Fall 2024 Featured Courses

GRS BI 645 A1 – Cellular and Molecular Neurophysiology

Description: This course examines two fundamental building blocks of brain function, voltage-gated ion channels and synaptic transmission.  We first discuss the basic properties of ion channels, namely their molecular structures and kinetics. We next consider how ion channels shape firing patterns in neurons of mammalian CNS  and how firing patterns can be modulated through subtle variations in ion channel compositions. Second, we consider basic molecular processes underlying synaptic transmission.  Based on the understanding of neuronal firing patterns and synaptic transmission, we then explore how these basic properties shape neuronal communication at network level. We discuss examples where complex network functions such as brain waves, attention, consciousness, and auditory processing can be traced to, and explained by, basic properties of ion channels or synaptic functions. In the laboratory, we perform extracellular and intracellular recordings from motor axons and muscle fibers of crayfish, which allow us to observe how action potentials pair up with synaptic potentials in real time. The whole class will perform a project over the course of a semester with the expectation that, collectively, the data should be of sufficient quantity and quality for publication. Some class projects in the past have led to publications on the effects of pesticides and on drugs treating epilepsy. In the coming semesters, we plan to examine the same nerve-muscle preparation of a parthenogenetic crayfish (marble crayfish). These animals are all females and are genetic clones of each other. We will start by examining electrophysiological and morphological properties of nerve-muscle preparation since no previous studies have been performed in this species,  which is believed to appear through a mutation recently (1997).  Furthermore, the genome of marble crayfish has been sequenced,  which may be a valuable resource for molecular pharmacological studies of ion channels. Prereq: CAS BI 203 or CAS BI 315 or BI 325 or CAS NE 203 or consent of instructor. 

Contact Information: Jen-Wei Lin (jenwelin@bu.edu)

Lecture: Tue/Thu 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm

Lab: D1 Mon 2:30 pm – 6:15 pm


GRS MA 665 A1 –Introduction to Modeling and Data Analysis in Neuroscience, Sept 3- Oct 17

Description: An introduction to the basic techniques of quantifying neural data and developing mathematical models of neural activity. Major focus on computational methods using computer software and graphical methods for model analysis. Prereq: (CASMA122 OR CASMA124) or equivalent, and graduate standing, or consent of instructor. 2 credits

Contact Information: Mark Kramer (mak@math.bu.edu)

Lecture: Tue/Thu, 12:30 pm-1:45 pm

Location: 685-725 Comm Ave CAS B25B


GRS MA 666 A1-Advanced Modeling and Data Analysis in Neuroscience, Oct 22-Dec 10

Description: Advanced techniques to characterize neural voltage data and analyze mathematical models of neural activity. Major focus on computational methods using computer software and graphical methods for model analysis. Prereq:(CASMA226 OR CASMA231) or equivalent. Graduate standing required, or consent of instructor. 4 credits

Contact Information: Mark Kramer (mak@math.bu.edu)

Lecture: Tue/Thu, 12:30 pm-1:45 pm   

Location: 685-725 Comm Ave CAS B25B


GRS MA 681 A1 – Accelerated Introduction to Statistical Methods for Quantitative Research, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description: Introduction to statistical methods relevant to research in the computational sciences. Core topics include probability theory, estimation theory, hypothesis testing, linear models, GLMs, and experimental design. Emphasis on developing a firm conceptual understanding of the statistical paradigm through data analyses. 4 credits

Contact Information: Ankan Ganguly

Lecture: Tue/Thu, 9:30 am – 10:45 am

Discussion: GRS MA681 A2, AC Stat Methods, Monday, 1:25 pm – 2:15 pm          

Discussion: GRS MA681 A3, AC Stat Methods, Monday, 2:30 pm – 3:20 pm         


SPH BS 704 A1 – Introduction to Biostatistics, Sept 3- Dec 17

Description: This course provides an overview of biostatistical methods, and gives students the skills to perform, present, and interpret basic statistical analyses. Topics include the collection, classification, and presentation of descriptive data; the rationale of estimation and hypothesis testing; analysis of variance; analysis of contingency tables; correlation and regression analysis; multiple regression, logistic regression, and the statistical control of confounding; sample size and power considerations; survival analysis. Special attention is directed to the ability to recognize and interpret statistical procedures in articles from the current literature. Students will use the R statistical package to analyze public health related data. 3 credits

Contact Information:  TBA

Lecture: Monday, 6:00 pm – 8:20 pm

Location: Med campus


CASBI 503 A1 -Neuroimmunology, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description: Neuroimmunology is a burgeoning field in neuroscience. This course examines current topics including the role of glia in brain development, health, and disease, glia-neuron crosstalk, impact of stress and environment on the neuroimmune system, and cell trafficking into the brain. Students will be engaged in additional weekly reading and discussion of scientific research papers and review articles to prepare for the in-class discussion. Additional out of class time will be required to work on individual weekly written assignments and discussions with student groups on presentations, debates, and digital multimedia projects.

Contact Information: Tuan Leng Tay (tltay@bu.edu)

Lecture: TuTh 9:00 am – 10:45 am

Location: 685-725 Comm Ave CAS 229


CAS CN 510 A1 – Principles and Methods of Cognitive and Neural Modeling, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description: Explores psychological, biological, mathematical, and computational foundations of behavioral and brain modeling. Topics include organizational principles, mechanisms, local circuits, network architectures, cooperative and competitive non-linear feedback systems, associative learning systems, and self-organizing code-compression systems. The adaptive resonance theory model unifies many course themes. CAS CN 510 and 520 may be taken concurrently. 4 credits

Contact Information: Arash Yazdanbakhsh (yazdan@bu.edu)

Lecture:  Tue/Thu, 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Location: 665 Comm Ave CDS 163GRS


CAS MA 769 A1 -Mathematical Neuroscience, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description: Fundamental questions, models, and methods in mathematical and theoretical neuroscience. For example: biophysical and reduced single-neuron models, synaptic plasticity and learning, population density and mean field approaches. Mathematical methods as needed, such as applied dynamical systems and stochastic processes. 4 credits

Contact Information: Gabriel Ocker (gkocker@bu.edu)

Lecture: TuTh 9:30 am – 10:45 am

Location: 64-86 Cummington Mall PSY B39


CAS NE/BI 520 A1 – Sensory Neurobiology, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description:  A broad survey of sensory system function in both model and non-model organisms, focusing on fundamental principles of sensory transduction and processing. This class focuses mainly on the senses that are not covered heavily in introductory neuroscience classes, including taste, touch, olfaction, and specialized non-human senses such as echolocation. Vision is not a central focus. Students will learn to read and discuss primary literature. Prerequisites: (CASBI325 OR CASNE203) or consent of instructor.  4 credits

Contact Information: Meg Younger (myounger@bu.edu)

Lecture: TuTh 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Discussion: CASNE 520 B1, We 4:40 pm – 5:30 pm


CAS PS/NE 531 A1 -Imaging and Manipulating Memories, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description: The nature of memory engrams, the physical manifestations of experiences in the brain, will be explored at the systems neuroscience level by surveying primary literature. Prereq: PS231 or PS337 or PS339 or BI325 or consent of instructor. 4 credits

Contact Information: Steve Ramirez (dvsteve@bu.edu)

Lecture: TuTh 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Location: 64-86 Cummington Mall PSY 153


GRS PS 822 A1 – Visual Perception, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description: The study of visual perception has often been at the leading edge of neuroscience and shaped our thinking about how the brain works. This class introduces major intellectual traditions and experimental findings in the field of visual perception, with a neuroscience focus. We also aim to build skills for science including understanding methods (e.g., fMRI, neurophysiology, computational approaches, psychophysics); close reading of scientific papers; analyzing and constructing scientific arguments; and oral and written communication about science.

Contact Information: Rachel Denison (rdenison@bu.edu)

Lecture: Tu 3:30 pm – 6:15 pm

Location: 64-86 Cummington Mall PSY 153


GMS AN 777 A1 – Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Neuroscience, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description: The course is designed to impart graduate-level knowledge of molecular biology as it pertains to CNS development, maturation, connectivity, and maintenance. The course does not have a species-specific emphasis, but rather, draws on knowledge obtained from multiple species ranging from invertebrates to vertebrates. Students will be exposed to a broad spectrum of molecular neuroscience topics extending from nucleic acid regulation and protein expression to extracellular and intracellular signaling pathways. How these processes serve as the underlying principles of cell division, differentiation, cell migration, patterning, and cell survival will be presented both in lectures and in readings and presentations of primary research articles. Graduate Prerequisites: consent of instructor. 4 credits 

Contact Information: Ella Zeldich (ezeldich@bu.edu)

Lecture: TuTh 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Location: 685-725 Comm Ave CAS 322


GMS PM 820 A1 – Behavioral Pharmacology, Sept 3- Dec 10

Description: This course examines the interaction between behavior and classes of drugs that affect the central nervous system. Emphasis is given to how behavioral studies assist understanding of mental disorders, including addictions, anxiety and mood disorders, pain syndromes, and dementia. Since discovering novel compounds for human neuropsychiatric diseases requires the development of valid and useful animal behavioral models for the specific disorder/domains under study, this course will address the current state of knowledge about animal models of mental illnesses and will focus on the neuropharmacological bases of these diseases. Faculty overview of a topic is followed by a student-led discussion of an assigned research paper.

Contact Information: Pietro Cottone (cottone@bu.edu), Valentina Sabino (vsabino@bu.edu)

Lecture: Fr 3:00 pm – 4:50 pm

Location: med campus