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Last updated:

December 17, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


In this course we will discover how innovative technologies combined with profound hypotheses have given rise to our current understanding of neuroscience.

We will study both new and classical primary research papers with a focus on the plasticity between synapses in a brain structure called the hippocampus, which is believed to underlie the ability to create and retrieve certain classes of memories. We will discuss the basic electrical properties of neurons and how they fire. We will see how firing properties can change with experience, and we will study the biochemical basis of these changes. We will learn how molecular biology can be used to specifically change the biochemical properties of brain circuits, and we will see how these circuits form a representation of space giving rise to complex behaviors in living animals. A special emphasis will be given to understanding why specific experiments were done and how to design experiments that will answer the questions you have about the brain.

This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction Unlimited
  • Scientific reading, writing and learning mechanisms of simple invertebrates Unlimited
  • Synaptic plasticity in rodent hippocampal slices Unlimited
  • Molecular mechanisms underlying LTP Unlimited
  • Complicating the model of LTP Unlimited
  • The Morris water maze Unlimited
  • Place cells Unlimited
  • Field trip Unlimited
  • NMDA receptors and place cells Unlimited
  • Hippocampal representation of space in contextual fear conditioning Unlimited
  • Synaptic tagging Unlimited
  • Schemas’ of memor Unlimited

About the instructor

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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