Course: Mysteries of the Brain

HC 441H

Professor: Nathan Tublitz

This course provides science and non-science honors college students with a basic understanding of neuroscience, the study of the brain. Students acquire an understanding of the complexities underlying brain function, learn about the methods and fundamental processes underlying scientific research, gain an appreciation of the role and limitations of basic biomedical research in our society, and explore ethical dilemmas in neuroscience research. Students also improve critical thinking and communication skills through oral presentations and written work.

The course begins with a brief overview of the scientific method followed by several lectures on the structure and function of the nervous system. These are followed by in-depth discussions on a wide range of nervous system diseases, e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s chorea, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), depression, bipolar or others, chosen and presented by students. The course also consists of a lab exercise, an oral debate by the entire class, visits from a local scientist and neurologist, a trip to the UO fMRI lab and several demonstrations. Students are expected to give at least one oral presentation, read scientific literature, write several papers and participate in classroom discussions.