The Principles of Neuroscience course (40 points) is designed specifically for Neuroinformatics DTC students.

Course Organizer: Thomas Becker (Neuroscience) and Peggy Series (Informatics).

The course will be taught by colleagues in the Centre for Neuroscience and other departments. During the 10 week course, the students are exposed to active research areas and methodologies in neuroscience. Every week a different research area is discussed. A guest lecturer will give a general talk about his or her research area and suggest review papers to read. Areas include brain imaging, neuropharmacology, synaptic plasticity and computational modelling.

Each week consists in a combination of lectures by staff, tutorial, reading of papers in the particular area, and self-study. Each week is concluded by presentations in which groups of students present what they found in the literature, discuss implication, future research suggested by the papers, and place the subject in wider context.

Note however that the regulations and assignments that are relevant for the DTC students differ from those of the Neuroscience MSc students in the ways detailed below.

DTC students are required to take one elective. Matt Nolan's elective is recommended. Students who wish to attend another elective should contact Jim or Peggy to discuss their choice.

Cognitive Aging
This course is not required or assessed for DTC students.

Brain Imaging
This course is not required or assessed for DTC students.

Animal licensing
DTC students can take this course in Autumn if they already know the species and procedure to be used in their summer projects, but are more likely to take it in March.

Library introduction:

Course Assessment:
The DTC students will not have to do the open book exam in April nor the "Scope of Neuroscience" paper that the MSc Neuroscience students do. For the DTC students, the course is assessed by i) a presentation (20 points) and ii) a critical review of about 4000 words of an experimental paper (20 points), chosen from those covered in the course, or identified by the student as of particular interest.

The guidelines for the presentation are : to identify an important unanswered question and propose a multidisciplinary approach to answering it. The presentation will take place on November 30th 2012 and will be double-marked by Matt Nolan and Peggy Series. More detailed information will be given in due course.

For the essay assignment, the students should explore the context of the paper, critically evaluate its findings and conclusions, and discuss questions raised by the papers. Furthermore, students should suggest follow-up experiments and discuss the computational consequences of the work.

More detailed guidelines about the essay assignment:
* You will have to write a paper based on one or two -experimental- neuroscience articles that you read during the course. The paper should be experimental and neurosciency / biological-- which means it has to describe processes at the neural or subcellular level, possibly in relation with other levels of description (e.g. the link between neural and fMRI activity, or the link between the neural level and the network or behavioural level). Typically, such a paper will be related to to animal research. It is best to choose a paper that is influential/ important in the community. An influential paper is usually easier to discuss in terms of impact, implications and possibly previous controversies. Influential papers are usually published in high impact factor journals, such as Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, Nature, Science etc..
* You should send your chosen paper(s) in pdf to Peggy for us to approve of your choice before you start working on the essay.
* You should explore the context, critically evaluate it, and discuss questions raised by these papers and maybe suggest experiments or discuss computational consequences.
* The report should be about 4000 words. You should write for the interested, but non-specialist reader. You can look at the journal Trends in Neuroscience (TINS) how to construct such papers.
* The idea of the paper is that you should demonstrate that you can read an experimental paper, understand its methods, evaluate its claims, and place it in perspective.
* The paper will be evaluated based on four criteria : 1) Background knowledge and scientific maturity; 2) Quality of description and interpretation of papers; 3) Criticism / quality of discussion; 4) Style and writing.
* It will be marked independently by two DTC faculty members.
* An exhaustive literature review is not needed. But you will probably need to read some papers on the side.
* Please make sure you avoid any form of plagiarism (plagiarism= copying or including text from an article, without adequate acknowledgment. We need to use quotes if the text is copied from a source, or a citation if an idea is taken from a source).
* The deadline for this paper will be December 21st 2012 at 12.00.
ITO rules will apply for late submission.
* The deadline for submitting your choice of article(s) is November 20th 2012 (by email to pseries@inf).
* The assignment should be submitted using the 'submit' command: submit msc pon 1 firstname_lastname_pon2012.pdf

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