PSL1068H - Advanced Topics: Molecular Basis of Behaviour

Course Coordinators: M. Zhuo

Description:
The goal of the course is for students to gain a broad perspective on the molecular basis of behavior. Students will discuss and evaluate advanced topics in the molecular determinants of behavior; from physiological to pathological mechanisms of plasticity. More specifically, we will explore learning and memory, pain and drug abuse.

Format:
Two student presentation (1 hour each) per class, based upon current research papers in selected areas for each class. Original papers and reviews will be used for student presentations and discussion. Active participation in discussions will be an absolute requirement. For each presentation, two students discussants in addition to the presenter will be assigned to review the paper and asked to come to class with prepared questions.

Content:
This course will focus on selected topics in molecular basis of behavior. Students will be expected to make presentations based on appropriate literature listed by the teaching faculty. Participation in discussions will also be required. Presentation topics will be chosen from the following topics:

LI Topic 1: Synapse and Plasticity
LI Topic 2: Learning and Memory
LI Topic 3: Persistent Pain
LI Topic 4: Drug Addiction

Students need not have a strong background in all topics covered. In fact, one of the major goals of the course is to broaden the interdisciplinary background of the participants.

Evaluation:
Participation in weekly class discussions: 10%

Weekly mini-assignments: 20%
Each student must prepare one thoughtful question for each of the 8 sessions; 2.5 marks per assignment.

Oral Presentations (2x15%): 30%
Two original research papers will be assigned to the student, who will then do a positive review/critique of one paper and a negative review/critique  of the other paper (normally a 20-minute presentation each).

Final Written Report: 40%
Final written report will be a 2500-word mini-review and critique on an assigned paper; due at the end of the course.

Last updated: 26-Nov-2015

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