Course Descriptions 

SUNY Upstate offers many courses through the College of Graduate Studies.  The courses offered, course descriptions, and the course requirements for Ph.D. be accessed from the College of Graduate Studies Home Page.

For further detail, view the College of Graduate Studies 2012-2013 Course Selection Book  PDF document

Listed below are courses that are especially relevant to students interested in Neuroscience:

GS 606-9 — Foundations of Biomedical Science sequence

This section runs concurrently with the Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Cell Physiology & Neurobiology sections and introduces experimental approaches and equipment that are currently used in biomedical sciences. 

GS612 — Biomedical Sciences Laboratory

This is a special research training program designed to acquaint students with areas of research and/or the use of methods, techniques, and instrumentation.

Course Description: Three different research laboratory rotations are required for all first-year PhD students.  Rotations begin approximately October 2, January 3, and March 26 (in three different research laboratories).  An optional Fourth rotation in the summer may be taken.  Written report due to Advisor at the end of each rotation [Students may petition Advisory Committee to be exempt from the 3rd rotation, under very special circumstances]. 

GS604 — Graduate Student Research Opportunities

Course required for all first-year graduate students

Course Description: With one full afternoon per program, each of the six Ph.D. training programs will describe its currently active research projects.  This description will be presented in a format which the program’s faculty feels best displays all its research activities. Two major goals of these presentations are to:

  1. Acquaint the incoming graduate students with the breadth of research being pursued within each graduate program.
  2. To thereby give the incomming graduate students further information upon which to base their own choice of research area for their dissertations.

N507 — Introduction to Neuroscience

Course Description:  The Systems Neuroscience course will consist of components of the Brain and Behavior course given to first year medical students.

These components will include the study of systems of neuroscience, including sensory, motor, limbic systems, sleep and awakening, and basic cognitive processing.  A total of 29 lectures with 2 essay examinations are included.  The summer session will be a combination of video presentations and live tutorials. 

N601 — Neuroscience

Course Description: Detailed analysis of the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the nervous system and behaviors that it mediates.  Topics include: neurons and electrochemical properties of neurons, sensory and motor systems, homeostasis, sleep, consciousness, learning, and memory. 

N602 — Principles of Membrane Excitability

Course Description:  This Course will follow the organization of Bertil Hile’s book in discussing the key concepts of ion channel function including voltage-dependents activation, inactivation current rectification, conductance, selective permeability, mechanisms of block, and protein structure.  The course will begin with the Hodgkin-Huxley model for nerve excitability and develop the key principles of electrodiffusion and ion permeation through a variety of physiologically relevant channel proteins.  The most recent information regarding channel structure and function will be presented during the course.  The instructors will provide supplemental materials to the textbook in the form of related journal articles or lecture notes as required.  All instructors and participating students will lead in-class discussions of selected topics. 

N603 — Topics in Signaling in the Autonomic and Central Nervous Systems

Course Description: This advanced course will cover 2-3 topics in receptors and cell signaling: for example GZprotein-coupled receptors, integrins and cell adhesion, neuromuscular junction and Ach receptors, scaffolding proteins.  Topics will be covered by a combination of graduate student-specific lectures and tutorials, based on current research papers and associated reviews. Each topic will also include a take-home essay type examination.  This Course covers the essential features of the autonomic nervous system in humans, and agents that modify this system, including therapeutic and recreational drugs and toxic agents.  The course will be composed of a combination of graduate students-specific lectures and tutorials together with selected lectures from the Medical School Pharmacology course (50PHA). 

N610 — Topics in Developmental Neurobiology

Course Description:  This course is a half semester course, eights weeks in length, and will run in the second half of the spring semester.  Two two-hour sessions will be scheduled per week.  This is primarily a reading course.  Students will meet with the faculty twice per week to discuss questions or issues presented by the student.  There will be a written exam at the end of the course.

This course will provide extensive, yet selective, exposure to major issues and events in the development of the nervous system.  Topics include: Axis determination and early patterning, Developmental signals and gene regulation, Cell generation/proliferation, Cell migration and guidance, Cell death, Synaptogenesis, and Plasticity. 

N613 — Sensory Integration

Course Description:  Focuses on the organization and function of sensory and neuromuscular systems emphasizing peripheral parts of the nervous system. 

N614 — Motor and Cognitive Function

Course Description:  Focuses on organization and function of central pathways of the nervous system.  Topics include learning, memory, emotion and consciousness. 

N615 — Psychophysical Methods and Theory

Course Description:  Psychophysics is the study of the relationship between stimulus parameters and sensation.  It has its roots in the mid 1800’s especially with the work of E.H. Weber and G.T. Fechner, and in the work of S.S. Stevens.  The course is designed to give a broad background of psychophysical theory and methods as they are applied to the study of the nervous system.  The text will be supplemented with original literature. 

N616 — Topics in Vision I

Course Description:  The course will examine neuroanatomical, electrophysiological aspects of vision.  This is primarily a reading course, with emphasis on original literature.  It is particularly appropriate for graduate students intending to conduct original research in the visual system.  This first half will focus on visual mechanisms at the level of the retina, and will be offered on odd numbered years. 

Course Format: The course will largely consist of discussion sessions covering extensive readings of original scientific literature.  Grades will be based on class participation. 

N617 — Methods of Neuroscience Research

Course Description:  Methods of research used by the faculty are demonstrated.  Problem design and research methods are emphasized.  Course deals with individualized laboratory experience.  Topics agreed upon by student and faculty sponsor. 

N618 — Topics in Vision II

Course Description:  The course will examine neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, and psychophysical aspects of vision.  This is primarily a readings course, with emphasis on original literature.  It is particularly appropriate for graduate students intending to conduct original research in the visual system.  This second half will focus on visual mechanisms beyond the level of the retina, focusing on the cortical contributions to visual processing and visually-guided behavior.

Course Format:  The course will largely consist of discussion sessions covering extensive readings of original scientific literature.  Grades will be based on class participation. 

N619 — Neurobiology of Disease

Course Description:  Neurobiology of Disease will meet twice per week, Mondays and Fridays, 1:00 – 3:00 PM.  Each meeting will focus on one disease where some of the molecular underpinnings are understood (e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease). The first hour of class will be led by a research scientist or physician with expertise in the basic biology of the disease.  The class will discuss one review article and important research papers on the molecular mechanism of the disease.  The second hour of class will be conducted by a clinician and the students will be introduced to the clinical dimensions of the disease.  There will be one midterm and final exam. 

N620 — Advanced topics in Receptors and Cell Signaling

Course Description: This advanced course will cover 2-3 topics in receptors and cell signaling; for example, G-protein-coupled receptors, integrins and cell adhesion, neuromuscular junction and Ach receptors, glutamate receptor signaling and LTP, CDKs with emphasis on the neural-specific CDK5, ras signaling and tyrosine kinase-linked receptors, scaffolding proteins, Topics will be covered by a combination of graduate student-specific lectures and tutorials, based on current research papers and associated reviews.  Each topic will also include a take-home type examination.  Although it is not required, it is highly recommended that this course be taken in sequence with 619PHA-Autonomic Pharmacology.  A minimum of 2 students must register for this course to be offered. 

N621 — Neuroanatomy Lab

Course Description:  This course will provide students the opportunity to dissect the human brain and gain an appreciation for three-dimensional organization in the central nervous system 

N653 — Topics in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

Course Description:  This course will discuss major issues in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, emphasizing contemporary approaches.  

N654 — Topics in Sensory Systems

Course Description:  This course will examine neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, and psychophysical aspects of a particular sensory system, e.g., vision, audition, touch, pain, and olfaction.

This is primarily a readings course, with emphasis on original literature.  Students will meet with one or more of the instructors to discuss questions or issues presented by the student.  A set of questions and objectives will be distributed at the beginning of the course to help focus the students as they progress through the course.  There will be written essay exams during the course, which will be based on the readings and course objectives. 

N675 — Research Rotations in Neuroscience

Course Description: Methods of research used by the faculty are demonstrated.  Problem design and research methods emphasized.

The course deals with individualized laboratory experience.  Topics agreed upon by student and faculty sponsor. 

N700 — Research in Neuroscience

Course Description:  Original dissertation research in Neuroscience under supervision of a Neuroscience faculty member and monitored by an advisory committee.

image of extracellular matrix (ECM) staining on a glioma initiating cell One of many research initiatives in assistant professor Rick Matthews' lab focuses on the role of extracellular matrix and cell surface glycoproteins in the developing nervous system and in learning, memory, plasticity and diseases. This slide shows extracellular matrix (ECM) staining on a glioma initiating cell.