An Undergraduate Neuroscience Seminar Based on the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience

David J Bucci, William A Falls

Abstract


We have recently planned and taught an advanced undergraduate seminar at our respective institutions that uses a unique mechanism to explore topics that are on the cutting edge of neuroscience. The course material is centered on the topics of presentations scheduled for the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience held each fall. The instructor and students (~15) select several topics that are the subject of special lectures, panels, and keynote addresses included in the Program for the Annual Meeting. Each week the class reads and discusses several articles on the topic of one of the lectures, panels or addresses. By the time the Annual Meeting is held, the class is intimately familiar with the content of the planned presentations. The class then travels to the Annual Meeting and attends these presentations along with events of personal interest and keeps a journal of what they learn. Upon returning from the Annual Meeting, the students discuss the assigned presentations and also prepare and deliver their own presentation on a neuroscience topic of personal interest using information obtained at the meeting. Students also prepare an in-depth final paper on their presentation topic in the form of a Current Opinions in Neurobiology review article. The outcomes for the students are many fold: This experience helps Students explore topics on the cutting edge of neuroscience through the review of primary literature and experience a major scientific conference first hand, which is attended by over 30,000 neuroscientists from around the world. neuroscience come alive for the students and provides them with valuable opportunities to meet world-renowned researchers, prospective graduate mentors, and possibly future employers. Students also have the chance to develop important professional skills through critical evaluation of research, exposure to different presentation styles, and preparation of an in-depth research paper and oral presentation.

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