completed with certificate
SYNAPSES, NEURONS AND BRAIN
(Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Prof. Idan Segev)
Probably the greatest challenge of the “21st century of the brain” is to understand how sub-cellular and cellular neuronal processes give rise to behavior, movement, perception, emotions, memory and creativity. This course will discuss, step-by-step, how modern molecular, optical, electrical, anatomical and theoretical methods have provided fascinating insights into the operation of the elementary building blocks of brains and, most importantly, how neuronal mechanisms underlie memory and learning processes. We will next discuss why computer simulations are so essential for understanding both neuronal “life ware” and the emergence of networks dynamics (e.g., as in the “Blue Brain Project”). The course will start by highlighting a few recent brain-excitements, including treating the sick brain via electrical stimulation, recent attempts at “reading the brain code” for brain-machine interfaces, new neuro-anatomical techniques (“Brainbow” and connectomics) and physiological methods (optogenetics) that enables us to record or activate the living, behaving brain at single cell resolution. We will end by discussing emerging frontiers in brain research, including the interaction between brain research and the arts. As an added bonus, a lecture on perception, action, cognition and emotions will be taught by an acclaimed neuroscientist, Prof. Israel Nelken.
FUNDAMENTALS OF NEUROSCIENCE
(Harvard - Prof. David Cox)
Fundamentals of Neuroscience is a three part course that explores the structure and function of the nervous system -- from the microscopic inner workings of a single nerve cell, to the staggering complexity of the brain, and beyond to the social interactions and societal dynamics that our brains make possible. We’ll take a look at how our nervous system enables every part of human experience -- our senses, movement, personality, emotion -- and how drugs and disease can alter and disrupt normal function. In this first module (MCB80.1x) we’ll look at how individual neurons use electricity to transmit information. We’ll invite you to build up a neuron, piece by piece, using interactive simulations, and we’ll take you on field trips in and around Harvard and Boston, bring you into the lab, and show you how to conduct DIY neuroscience experiments on your own.
past, Ongoing & upcoming
(Duke University - Prof. Leonard E. White)
Medical Neuroscience explores the organization and physiology of the human central nervous system. This course is designed for firstyear students in graduate-level health professions programs. It builds upon knowledge acquired in prior studies of cellular and molecular biology, general physiology, and human anatomy. The course provides students an understanding of the essential principles of neurological function, from cellular and molecular mechanisms of neural signaling and plasticity to the organization and function of sensory and motor systems. This course emphasizes the neural and vascular anatomy of the human brain and spinal cord, providing an anatomical framework for localizing lesions within the central nervous system (CNS). It also emphasizes the neurobiological foundation for understanding cognition, mental illness and disorders of human behavior. The overall goal is to equip students in the health professions for interpreting impairments of sensation, action and cognition that accompany neurological injury, disease or dysfunction. Students currently pursuing advanced studies in the brain sciences will benefit from this course by learning the fundamentals of functional human neuroanatomy and how neuroscience discovery translates to clinical practice. Health professionals will benefit from the opportunity to review and update knowledge of foundational medical neuroscience.
GOOD BRAIN, BAD BRAIN: BASICS
(University of Birmingham - Prof. Alison Cooper)
This course is designed to be an introduction to the human brain and aims to provide basic information and explanations for the non-specialist so that you may better understand your own amazing brain. We will look at what it’s made of, how these components are organized and how they function. This information is helping neuroscientists across the globe to understand how the brain is able to do everything from stopping you falling off your bike to making you feel sad that your football team lost their game to helping you learn how your brain works! Like all specialist areas, neuroscience uses jargon such that a word or short phrase can carry the meaning of perhaps a paragraph of description. So, the basics of the brain course is designed to introduce you to this jargon and the key biological processes underpinning brain function. This means that, if you subsequently further your studies on the brain, you will be familiar and confident with the basics.
INTRODUCTORY HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY
(Duke University - Prof. Emma Jakoi & Jennifer Carbrey)
The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to human physiology. The students learn to recognize and explain the basic concepts that govern each organ and organ system and their integration to maintain homeostasis, as well as some clinical aspects of failure of these systems. The organ systems covered include: nervous, muscle, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, male and female reproductive, gastrointestinal, and urinary. This human physiology course is targeted to undergraduate and graduate students with an elementary background in biology. In a typical undergraduate setting, this course would fulfill requirements for students applying to professional health science programs such as medical school, nursing, physician assistant, pathologists’ assistant, physical therapy, and doctorate of physical therapy. In addition it is an ideal course in preparation for the MCAT exam.
INTRODUCTION TO BIOETHICS
(Georgetown University - Prof. Tom Beauchamp et al.)
Should we clone humans? Who owns our DNA? How much control should we have over how and when we die? When does medical treatment turn into medical enhancement — and should we care? Is rationing health care good, bad, necessary — or all of the above? This course will explore fundamental moral issues that arise in medicine, health, and biotechnology. Get behind the headlines — and polarized debates — and join others who want to think deeply and openly about these problems. Some are as old as life itself: the vulnerability of illness, the fact of death. Some are new, brought on by a dizzying pace of technology that can unsettle our core ideas about human nature and our place in the world. And nearly all intersect with issues of racial and gender equality, as well as policies affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations. Designed to introduce students to the range of issues that define bioethics, together with core concepts and skills, this course should be of interest to undergraduates, health care professionals, policy makers, and anyone interested in philosophy or ethics.
THE HUMAN BODY AS A MACHINE
(Flinders University - Prof. Colin Carati)
The human body is made up of many individual parts that work together in a highly interactive and coordinated way. This course introduces the building blocks that make up the body, and how these are structured and maintained at a cellular level. We highlight the cardiovascular, hormonal and nervous systems, as critical coordination and control parts of the body. We investigate the structure of the musculoskeletal system, and how it helps us move through, and manipulate, our environment. We conclude by reviewing how the body replaces itself to create a new human being.
INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY AS A SCIENCE
(Georgia Institute of Technology - Prof. Anderson Smith)
Since we were young children, we have tried to understand, to predict, and to control behavior. We first dealt with our parents and teachers, and later our friends and companions. This course shows, however, how the understanding, prediction, and control of behavior require scientific validation. By using tools that are systematic and objective, psychology has learned how people behave and think. Psychology is a very broad field of study and the course will include discussions of the brain and nervous system, sensation and perception, learning, memory, intelligence and thinking, lifespan development, emotion and motivation, personality, social behavior, behavioral disorders, and psychological treatment of disorders. The course will include short lecture modules, demonstrations and experiments, and writing assignments.
INTRODUCTION TO COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE
(MIT - Prof. Abby Noyce)
Thought, learning, perception, reasoning, and language are all cognitive abilities powered by the soft squishy gray stuff inside our skulls. After a quick-and-dirty introduction to neurons and the brain, we'll examine several aspects of human cognition and look at the neurophysiology that underlies them. We'll also discuss methods used to study these areas, read some current research, and navigate the wilds of the science library.
How does the brain function? How does it interact with the body in order to control and mediate behaviors and actions? Though psychologists have long studied these questions, the workings of the brain remain, in large part, a mystery. In this course, we will explore the field of psychology devoted to the pursuit of these questions: neuropsychology or the study of the structure and function of the brain as it relates to psychological processes. We will study significant findings in the field, noting that technological improvements have often enabled substantial advancements in field research. You may, for example, take MRIs or PET scans – devices used to diagnose medical problems – for granted, but these have only relatively recently enabled researchers to study the brain in greater detail. While a formal background in biology is not required for this course, you will find that neuropsychology relies heavily on the discipline. In fact, psychologists and biologists have often explored similar issues, though typically from vastly different perspectives. Accordingly, you may find supplemental biology materials useful if you are entirely unfamiliar with the brain and the nervous system. This course will begin with a brief history of neuropsychology. We will then study the nervous system and the structure of the brain, identifying its different lobes and cortices, before concluding with a discussion of how the brain provides us with higher functioning abilities (i.e., learning, remembering, and communicating).
DRUGS AND THE BRAIN
(Caltech - Dr. Henry A. Lester)
What happens in the body when a person smokes a cigarette? After several weeks of smoking? When a person takes anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medication? A drug for pain, migraine, or epilepsy? A recreational drug? Neuroscientists are beginning to understand these processes. You’ll learn how drugs enter the brain, how they act on receptors and ion channels, and how “molecular relay races” lead to changes in nerve cells and neural circuits that far outlast the drugs themselves. “Drugs and the Brain” also describes how scientists are gathering the knowledge required for the next steps in preventing or alleviating Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and drug abuse.
YOUR BODY IN THE WORLD: ADAPTING TO YOUR NEXT BIG ADVENTURE
(Stanford - Prof. Anne Friedlander)
Welcome to the class! We are excited that you want to explore your body's place in the world. Your body is an amazing machine that is equipped with the capacity to deal with the world's great stressors. This course may be different from other courses you may have taken online. Our intention is to create more than just a class conveying information; we want to create an educational experience. You will be engaged in stories about physiology from across the country, develop relationships with the instructors as they sacrifice their bodies for the good of science, and be awed by the complexity and adaptability of the human body. You will also have the opportunity to hear from top scientists and adventurers in the field. The class will illustrate and explain how your body responds to cold, heat, stress, age, altitude, g-forces, diving and zero gravity. Video travel locations include Stanford, Harvard, MIT, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Pikes Peak, Las Vegas, and Livermore California.
INTRODUCTION TO CLINICAL NEUROLOGY
(University of California - Prof. Daniel Lowenstein)
Neurologic diseases are common and costly. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, neurologic disorders affect over 1 billion people worldwide, constitute 12% of the global burden of disease, and cause 14% of global deaths. Furthermore, the number of deaths caused by neurological diseases have more than doubled in the past 10 years, and this number will undoubtedly substantially increase in the coming years as the average age of the world’s population increase. This course will provide a basic overview of the most common and important neurological diseases and conditions affecting people worldwide: stroke, epilepsy, headache, back pain, neurodegenerative diseases, movement disorders, alterations of consciousness, nervous system infections, traumatic brain injury, and neuromuscular diseases. For each topic, a neurology professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who has specialized knowledge about the subject area, and who teaches this material to UCSF medical students and other health professional students, will focus on the fundamentals of the clinical presentation and evaluation of people with these disorders, as well as some of the additional diagnostic approaches and options for treatment. Although not a primary focus of the course, the faculty will also touch on some of the most pertinent disease mechanisms to help students appreciate the rationale for current therapies and the many questions that need to be answered to achieve effective treatments and cures.
Neurobiology is all about the biology of our nervous system, from the spinal cord to the brain—and everything in between. The nervous system allows us to have conscious thoughts, enables us to learn, and gives us voluntary control of our muscles. Our understanding of neuroscience begins with the ancient Egyptians, who practiced surgical drilling to treat certain neurological disorders. The earliest philosophers believed that the heart (not the brain) was the center of consciousness and intelligence. As scientific knowledge matured and developed, philosophers disproved that belief but discovered that there is much more to neurobiology than “the brain.” Researchers found that there are literally hundreds of billions of nerves and other cells that cooperate and share information to make the nervous system work. Accordingly, neurobiology is an extremely complex field of study. This course is designed to provide you with an overview of the most important areas of neurobiological study. We will not pay much attention to those aspects of the nervous system that continue to baffle scientists today (and there are many!). After a general introduction and review of pertinent scientific concepts, we will take a look at cellular signaling (the way in which nerve cells communicate with one another). Next, you will learn about neuron development and plasticity, or the ways in which neurons adapt and shape their connections throughout our lifetimes. Lastly, we examine the larger systems of neurobiology, such as the sensory and motor systems, and take a look at the complex phenomena of memory and emotion.
FOUNDATIONS OF PSYCHOLOGY
(RMIT University - Prof. Andrew Francis)
One of the reasons we want to understand human nature is so we can help people with psychological disorders. This course lays a foundation for understandings and further study in psychology. You will learn how psychologists go about conceptualising and studying human nature, and how the brain works to produce thoughts, emotions and complex behaviour. We'll also look closely at how psychologists approach the diagnosis and treatment of the ‘common colds’ of psychopathology – anxiety and mood disorders.
BRAIN, LIFESTYLE AND LEARNING
Welcome to the web page of the 1st International Digital Spring School ‘Brain, Lifestyle, and Learning’. This Digital Spring School was held from March 2nd 2013 till April 20th 2013. It provided the participants with the latest scientific insights about Physical activity, Nutrition, and Sleep in relation to brain, learning, and cognition. Also the societal implications of these lifestyle factors for learning and cognition in lifelong perspective and the relevance for educational practice got attention. Furthermore, it was an excellent chance for the participants to express their own knowledge and expertise. You may wonder why it took 7 weeks? That is because of its unique format! The Digital Spring School took place according to web-based distance education. It incorporated collaborative learning, interactive webinars, and discussion. This means that the entire Digital Spring School ‘Brain, Lifestyle, and Learning’ was accessible for everybody with access to Internet. Besides active online attendance during 7 one-hour live sessions the participants could schedule their own study and work time.
NEUROSCIENCE AND BEHAVIOR
(MIT - Prof. Gerald Schneider)
This course covers the relation of structure and function at various levels of neuronal integration. Topics include functional neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, sensory and motor systems, centrally programmed behavior, sensory systems, sleep and dreaming, motivation and reward, emotional displays of various types, "higher functions" and the neocortex, and neural processes in learning and memory.
SYSTEMS NEUROSCIENCE LAB
(MIT - Prof. James DiCarlo)
Systems Neuroscience Laboratory consists of a series of laboratories designed to give students experience with basic techniques for conducting systems neuroscience research. It includes sessions on anatomical, neurophysiological, and data acquisition and analysis techniques, and the ways these techniques are used to study nervous system function. Training is provided in the art of scientific writing with feedback designed to improve writing skills. Assignments include weekly preparation for lab sessions, two major research reports and a series of basic computer programming tutorials (MATLAB®). The class involves the use of experimental animals. Enrollment is limited.