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Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy Medical & Graduate Teaching

Graduate School

Neuroscience Graduate Program

The Graduate School's Neuroscience program takes an interdisciplinary approach to this field of study, utilizing faculty from several different departments to deliver advanced research training and fundamental coursework. Students in the program can earn a master's or PhD degree, leading to careers in scientific research, pharmaceutical research, academic administration, public policy and more. Learn more about the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

MD Program

The Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy has been contributing for many years to the teaching of medical students in its two legacy curricula - the Interdisciplinary Foundations of Medicine and the Program for Integrated Learning.

In the medical curriculum that debuted in 2017-2018, Foundations and Frontiers, the department provides content for four major threads, Gross Anatomy, Embryology, Microanatomy and Neuroscience, and participates in multidisciplinary courses integrated with other disciplines and taught during the first two years of medical education where the groundwork for basic and clinical science is established. The course material is presented in various formats including online content, flipped classroom sessions, labs, workshops, team-based learning and case-based learning activities, to promote active and independent learning.

The first year of Foundations and Frontiers includes the following multidisciplinary courses, which involve a major commitment of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy:

Molecules to Organs

Human Structure and Function 1

Human Structure and Function 2

Gross Anatomy and Embryology Threads

Thread Director: Dr. Dennis DePace
The Gross Anatomy thread introduces the student to the normal structure and development of the human. The thread is organized in a regional format that intersects with the major topics covered in each of the three principal courses. Early development is a focus in Molecules to Organs. The anatomy and development of the back, limbs, and head and neck is the focus in Human Structure and Function 1 and the thorax, abdomen and pelvis are covered in Human Structure and Function 2. Functional and clinical correlates are presented for each region, including the identification of anatomical structures in four of the imaging modalities commonly used in clinical practice. Dissection of human cadavers is an important component of the thread and affords the students the opportunity to discover anatomical structures and variations among individuals, develop empathy for those who have donated their bodies for study, and develop communication skills appropriate to working in a team setting. Team-based learning and in-lab clinical cases contribute to the development of clinical reasoning skills and introduce students to the various diagnostic imaging modalities and the anatomy that each may demonstrate.

Microanatomy Thread

Thread Director: Dr. Haviva Goldman
The Microanatomy thread is the study of cells, tissues, organs and organ systems at the light microscope and electron microscope levels. One of the recurring themes of the thread is that structure reflects function. This is expressed at the cellular level in the morphology, abundance and intracellular location of the organelles and is the focus of the thread in the Molecules to Organs course as students are exposed to cells and tissues as building blocks of organs and organ systems. As students learn about tissue types, organs and organ systems in the Human Structure and Function courses, microanatomy helps to conceptually link the molecular events discussed in Biochemistry to the macroscopic structure studied in Gross Anatomy and the functional processes studied in Physiology. The skills that students learn in terms of pattern recognition and identification of normal structure are applied via clinical application exercises in TBL as a preview for the Pathology thread that follows.

Medical Neuroscience Thread

Thread Directors: Drs. Francis Sessler and Jed Shumsky
The Neuroscience thread provides extensive information regarding structure and function relationships in the central nervous system. It also provides introductory information on neurophysiology, cellular neuroscience and systems neuroscience topics. It teaches the structure and function of the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system with an emphasis on clinical relevance. It teaches students to identify symptoms associated with injury, stroke or common disease entities in the central and peripheral nervous system. It teaches students to identify common neurological problems to provide the necessary background for behavioral science, pharmacology and pathology.

Gross Anatomy Senior Elective

Course Director: Dr. Dennis DePace
The course is offered in several two-week blocks during the senior year of the curriculum. Check the clerkship website for specific times and regions of dissection. Students participate in the teaching of Gross Anatomy labs, assist with administration of practical exams for the first-year students where appropriate, complete an assigned dissection and write a review paper about a specific topic related to the student’s clinical interests but with a focus on anatomy. Students are evaluated on the quality of their dissection, final paper and participation in the required activities of the rotation. Learn more about the Gross Anatomy senior elective.

Neuroscience Senior Elective

Course Directors: Drs. Francis Sessler and Jed Shumsky
The course runs concurrently with Human Structure and Function 1 (HSF1) from September to October. It provides a review of medical neurosciences for seniors considering training in neurology, neurosurgery and related areas. Students participate in the teaching of neuroscience labs, write a review paper about a specific topic in neuroscience, research the pros and cons of a treatment, work on a tutorial, and present their work to a panel of faculty. Learn more about the Neuroscience senior elective

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Enlarged neuronet, glassy texture.