PSL1024H - Advanced Topics: Neuroendocrinology

Course Coordinator:  Z. Pausova

This course is a graduate seminar course and focuses on the multidisciplinary approach to the study of neuroendocrine systems in health and disease.  There are six sections dealing with interrelated topics, all facilitated by professors with research expertise in the subject.  Each topic will be assessed at multiple levels, ranging from populations and patients to experimental models and molecules. 

The overall objective of the course is to broaden the interdisciplinary background of the participants.  The students will learn proper presentation techniques, expand their scientific writing abilities, and have the ability to critically judge scientific research in the field.  The most up-to-date research and technologies will be presented, which will facilitate the student's own research design and encourage independent scientific judgement.

Background knowledge of endocrinology is essential (PSL302Y is recommended).  No textbook provides adequate coverage for the material presented due to the up-to-date format, therefore, pdfs of recent research articles on each subject will be available for each lecture.

Three student presentations (20 mins plus 15-30 mins of discussion) based upon current research papers in selected areas for each class (2 hrs). Original papers and reviews will be used for student presentations and discussion. Active participation in discussions will be an absolute requirement. For each presentation, the presenter and two student discussants will be assigned to review the paper and asked to come to class with prepared questions.

Outlines of Topics/Areas: 
This course will focus upon selected topics in neuroendocrinology. Students will be expected to make presentations based upon appropriate literature listed by the teaching faculty. Participation in discussions will also be required. There will be minimal didactic lectures (5 min introduction to topic).

Presentation papers will be chosen from following topics:

Topic 1 Brain development (Tomas Paus)
Topic 2 Energy intake/expenditure (Zdenka Pausova)
Topic 3 Sleep/circadian rhythms (Robert Casper)
Topic 4 Stress (Stephen Matthews)
Topic 5 Cardiovascular function (Zdenka Pausova)
Topic 6 Reproduction (Mark Palmert)


a)  Oral presentation 40%
Each student is expected to present twice, and each presentation will be assessed by all faculty members and students in the classroom.
b)  Written reports 40%
A written report (3 pages mini review) will also be required for each student presentation within a week after the presentation (estimated to be two reports in total for the entire course) and will be marked by the faculty who directed that particular topic. This review should not only provide student’s own critique but also incorporate the comments of discussion in the classroom following a presentation.
c)  Active participation in discussions 20%.
Student participation in discussions will be assessed on the basis of his/her roles as discussants and general contribution to the in-class discussions.

No textbook, only recent publications on the subject area. Basic understanding of endocrinology, ie. PSL 302, recommended. Some knowledge of molecular biology techniques is an advantage.

Course Faculty Participants (core members):
Dr. R. Casper,, Physiology
Dr. S. Matthews,, Physiology
Dr. M. Palmert,, Physiology
Dr. T. Paus,, Psychology and Psychiartry
Dr. Z. Pausova,, Physiology

Each faculty member will organize and provide a list of key papers for discussion before the first class, and must be present in the classroom for the presentation of his/her selected paper(s). Core members are expected to participate in a majority of classes. Other faculty may be brought into the course as topic experts on an ad hoc basis.

Maximum: 18 students

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