes. Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Neuroscience.

Students may choose from the following electives:

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (NEUR N5170 ),  2 cr. Fall

An interactive course examining the range of phenomena (e.g., insight, observational learning, addictions) from an integrative perspective.  After an initial series of lectures, students will be required to engage in round table format discussions representing the current state of understanding for fundamental aspects of learning and memory (e.g., systems, pharmacology, cellular and molecular, genetics).

Topics in Neuroimmunology (CBNP 5140Q), 2 cr. Spring

This course provides an overview of the bidirectional interaction between the central nervous system and the immune system.  This interaction is discussed in terms of innervations of lymphoid organs, effect of neurotransmitters on immune system, neuroendocrine pathways, expression and function of innate and adaptive immune system mediators in the nervous system and the immunological mechanisms underlying neurological diseases including multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, autism, epilepsy and others. 

Clinical Neuroscience (NEUR 5950Q) 2 cr. Fall

This course will provide an introduction to the practice of neurology and neurosurgery for graduate students in neuroscience and is designed to build on the basic principles covered in Fundamentals of Neuroscience course. The course will be taught by clinicians, most of whom specialize in the disease entities that will be the focus of their lectures. Students will first be introduced to details of the neurologic exam to emphasize the primary principle of lesion localization as the first step in formulating a differential diagnosis. This will be followed by strategies for planning an appropriate diagnostic workup (e.g. electroencephalography, electromyography, neuropsychological testing, radiological imaging of the brain and spinal cord with computerized tomography and magnetic resonance, cerebrospinal fluid analysis) and appropriate modalities for treating the underlying disease once it is diagnosed. Common neurological diseases and conditions including epilepsy, dementia, cerebrovascular disease, demyelinating diseases, altered level of consciousness, movement disorders, neuropathies, neuromuscular diseases, headaches, and infections of the nervous system will be covered. The ultimate goal is to provide a solid basis for understanding the functional anatomy and physiology of the nervous and neuromuscular systems, the impact of disease upon those functions and the ways in which a neurologist and neurosurgeon can diagnose and treat those diseases. Prerequisite: Students must have completed Fundamentals of Neuroscience.

Neuroendocrinology: Regulation of Physiological Processes (PHPY 5085Q), 2 cr. Spring

This course is offered through the Pharmacology & Physiology department. The focus of the course will be on the neuroendocrine regulation of physiological processes with an emphasis on metabolism. The format will be a mixture of didactic lectures and student presentations. The class will meet twice weekly for 2 hours for 7 weeks.  The first session of each week will use lectures to introduce a topic or neuroendocrine system. During the second session a student will lead a discussion of a current topic in the field covered earlier that week based around a presentation of a journal article. The instructor will provide a list of articles from which the students can choose. The final session will be an exam representing 30% of the grade. Presentations and class participation make up the remainder of the grade.

Topics in Neurochemistry & Neuropharmacology (CBNP 5250Q), 2 cr. Spring

This course will cover the following topics in neurochemistry: (a) Cell membranes: lipids and proteins of myelin; molecular components of axons and dendrites; pre and post-synaptic membranes; synaptic vesicles and other intracellular membranes; (b) Cytoskeleton of neurons and glia; (c) Energy metabolism of brain: positron emission tomography and use in disease detection; (d) Biochemistry of neurological diseases: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Prion diseases. After an introduction to Neuropharmacology, the following neurotransmitter systems will be discussed; (1) Acetylcholine; (2) Catecholamines; (3) Serotonin; (4) Glutamate and GABA; (5) Opioids. For each of the above neurotransmitter systems the following aspects will be discussed: Packaging; Release; Breakdown/uptake; Effect on receptor and major downstream events (LGICs, GPCRs); Pharmacology of the receptors (synthetic ligands- agonists, antagonists, partial agonists, inverse agonists, functionally selective agonists); Pathologies and pharmacotherapies. (Select disorders and pharmacotherapeutic approaches used to treat these disorders).

Prerequisite­: Students are strongly recommended to have completed an undergraduate course in biochemistry and Fundamentals of Neuroscience.

Medical Neuroscience 1 (Neur 5010Q), 4 Cr Spring

Medical Neuroscience is an integrated basic science/clinical course that is taught in the medical school. This course covers primarily neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, with some neurochemistry and neuropharmacology, as well as clinical correlations. This course is team taught using faculty from the Department of Neurology & Neuroscience; Neurosurgery; and Pathology. The course synthesizes basic science and clinical aspects of the knowledge that we have acquired in the neurosciences and utilizes this body of knowledge to provide a better understanding of disorders of the nervous system.

Neuroscience courses not listed above may be credited towards a Neuroscience Concentration upon review and approval of the neuroscience program coordinator.

5. Duration/Scheduling:
The 8 credit concentration must be completed within two years.  

6.  Concentration Coordinator:

Steve Levison, PhD
Professor of Neuroscience
Director, Laboratory for Regenerative Neurobiology
Department of Neurology and Neurosciences
NJMS UH Cancer Center
Office H-1226
205 South Orange Ave
Newark, NJ
07103
PH (973) 972-5162
Fax (973) 972-2668
Email:  levisosw@njms.rutgers.edu