This course is designed to introduce students to foundational concepts in neuroscience in an immersive classroom environment blending traditional lectures, weekly in-class projects, and hands-on work.
We begin with an applied introduction to cellular biology focusing on the structure of the brain and spinal cord, from individual neurons to the entire central nervous system. We then study how this biological organization enables some remarkable features of living systems - sensation, perception, and action - and how these features have changed over the course of evolution. Using this knowledge, we turn our focus to big questions in modern neuroscientific research, including theories of attention, memory, and consciousness. We wrap up the course with a discussion of the societal contributions - and ethical implications - of neuroscience.
Participants gain a rigorous introduction to key ideas in the field of neuroscience and a foundation with which to pursue further studies.
Rachel Swanson is pursuing her Ph.D. in systems and computational neuroscience at New York University, where she works with Dr. Gyorgy Buzsaki. She has taught at both high school and undergraduate levels, including coursework in psychology, neuroscience, and statistics. Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms that enable the formation, storage, and retrieval of memories. In her spare time Rachel is involved in neuroscience outreach programs through NYU. She holds a B.S. from Rutgers University in biochemistry and an M.S. from Cornell University in evolutionary neuroscience.