Introduction to Neuroscience: Understanding the Brain

Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
I - June 25–July 13, 2018
II - July 17–August 3, 2018
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10 –11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.
Anamaria Alexandrescu, Stephen Keeley, Angela Radulescu

Course Description

This course is designed for students interested in the science of the brain, including its evolutionary origins, early development, and role in generating behavior. We explore theories of the brain as the seat of the self from ancient Greece to modern times, and investigate systems that make up the brain from the individual neuron to the entire central nervous system. We also look into how sensation, perception, and decision making work at the physiological level. The course blends historical trends in neuroscience with modern experiments and findings, and touches on major areas of research including animal studies, recording and imaging techniques, computational neuroscience, and neuropharmacology.

In-class small-group exercises, in addition to lectures, allow students to tangibly explore the ideas presented in class. Participants construct various models of the brain, critique professional neuroscientific papers as “peer-reviewers,” and visualize actual neural data with instructor guidance.


Anamaria Alexandrescu

Anamaria Alexandrescu received her B.S. in neuroscience summa cum laude from Florida Atlantic University. In her undergraduate career she was involved in research on the molecular mechanisms of strokes, as well as on the neurobiology of schizophrenia at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds an M.S. from New York University and is currently completing her Ph.D. in neuroscience and physiology at New York University School of Medicine. In her doctoral research Anamaria studies the neurobiology of learning and memory; in particular, she focuses on the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the synaptic plasticity underlying long-term memory formation. She has taught several undergraduate neuroscience courses at New York University and has extensive experience in teaching and mentoring middle school and high school students. 

Stephen Keeley

Stephen Keeley is a post-doctoral researcher in statistical neuroscience at Princeton University. He completed his Ph.D. at the Center for Neural Science at New York University under John Rinzel and Andre Fenton, where he developed firing rate models to study competitive gamma oscillations in CA1 and the roles interneuron subtypes play in impacting gamma dynamics. Stephen has extensive experience teaching and lecturing in neuroscience and applied mathematics. He has participated in a number of outreach programs in the New York City area and has taught at the high school and college level. His current research explores statistical models of calcium imaging data for the inference of neural receptive fields and latent network dynamics. 

Angela Radulescu

Angela Radulescu is a doctoral student in Princeton University's Neuroscience Institute and Department of Psychology pursuing a Ph.D. in computational cognitive neuroscience. She holds a B.A. in neuroscience from Columbia University and an M.A. in cognitive psychology from Princeton University. Angela has taught developmental psychology at Princeton and introductory psychology in New Jersey state prisons, through the Princeton Prison Teaching Initiative. Her research focuses on computational processes underlying reinforcement learning and decision-making; she is particularly interested in how organisms learn to adapt to the complexity of their environment by using selective attention efficiently when learning new tasks. 

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.