Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

227-1045-00L  Readings in Neuroinformatics (University of Zurich)

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersG. Indiveri, M. Cook, D. Kiper
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNo enrolment to this course at ETH Zurich. Book the corresponding module directly at UZH.
UZH Module Code: INI431

Mind the enrolment deadlines at UZH:
http://www.uzh.ch/studies/application/mobilitaet_en.html


AbstractThirteen major areas of research have been selected, which cover the key concepts that have led to our current ideas of how the nervous system is built and functions. We will read both original papers and explore the conceptual the links between them and discuss the 'sociology' of science, the pursuit of basic science questions over a century of research."
ObjectiveIt is a commonplace that scientists rarely cite literature that is older than 10 years and when they do, they usually cite one paper that serves as the representative for a larger body of work that has long since been incorporated anonymously in textbooks. Worse than that, many authors have not even read the papers they cite in their own publications. This course, ‘Foundations of Neuroscience’ is one antidote. Thirteen major areas of research have been selected, which cover the key concepts that have led to our current ideas of how the nervous system is built and functions. Unusually, we will explore these areas of research by reading the original publications, instead of reading someone else’s digested summary from a textbook or review. By doing this, we will learn how the discoveries were made, what instrumentation was used, how the scientists interpreted their own findings, and how their work, often over many decades and linked together with related findings from many different scientists, generate the current views of mechanism and structure of the nervous system. To give one concrete example, in 1890 Roy and Sherrington showed that there was a neural activity-dependent regulation of blood flow in the brain. One hundred years later, Ogawa discovered that they could use Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to measure a blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal, which they showed was neural activity-dependent. This discovery led to the development of human functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), which has revolutionized neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry. We will read both these original papers and explore the conceptual the links between them and discuss the ‘sociology’ of science, which in this case, the pursuit of basic science questions over a century of research, led to an explosion in applications. We will also explore the personalities of the scientists and the context in which they made their seminal discoveries. Each week the course members will be given original papers to read for homework, they will have to write a short abstract for each paper. We will then meet weekly with the course leader (KACM) and an assistant for an hour-or-so long interactive seminar. An intimate knowledge of the papers will be assumed so that the discussion does not center simply on an explication of the contents of the papers. Assessment will in the form of a written exam in which the students will be given a paper and asked to write a short abstract of the contents.
ContentIt is a commonplace that scientists rarely cite literature that is older than 10 years and when they do, they usually cite one paper that serves as the representative for a larger body of work that has long since been incorporated anonymously in textbooks. Worse than that many authors have not even read the papers they cite in their own publications. This course, ‘Foundations of Neuroscience’ is one antidote. Thirteen major areas of research have been selected, which cover the key concepts that have led to our current ideas of how the nervous system is built and functions. Unusually, we will explore these areas of research by reading the original publications, instead of reading someone else’s digested summary from a textbook or review. By doing this, we will learn how the discoveries were made, what instrumentation was used, how the scientists interpreted their own findings, and how their work, often over many decades and by many different scientists, linked together to generate the current view of mechanism and structure. We will also explore the personalities of the scientists and the context in which they made their seminal discoveries. To give one concrete example, in 1890 Roy and Sherrington showed that there was a neural activity-dependent regulation of blood flow in the brain. One hundred years later, Ogawa discovered that they could use Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to measure a blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) signal, which they showed was neural activity-dependent. This discovery led to the development of human functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), which has revolutionized neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry. We will read both these original papers and explore the conceptual links between them and discuss the ‘sociology’ of science, which in this case, the pursuit of basic science questions over a century of research, led to an explosion in applications. Each week the course members will be given between 2 and 4 papers to read for homework and we will then meet weekly for an hour long interactive seminar. An intimate knowledge of the papers will be assumed so that the discussion does not center simply on an explication of the contents of the papers. Assessment will be done continuously as the individual students are asked to explain a figure, technique, or concept.