Courses

Courses

NS/PH 117. Brain Imaging: How Imaging Reveals the Brain and How the Brain Creates Behavior.

This introductory course surveys how breakthroughs in microscopy and imaging have enabled key discoveries about the brain. Students begin by investigating challenges the brain poses as an imaging sample, and discuss the origins of these challenges in fundamental physical principles. After studying the structure and function of the nervous system as well as the physiology of neurons, students investigate both classical and cutting-edge imaging techniques. These techniques are introduced in the context of specific neuroscience case studies relevant to human health and behavior. Familiarity with high-school-level algebra and trigonometry is expected. Enrollment limited to 49. [S] [Q] J. Castro, T. Gould.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NRSC 130. The Neuroscience of Morality.

This past election brought discussions of morality to the forefront. Topics ranged from political morality and the liberal/conservative divide, to group morality and intergroup relations as well as the role of emotions versus conscious reasoning in moral judgment. Indeed, how do we decide whether a statement, conviction, or action is morally wrong? Are there different kinds of moral wrongness? What role does our neurobiology play in moral decision making? This course considers the neuroscientific origins of morality by exploring how judgments about fairness, harm, justice, honesty, and responsibility are impacted by our biological foundations. Enrollment limited to 29. [S] L. Ligouri.

NS/PY 160. Introduction to Neuroscience.

In this course, students learn how the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems support mind and behavior. Topics introduced include neuroanatomy, developmental neurobiology, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, and neuropsychiatry. The course is aimed at prospective majors and nonmajors who are interested in exploring a field in which biology and psychology merge, and to which many other disciplines (e.g., chemistry, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, computer science) have contributed. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 215. Not open to students who have received credit for NS/PY 200. Enrollment limited to 39. (Biological.) Normally offered every year. J. Castro, M. Greene, N. Koven.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NRSC 208. Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society.

As our ability to measure, predict, and manipulate brain function progresses, so too does our need to grapple with the societal consequences of neuroscientific discovery. This course invites critical examination of the ethics surrounding real-world neuroscience applications in private and public sectors. With topics that include psychopharmacology and cognitive liberty, neuroimaging for lie detection, weaponization of neurotechnology, and neuroprivacy in an era of data mining, students engage two overarching questions: How does the practice of neuroscience simultaneously mirror and mold social attitudes and policy-making agendas? What does it mean to be a responsible consumer and/or producer of neuroscientific knowledge? Prerequisite(s): NRSC 130, NS/PH 117, NS/PY 160, or PSYC 215. Enrollment limited to 29. N. Koven, J. Castro.

BI/NS 308. Neurobiology/Lab.

An introduction to the molecular and cellular principles of neurobiology and the organization of neurons into networks. Also investigated are developmental and synaptic plasticity, analysis of signaling pathways in cells of the nervous system, and the development of neurobiological research, from studies on invertebrate systems to usage of stem cell-derived brain organoids. Laboratories include electrical recordings from nerve cells, computer simulation and modeling, and the use of molecular techniques in neurobiology. Prerequisite(s): BIO 242. Enrollment limited to 12 per laboratory section. [S] [L] [Q] Normally offered every year. M. Kruse.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NS/PY 319. Physiological Profiles of Mental Illness.

This course examines the physiology associated with a range of mental illnesses. Biological methods (e.g., neuroscience, autonomic psychophysiology) are used to explore the physiological underpinnings of mood, anxiety, psychotic, personality, and other psychological disorders. Clinical implications are discussed including evaluating the utility of incorporating physiological measurement into diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or PSYC 215 or 235. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 319. Enrollment limited to 19. (Biological.) Normally offered every year. K. White.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

CH/NS 320. Mechanisms of Memory.

This course engages students in ideas from the fields of neuroscience, chemistry, biology, and psychology to understand on a chemical level how memory is stored and recalled in the human brain. Using seminal experiments as a foundation, students differentiate between “learning” and “memory” and connect model systems from the molecule all the way to behavior. Multimodal assignments explore the broad scope of experimental design and the cutting-edge subtleties of what it means to store and access information in the brain. Prerequisite(s): BIO 242 and CHEM 217. [S] A. Kennedy.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NS/PY 330. Cognitive Neuroscience/Lab.

This course explores how the neurological organization of the brain influences the way people think and act. Particular emphasis is given to the brain systems that support object recognition, spatial processing, attention, language, memory, and executive functions. Students also investigate clinical syndromes and unusual cognitive phenomena. A wide range of research techniques is introduced, including positron emission topography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, neuropsychological assessment, event-related potentials, magnetoencephalography, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or 363 or PSYC 215, 222, or 230. Enrollment limited to 39. (Biological.) Normally offered every year. N. Koven.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NS/PY 357. Computational Neuroscience.

In this course, students examine formal models of brain function to determine how neurons give rise to thought. Examining real datasets, students explore how the brain encodes and represents information at cellular, network, and systems scales, and they discuss ideas about why the brain is organized as it is. Specific topics include spike statistics, reverse correlation and linear models of encoding, dimensionality reduction, cortical oscillations, neural networks, and algorithms for learning and memory. All assignments and most class work emphasizes computer programming in Matlab though no programming background is assumed or expected. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 and PSYC 218 or any 200-level mathematics course. Enrollment limited to 15. Normally offered every year. M. Greene.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NRSC 360. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Normally offered every semester. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

NS/PY 361. Topics in Affective Neuroscience.

This seminar examines recent advances in the interdisciplinary field of affective neuroscience. Topics include methodology, cognitive components of emotion, emotion in personality and temperament, neuroscience of positive and negative affect, moral emotions, unconscious emotions, evolutionary perspectives of affect, emotion dysregulation and psychopathology as well as neuroethics and neurolaw. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or PSYC 215. Not open to first-year students or sophomores. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 361. Enrollment limited to 15. L. Ligouri.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology/Lab.

The course is an introduction to the concepts and methods used in the study of physiological mechanisms underlying behavior. Topics include an introduction to neurophysiology and neuroanatomy; an examination of sensory and motor mechanisms; and the physiological bases of ingestion, sexual behavior, reinforcement, learning, memory, and abnormal behavior. Laboratory work includes examination of neuroanatomy, development of neurosurgical and histological skills, and behavioral testing of rodents. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or BI/NS 308. (Biological.) [L] Normally offered every year. J. Castro.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NS/PY 364. Psychobiology of Smell.

Smells are the most enigmatic percepts, incomparably vivid and immediate, yet seemingly impossible to describe or quantify. This course begins with a brief philosophical and historical inquiry into the nature of smell, and then critically examines the recent scientific literature in olfactory neuroscience. Topics include the molecular biology of odor detection, neural coding and representation of odors, the role of odors in social and sexual behavior, and the relationships among odor, memory, emotion, and language. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or PSYC 215. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 364. Enrollment limited to 15. Normally offered every year. J. Castro.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NS/PY 382. Cultural Neuroscience.

Cultural neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field of research that seeks to understand the interrelation of culture, brain, and behavior. This rapidly advancing discipline investigates how environment, beliefs, and traditions shape human cognitive function and, in turn, how foundational neural mechanisms impact sociocultural processes. In this seminar, students review and discuss the theoretical and empirical literature addressing cross-cultural research on attention, autobiographical memory, emotion, intergroup dynamics, and social conflict. Students develop a nuanced understanding of neuroimaging measures applied cross-culturally and critically evaluate a body of research that attempts to address "real world" scenarios. Prerequisite(s): AS/PY 260, NRSC 130, NS/PY 160, PSYC 215, or PY/SO 210. Enrollment limited to 15. L. Ligouri.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NRSC 457. Capstone Thesis in Neuroscience.

Open to seniors majors with permission of the program faculty. A neuroscience thesis involves independent laboratory research on a topic broadly related to neuroscience. This may take the form of a one- or two-semester project conducted under the supervision of a Bates faculty member, or participation in a summer neuroscience-related research internship off-campus that culminates in data analysis and writing during the fall semester. With the latter option, students take responsibility for finding and securing a summer research position in neuroscience that involves some form of data collection, and students must also secure permission from the summer research mentor to bring data back to Bates for analysis and write-up. Students register for NRSC 457 in the fall semester and/or for NRSC 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both NRSC 457 and 458. Instructor permission is required. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

NRSC 458. Capstone Thesis in Neuroscience.

Open to seniors majors with permission of the program faculty. A neuroscience thesis involves independent laboratory research on a topic broadly related to neuroscience. This may take the form of a one- or two-semester project conducted under the supervision of a Bates faculty member, or participation in a summer neuroscience-related research internship off-campus that culminates in data analysis and writing during the fall semester. With the latter option, students take responsibiligy for finding and securing a summer research position in neuroscience that involves some form of data collection, and students must also secure permissin from the summer research mentor to bring data back to Bates for analysis and write-up. Students register for NRSC 457 in the fall semester and/or for NRSC 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both NRSC 457 and 458. Instructor permission is required. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

NRSC 459. Community-Engaged Learning Capstone.

Open to senior majors with permission of the program faculty, this capstone project involves creative collaboration with a campus or community partner to produce a body of neuroscience-related work that benefits that partner. Students complete fifty to sixty hours of work in a campus/community placement and engage in structured writing exercises specific to the placement. Students may wish to consult with the Harward Center for Community Partnerships as they develop their ideas; the idea is subject to approval by the neuroscience faculty. Instructor permission is required. [W3] Normally offered every semester. Staff.

NRSC 460. Capstone Seminar on Cellular Neuroscience.

Open to seniors with departmental permission of the program faculty. Cellular neuroscience encompasses many subfields that include an analysis of the interaction of different molecules in determining neuron and glial cell behavior. Students in this course engage in research-related activities and attend seminars by experts in the fields of cellular neuroscience. Students work individually or in groups to design novel hypotheses based on a close reading of the literature and write research proposals that explain how to test those hypotheses. Prerequisite(s): BIO 242 and one of the following: BI/NS 308, BIO 328 or 337, or NS/PY 363. Not open to students who have received credit for BIO 460. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [W3] Normally offered every year. M. Kruse.

NS/PY 461. Capstone Seminar on Psychoendocrinology.

Open to seniors with permission of the neuroscience or psychology faculty. This seminar focuses on the topic of social cognition as it applies to peptide levels in order to investigate the neurochemistry of emotional intelligence, theory of mind, and self-perception as well as probe their intermediate cognitive/affective mechanisms. Students work in groups to test novel hypotheses using human subjects and, through the research process, learn methods of experimental neuropsychological assessment and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Prerequisite(s): BIO 244 or PSYC 218 and NS/PY 330. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [W3] N. Koven.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NRSC 462. Capstone Seminar on Computational Neuroscience.

Open to seniors with permission of the program faculty. Computational neuroscience applies quantitative techniques and formalisms to investigate neural data and to model neural phenomena. This seminar focuses on the computational analysis of high-dimensional data sets charting gene expression throughout the brain, with the goal of understanding the functional and hierarchical organization of brain systems. Students first learn essential computer programming and analysis techniques, and then work in teams to propose and investigate a topic of their choosing. Specific topics include the high-throughput analysis of brain tissue using in situ hybridization, image processing, clustering, and dimensionality reduction. The course also includes professional development and discussions with practitioners. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [W3] J. Castro.

NS/PY 463. Capstone Seminar on Human Cognitive Neuroscience.

This seminar focuses on the end-to-end process of scientific discovery using the tools of human cognitive neuroscience. Students work in groups to uncover an open empirical question in the areas of perception, attention, or memory, then design and execute an experiment aimed at answering this question using electroencephalography or eye tracking in human subjects. Students gain experience in modern data analysis techniques including multivariate pattern analysis, time-frequency analysis, image processing, and representational similarity analysis. Prerequisite(s): BIO 244 or PSYC 218 and NS/PY 330. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [W3] M. Greene.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

Short Term Courses

NRSC s20. Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society.

As our ability to measure, predict, and manipulate brain function progresses, so too does our need to grapple with the societal consequences of neuroscientific discovery. This course invites critical examination of the ethics surrounding real-world neuroscience applications in private and public sectors. With topics that include psychopharmacology and cognitive liberty, neuroimaging for lie detection, weaponization of neurotechnology, and neuroprivacy in an era of data mining, students engage two overarching questions: How does the practice of neuroscience simultaneously mirror and mold social attitudes and policy-making agendas? What does it mean to be a responsible consumer and/or producer of neuroscientific knowledge? Prerequisite(s): NRSC 130, NS/PH 117, NS/PY 160, or PSYC 215. Not open to students who have received credit for NRSC 208. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 29. N. Koven, J. Castro.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

NRSC s50. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair is required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term. Open to first-year students. Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)