Neurobio Tutorials

Wondering how to sign up for a tutorial?  Read these instructions first, and then come to our tutorial fair to meet the instructors and pick up a copy of their syllabus.

Click to view the tutorial schedule graphically

The Neurobiology Tutorial Program is designed to provide undergraduates (primarily juniors) with the opportunity to associate with a professional biologist over an extended period of time, to explore important research topics that are not covered in depth in other undergraduate offerings, and to become comfortable reading primary scientific literature. Tutorials can also help students to identify research topics and potential lab sponsors for their thesis work. One tutorial may count toward the 'Advanced Neurobiology' elective requirement for the Neurobiology concentration or secondary or towards the MBB junior tutorial requirement (for non-neurobiology concentrators only).

All tutorials are open to qualified students from all concentrations who have completed the listed prerequisites (minimally LPSA/Ls1a and MCB80), although students in the Neurobiology concentration will be given priority. Class size averages ~7 students per tutorial with a maximum of 12 students. Each Neurobiology 101hf tutorial meets once a week throughout the academic year, carries 0.5 course credit for the year, and cannot be divided for credit. 
Because Neurobiology 101hf is a yearlong half course, students usually take it as a fourth course one semester and a fifth course the other semester. This allows students to take a lighter load (1.75 credits) one semester instead of the normal 2 credits, which is often useful to help balance a semester with a particularly difficult schedule

*Neurobiology 101hfa (formerly *Neurobiology 95hfd). Novel Therapeutics in the CNS
Dr. Catherine Dubreuil, Director of Training and Education, Therapeutics Graduate Program at HMS: Catherine_dubreuil[at]

Time/Location: W 4:30-6 PM / Robinson 106

Recent advances have elucidated new non-traditional molecular signaling pathways involved in many disorders and diseases in the CNS. This tutorial will focus on examining novel therapeutics and ‘outside the box’ approaches to treat CNS disorders: Alzheimer’s, Autism, Schizophrenia, Traumatic Injury and Multiple Sclerosis. To do this, we will examine primary and clinical literature and explore drug design strategies.


*Neurobiology 101hfb (formerly *Neurobiology 95hfh). Dopamine
Dr. S. Barak Caine, Associate Professor of Psychology, HMS: barak[at]

Time/Location: M 4-5:30 PM / Sever 104

Phase I: Instructor's lectures with open discussion will orient students to tools from multiple traditional disciplines (behavioral neuroscience, pharmacology, neuroanatomy, and psychiatry). Phase II: Instructor's lectures on important and controversial disease states (Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, Drug Addiction). Phase III: Instructor assigns original articles for Socratic debate. Overall emphasis is on how the brain creates behavior via neurotransmitters and circuits.


*Neurobiology 101hff (formerly *Neurobiology 95hfy). Seeing Time in the Brain
Dr. Patrick Mayo, Postdoctoral Fellow, HMS: patrick_mayo[at]

Time/Location: M 7-8:30 PM / Robinson 107

Time critically shapes our perceptual experience, yet how the brain represents time is poorly understood. This course investigates the experience of time from multiple perspectives, focusing on a systems-level analysis of visual time perception. Topics include illusions of time, neuronal mechanisms of time, the meaning of timescales, models of time perception, and the influence of expectation on brain activity.




*Neurobiology 101hfi. The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction
Dr. Johanna Gutlerner, Associate Director of the HMS Curriculum Fellows Program, Lecturer at HMS: Johanna_Gutlerner[at]

Time/Location: W 4-5:30 PM / Robinson 107

Students will examine primary literature to understand the acute and chronic action of drugs of abuse, including opioids, cannabinoids, psychostimulants, nicotine, and ethanol. The course will introduce the models of addiction and examine animal and human research results to build an understanding of how modifications to molecular signaling, cells and neural circuits underlie the development of the addicted brain.


*Neurobiology 101hfj. Brain Rhythms in Cognition, Mental Health & Epilepsy
Dr. Omar Ahmed, Postdoctoral Fellow, HMS: ojahmed[at]

Time/Location: W 7-8:30 PM / Robinson 105

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” – Maya Angelou. The brain, too, dances. Its rhythms are the result of millions of neurons coordinating each other’s activity. This course will explore how these rhythms are generated, how they relate to our perception and cognition, and how they can be used to better understand and diagnose psychiatric and neurological disorders.

*Neurobiology 101hfl. Building Blocks of Neural Networks: Synapses and Circuits in Heath and Psychiatric Disease- (New Course)
Dr. Abhishek Banerjee, Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT: abhi.synap[at]

Time/Location: Th 7-8:30 PM / Robinson 105

The synapse is a fundamental information-processing unit of the nervous system. In this course, we will first explore the biology of excitatory and inhibitory synapses, developmental origins of neuronal subtypes and mechanisms that govern their circuit integration. Then we will address the basic design principles, wiring and functional plasticity of neuronal circuits that are altered in a plethora of neuropsychiatric disorders. We will also discuss how this knowledge can be used to better understand, diagnose and design therapeutics for neuropsychiatric disorders.


*Neurobiology 101hfm. Fundamentals of Computational Neuroscience - (New Course)
Dr. Alexander Mathis and Dr. Ashesh Dhawale, Postdoctoral Fellows, MCB and OEB: 

amathis[at]; dhawale[at]

Time/Location: Th 7-8:30 PM / Robinson 107

The brain is an extremely complex computing device. Computational neuroscience seeks to understand brain function by constructing mathematical models of the nervous system to summarize our knowledge and gain new insights into how neurons perform basic tasks, e.g., encode stimuli, form memories, or generate movements. This course presents computational techniques for investigating, modeling, and understanding the function of neurons, neuronal networks, and systems.


go to top

Updated June 2014