Neuroscience

http://www.uab.edu/cas/neuroscience/

Interdisciplinary Major

Neuroscience is an ideal major for motivated students who want to pursue careers in medicine, research, and other health related disciplines. The curriculum for a BS degree in Neuroscience combines coursework in biology, chemistry, math, physics, psychology, and neurobiology to provide students an interdisciplinary understanding of the body's most complex organ system.

The UAB Undergraduate Neuroscience Program (UNP) is an interdisciplinary major between the Department of Neurobiology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Neuroscience is the study of the development, structure and function of the nervous system, with a special focus on the brain and its role in behavior and cognitive functions. Neuroscience also seeks to understand the molecular basis of nervous system disorders and diseases. Multidisciplinary in nature, the field of Neuroscience spans the anatomy, evolution, development, genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, electrophysiology, pharmacology, circuitry and pathology of the nervous system. Therefore, neuroscience integrates biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, psychology, and computer science. It is one of the most rapidly advancing fields in biomedical research.

The goals of the UNP are to prepare and advance UAB undergraduates to careers in research and health-related sciences in highly competitive programs and to enable UAB graduates to become accomplished research scientists, clinicians and health-care professionals who will be ideally equipped for future study of the nervous system and treatment and discovery of cures for neurological, psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders and injury.

The UNP and its Training Faculty accomplish these goals by four complementary mechanisms. First, students are provided with a solid academic and intellectual foundation through coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, psychology and neuroscience. Second, students conduct original hands-on laboratory research under the direction of faculty mentors to learn the state-of-the-art experimental approaches and methods in Neuroscience research. Third, students are mentored in the development of skills in scientific method, experimental analysis, and effective oral and written communication. Students are expected to become active “colleagues” in faculty laboratories, which should result in publications in scientific journals and presentations at professional meetings. Fourth, students are provided with one-on-one academic and career counseling to identify professional programs most suited to their interests, and strategies to be competitive applicants to these programs.

Students earning the B.S. in Neuroscience at UAB are ideally suited for admission into the nation’s most prestigious graduate programs, and medical and professional schools.

Admissions

The UNP is designed for graduating high school seniors and college freshmen or sophomores with a strong academic record and the motivation to pursue a career in biomedical science. Please note carefully the following items.

High school students with an ACT score of 28 or higher and a GPA of 3.5 or higher (the UAB Honors College admissions criteria) are eligible for immediate acceptance into the Neuroscience major. Others may choose to attend UAB before applying in the freshman or sophomore year. Current UAB students whose high school credentials meet the minimum requirements and/or whose academic performance in freshman science courses is excellent may apply at any time.  Please contact  Dr. Cristin Gavin (cfgavin@uab.edu), if you would like to be considered for admission to the Program. Program Leadership is available to meet with high school students and their parents, or with current UAB students, to discuss the Program.

Advising and Information

Dr. Scott Wilson
Program Director, Undergraduate Neuroscience Program
Associate Professor of Neurobiology, School of Medicine
(205) 975-5573
livvy01@uab.edu

Dr. Cristin Gavin
Co Director, Undergraduate Neuroscience Program
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology, School of Medicine
(205) 934-6433
cfgavin@uab.edu

Dr. Rajesh Kana
Co-Director, Undergraduate Neuroscience Program
Associate Professor of Psychology 
(205) 934-3171
rkana@uab.edu

Dr. David Knight
Co-Director, Undergraduate Neuroscience Program
Associate Professor of Psychology 
(205) 996-6344
knightdc@uab.edu

 Major Requirements for Neuroscience

RequirementsHours
Biology
BY 123Introductory Biology I4
BY 124Introductory Biology II4
Chemistry
CH 115
CH 116
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
4
CH 117
CH 118
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Laboratory
4
CH 235
CH 236
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Laboratory
4
CH 237
CH 238
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry II Laboratory
4
CH 460Fundamentals of Biochemistry3
Psychology and Neurobiology
PY 101Introduction to Psychology3
or PY 201 Honors Introduction to Psychology
NBL 230Brain Science: Biology, Disorders, and Clinical Therapies3
or PY 253 Brain, Mind and Behavior
NBL/PY 355Mechanisms of Synaptic Transmission3
NBL/PY 356Mechanisms of Sensation, Movement & Cognition3
Neuroscience Colloquium
This course is to be taken at least twice.2
Colloquium in Basic, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience
Advanced Neuroscience Courses
Select two courses from the following6
Molecular Biology of the Neuron
Diseases of the Nervous System
Methods in Human Neuroimaging
Neurodevelopment and its Disorders
The Dynamics of Pain
Mechanisms of Memory
Cognitive Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroimaging
Social Psychophysiology
Visual Neuroscience
Physics
Select one group PH 201 & 202 or PH 221 & 2228
College Physics I
and College Physics Laboratory I
College Physics II
General Physics I
and General Physics Laboratory I
General Physics II
and General Physics Laboratory II
General
MA 125Calculus I4
PHL 116Bioethics3
Statistics
Select one of the following: 13-4
Scientific Reasoning and Medical Research Design
Biostatistics
Statistics and Design Overview
Elementary Statistical Methods
and Elementary Statistical Methods Laboratory
Introduction to Statistics
Research
Students may choose to complete a laboratory- or literature-based research thesis. 6 total
For the research-based thesis students complete:
Rescg Prac in Neurobiology-RES 2
For the literature-based thesis students complete:
Neurobiology Research Laboratory
Senior Seminar in Neuroscience
Total Hours65-72
1

Medical school requires 6 hours of college math. AP Calculus can be substituted for 3 credit hours, but pre-medical students must take another math course at UAB.  MA 180 will satisfy the requirement; therefore, students planning to attend medical school should take MA 180 .

2

Research credit hours (NBL/PY 398) are distributed across multiple semesters. Students should register for NBL 398 if their research mentor resides in the School of Medicine, and PY 398 if their mentor resides in the College of Arts and Sciences. NBL 398 and PY 398 credit can be applied toward completion of the Science and Technology Honors Program.

Neuroscience majors in the laboratory-based research track should be working under the direction of a faculty mentor no later than the first semester of their junior year. However, students may identify a mentor and begin conducting research following completion of their Laboratory Research Orientation in their freshman year.

Recommended but not Required:

NBL 225 No Self Control: Motivation, Reward and Addiction (3 credit hours)

NBL 327: 100 Things You’ve Always Wanted to Know About the Brain (3 credit hours)

NBL 245 The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (3 credit hours)

VIS 427 - Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) (3 credit hours, May Miniterm)

BY 330 Cell Biology (3 credit hours)

BY 210 Genetics (3 credit hours)

PY 305 Medical Psychology (3 credit hours)

PY 335 Motivation and Emotion (3 credit hours)

PY 372 Social Psychology (3 credit hours)

Premedical students should take SOC 100.

Academic Performance Requirement: Neuroscience majors must maintain an overall GPA of 3.2 to remain in the program. Any students falling below the academic requirement will be given 1 semester to raise their GPA and a subsequent semester of academic probation with the program.

Laboratory-Based Research Options

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
MA 1254BY 1234
CH 115
CH 116
4CH 117
CH 118
4
PY 101 or 2013PHL 1163
EH 10113EH 1023
 NBL 21033
 14 17
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CH 235
CH 236
4CH 237
CH 238
4
BY 12424NBL 3553
PY 253 or NBL 2303NBL 4011
Core Area II Fine Arts3Core Area II Literature3
 NBL 398 or PY 39841-7
 14 12-18
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CH 4603PH 202 or 2224
NBL 3563NBL Upper level course3
PH 201 or 2214NBL 4011
Core Area IV History3Final History/Lit Series3
 13 11
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
NBL Upper level course3Area IV Soc/Behav Science3
Area II/Area IV Elective3 
 6 3
Total credit hours: 90-96
1

 Often use AP credit for EH 101, Can take EH 102 instead

2

 Sometimes taken summer after freshman year

3

 or Stats equivalent

4

 Begin lab research

Literature-Based Research Option

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
MA 1254BY 1234
CH 115
CH 116
4CH 117
CH 118
4
PY 101 or 2013PHL 1163
EH 10113EH 1023
 NBL 21033
 14 17
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CH 235
CH 236
4CH 237
CH 238
4
BY 12424NBL 3553
PY 253 or NBL 2303NBL 4011
Core Area II Fine Arts3 
 14 8
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CH 4603PH 202 or 2224
NBL 3563NBL 3903
PH 201 or 2214NBL 4011
Core Area IV History3NBL Upper level course3
 13 11
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
NBL Upper level course3Area IV Soc/Behav Science3
Area II Humanities3Final History/Lit Series3
 6 6
Total credit hours: 89
1

 Often use AP credit for EH 101, Can take EH 102 instead

2

 Sometimes taken summer after freshman year

3

 or Stats equivalent

Minor Requirements for Neuroscience

RequirementsHours
PY 253Brain, Mind and Behavior3
NBL 355Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience3
NBL 356From Systems to Cognitive Neuroscience3
or PY 353 Behavioral Neuroscience
Required: 3 electives at the 200 level or above with one elective at the 400 level or above 9
Scientific Reasoning and Medical Research Design
No Self Control: Motivation, Reward and Addiction
The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Special Topics in Neuroscience
Methods in Human Neuroimaging
Diseases of the Nervous System
Mechanisms of Memory
Honors Introduction to Psychology
Motivation and Emotion
Autism: Brain and Cognition
Cognitive Psychology
Perception
Animal Behavior
Biofeedback, Meditation, and Self-Regulation
Special Topics in Psychology
The Dynamics of Pain
Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience
Psychology of Eating Disorders and Obesity
Cognitive Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroimaging
Intro to Neurobiology
Visual Neuroscience
Total Hours18

Courses

NBL 120. Basic Neuroscience. 3 Hours.

NBL 121. Basic Neuroscience. 3 Hours.

NBL 150. Neuroscience for Non-Majors. 3 Hours.

Neuroscience is one of the fastest growing disciplines in all of science. Using tools and perspectives adopted from across many scientific realms, neuroscience researchers have now learned more about the brain in the last two decades than in all of human history combined. Like never before, neuroscience is providing us with information pertinent to our everyday lives and in the process become a part of contemporary culture. In this lecture and discussion-based course, we will explore a range of neuroscience-related topics, including but not limited to creativity, consciousness, perception, love and emotion, brain health, motivation, stress, personality, and the differences between the male and female brain. There will be no required text for the course, and participants need no scientific background to participate.

NBL 210. Scientific Reasoning and Medical Research Design. 3 Hours.

The goal of this course is to teach biomedical research design basics and critical thinking skills in the context of neuroscience research. This knowledge should be helpful for understanding and conducting scientific research, as well as for the updated sections of the 2015 MCAT test for medical school admission.

NBL 220. Special Topics Neuroscience 1. 1 Hour.

This course covers different topics that have to do with Neurobiology.

NBL 222. Special Topics Neuroscience 2. 2 Hours.

This course covers different topics that have to do with Neurobiology.

NBL 225. No Self Control: Motivation, Reward and Addiction. 3 Hours.

Survival of self and species has been evolutionarily wired into the brain. Largely, involving sub-cortical networks, animals are strongly rewarded by beneficial outcomes and driven away from aversive situations. Overseeing these opposing subconscious determinants of motivated behavior is a pre-frontal cortical command center, which along with additional systems that provide for experiential memory and emotional significance, guide the choices we make. This course will provide the participant with an introduction to the neuronal pathways that underlie normal decision making, with a major focus on how this circuitry becomes compromised during addiction. These topics should be relevant to students interested in biomedicine, health professions or counseling.

NBL 230. Brain Science: Biology, Disorders, and Clinical Therapies. 3 Hours.

This course is an introduction to the mammalian nervous system, intended to give a strong foundation or understanding of the human brain. Topics include the composition and function of neurons and glia, sensory systems and perception, movement, basic learning and memory, and select diseases of the brain. Students also explore the principles of experimental design and apply those to contemporary neuroscience techniques.

NBL 240. Introduction to Neuroscience Methods. 3 Hours.

This course is designed to develop practical, experience-based laboratory skills in undergraduate student researchers with minimal prior laboratory exposure. Students will be exposed to a variety of techniques ranging from cellular and molecular to vertebrate animal applications. Any student that completes this course should have the rudimentary skills (and confidence!) to begin supervised research in primary laboratories around campus. No background in Neuroscience required.

NBL 245. The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on the biological mechanisms involved in the processes of learning and memory in the nervous system. We will examine these mechanisms at the molecular, cellular and systems levels of the brain. Topics range from memory-associated molecules and synaptic plasticity to animal models and human behavior. In addition, students will be introduced to the many behavioral paradigms and molecular genetic techniques used by neuroscientists to study learning and memory in the brain.

NBL 298. Special Topics Neuroscience 4. 1 Hour.

This course covers different topics that have to do with Neurobiology.

NBL 310. Evolution of the Vertebrate Brain. 3 Hours.

NBL 311. From Wet Brains to Artificial Stupidity. 1-3 Hour.

NBL 323. Special Topics Neurobiology 1. 1 Hour.

This course covers differnet topics that have to do with Neurobiology.

NBL 325. Special Topics Neurobiology 3. 2 Hours.

This course covers different topics that have to do with Neurobiology.

NBL 327. 100 Things You've Always Wanted to Know About the Brain. 3 Hours.

This course examines intriguing questions in neuroscience as they are presented to the layperson through TED Talks, video presentations, podcasts, Scientific American articles, and newspaper/magazine science op-eds. The aim is to expose students to a wide range of topics about the brain, some fundamental, some controversial, in ways they may not have thought about before; challenging them to discuss the evidence for and against various theories of brain function. There will be no memorization of information, only the willingness to read, post and discuss scientific opinions on articles/videos. Non majors are encouraged!.

NBL 355. Mechanisms of Synaptic Transmission. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics and function of the mammalian nervous system. This course will emphasize the development, anatomy, cellular and molecular biology and biochemistry of neurons and glial cells, and introduce electrical, biophysical and chemical signaling within and across neurons.

NBL 356. Mechanisms of Sensation, Movement & Cognition. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics and function of the mammalian nervous system. This course will emphasize mechanisms of synaptic transmission, sensory systems, neuropharmacology, and synaptic plasticity; and introduce the molecular basis of diseases and disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Prerequisites: PY 355 [Min Grade: C] or NBL 355 [Min Grade: C]

NBL 390. Neurobiology Research Laboratory. 3 Hours.

Hands-on instruction will be provided in contemporary methods used in neurobiology research. These will include molecular cloning, DNA sequencing, cell transformation and culture, western blotting, immunohistochemistry and electrophysiology.

NBL 398. Rescg Prac in Neurobiology-RES. 1-6 Hour.

Project or research activity supervised by faculty. Cannot be taken Pass/Fail.

NBL 399. Senior Seminar in Neuroscience. 3 Hours.

All (Thesis Track) Neuroscience majors will participate in the Senior Seminar, which is a capstone experience in their study of Neuroscience. The seminar will meet weekly for in-depth discussions of current topics in neuroscience. Over the course of the semester, students will independently develop and complete a capstone research paper on a topic of their choosing while working closely with a supervising faculty member. The research report serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience that works to develop critical thinking, research skills, and both written and oral communication. Students will present their papers at the completion of the course. (Fall and Spring availability).

NBL 401. Colloquium in Basic, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience. 1 Hour.

The Colloquium in Basic, Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience is a faculty seminar. The Colloquium will expose students to cutting edge research programs and technologies from approximately 25 faculty each year who serve as mentors for the Undergraduate Neuroscience Major and Graduate Neuroscience Program. Faculty will also discuss strategies for development of careers in medicine and research. Students will prepare by reading an assigned research article authored by the speaker and be prepared for a group discussion. Class meets for one and a half hours a week.

NBL 410. Molecular Biology of the Neuron. 3 Hours.

Molecular Neuroscience will provide students an advanced understanding of how the brain works with a focus on protein function. Everything the brain does is built upon the actions of proteins, many of which are completely unique to the brain. Together we will work to thoroughly understand the exact molecular mechanisms utilized by the brain to support the complex function of our most fascinating organ. Topics covered will include brain morphogenesis, axonal outgrowth, synapse formation, neurotransmitter biosynthesis, intracellular signaling, and the blood brain barrier. This lecture course is designed to fulfill a neuroscience major’s requirement for an advanced course. Non-neuroscience majors should seek course master approval before enrolling and must have a significant background in biology and/or chemistry. Students will be required to purchase a text. Grades will be assigned based on points accumulated through weekly quizzes, cumulative exams, and written reports.
Prerequisites: (NBL 230 [Min Grade: C] or PY 253 [Min Grade: C]) and (NBL 355 [Min Grade: C] or PY 355 [Min Grade: C]) and (NBL 356 [Min Grade: C] or PY 356 [Min Grade: C])

NBL 425. Methods in Human Neuroimaging. 3 Hours.

Cognitive neuroscience research has provided valuable insights into the workings of the human brain. The ability to perform neuroimaging studies on awake human individuals engaged in cognitive, social, sensory, and motor tasks has produced a conceptual revolution in the study of human cognition. This course will comprehensively examine the methods and techniques in neuroimaging with the primary goal of building basic knowledge in the concepts and techniques of neuroimaging. The course will explore techniques, such as single and multi cell recordings, deep brain stimulation, electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, and diffusion tensor imaging, and focuses on functional magnetic resonance imaging. Course goals: By the end of the course, students will have gained basic knowledge in the field and will be able to read and critically assess scientific journal articles that make use of a variety of neuroimaging methods. The secondary and implicit goal of this course is to create and nurture, in students, a genuine interest in neuroscience and neuroimaging.

NBL 430. Neurodevelopment and its Disorders. 3 Hours.

This course will cover fundamental principles of brain development in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders associated with autism and intellectual disability. We will meet 3 times a week for 1 hour lectures by the course director and at least 4 other faculties from Neurobiology and Psychology.

NBL 433. Diseases of the Nervous System. 3 Hours.

Molecular mechanisms and treatments for neurological, psychiatric, and injury based disorders and diseases of the nervous system. Topics include neurodevelopmental disorders (including intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders), neurological disorders (including neurodegenerative and demyelinating disease), neuropsychiatric disorders (including depression disorders and schizophrenia), and injury to the nervous system (including stroke and traumatic brain and spinal cord injury).
Prerequisites: PY 356 [Min Grade: C] or NBL 356 [Min Grade: C]

NBL 434. Mechanisms of Memory. 3 Hours.

Molecular, cellular, systems and medical components of neuroscience, with an emphasis on cognition and cognitive disorders. Covers topics ranging from genes and molecules to human behavior, using cognitive function and clinical cognitive disorders as the unifying theme, with a focus on learning and memory and disorders of these processes.
Prerequisites: (NBL 355 [Min Grade: C] or PY 355 [Min Grade: C]) and (NBL 356 [Min Grade: C] or PY 356 [Min Grade: C])

NBL 440. Special Topics Neuroscience 1. 1 Hour.

This course covers different topics that have to do with Neurobiology.

NBL 442. Sp Tp Neuroscience 2. 2 Hours.

This course covers different topics that have to do with Neurobiology.

NBL 444. Special Topics Neuroscience 3. 3 Hours.

This course covers different topics that have to do with Neurobiology.

NBL 446. Special Topics Neuroscience 4. 4 Hours.

This course covers different topics that have to do with Neuroscience.

NBL 454. Mind/Brain Course. 3 Hours.