Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part I
Discover what makes your brain tick in this first module of a three-part introductory series in neuroscience.
About this Course
MCB80x: 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.
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David Cox is an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and of Computer Science, and is a member of the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University. He completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT with a specialization in computational neuroscience.
His laboratory seeks to understand the computational underpinnings of visual processing through concerted efforts in both reverse- and forward-engineering. To this end, his group employs a wide range of experimental techniques (ranging from microelectrode recordings in living brains to visual psychophysics in humans) to probe natural systems, while at the same time actively developing practical computer vision systems based on what is learned about the brain.
Nadja Oertelt is a HarvardX Fellow and producer for the Fundamentals of Neuroscience course. She graduated from MIT in 2008 with a degree in Neuroscience and has studied and worked in the visual arts, film, anthropology and archaeology. She has worked as an independent documentary producer and director for the past decade.
Winston is a content development assistant for the course. He graduated from Harvard in 2010 with a degree in Physics and is currently a 3rd year student in the Harvard-MIT MD/PhD program. He has finished the first two years of medical school in the HST program and is about to start his PhD in the lab of Professor Feng Zhang at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT & Broad Institute. Winston will be working on developing and applying molecular and optical techniques to studying molecular and cellular changes in neural circuits during healthy behaviors, like learning and memory, and neuropsychiatric diseases.