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Glia: Not just neuronal glue!
NS&B 304
Fall 2024
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: BIOL 304

Historically, neuroglial cells (i.e., astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia) were considered the space-filling cells of the brain, simply the brain's "glue." Later, their primary role was considered metabolic support of neurons (e.g., buffer extracellular potassium, recycle neurotransmitters, myelination, etc.). However, the notion of glia as inert bystanders has recently been revised. It is now accepted that glial cells play critical physiological roles in normal nervous system development and function, including controlling brain wiring, modulation of synaptic transmission, regulating blood flow, and serving as the brain's lymphatic system just to name a few functions. Moreover, glia contributes to a variety of neurological disorders such as epilepsy, glioma, multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and psychiatric disorders like major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Hence, these underappreciated cells are long overdue recognition. This is an interdisciplinary course in which students will engage in a focused, in-depth exploration of how glial cells contribute to neurological and psychiatric disorders. Lectures by both basic scientists and clinicians will highlight recent research on the molecular mechanisms by which glial cells contribute to the establishment and progression of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
This is a reading-intensive seminar course emphasizing classroom discussions, with readings from a textbook and the primary scientific literature. After the classes, students will have extensive opportunities for feedback and will be requested to write a simple paragraph for the next class and/or answer a small quiz, based on the new knowledge acquired. Student evaluation will include quizzes and assessments for a lay audience, a midterm and a final exam, class participation, and attendance.

Course Objectives:
1. Describe the development, histology, and normal physiological function of glial cells.
2. Describe the role inflammation plays in neurological and psychiatric conditions.
3. Describe the role traumatic brain injury plays in neurological and psychiatric conditions.
4. Describe the role genetics plays in neurological and psychiatric conditions.
5. Describe the physiology, pathology, and disease mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric conditions.
6. Demonstrate effective written communication skills to construct a succinct "News & Views" style summary of a primary research report for a lay audience.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: NSM NS&B
Course Format: LectureGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: NS&B213
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (NS&B)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUL-18-2024
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