Neuroscience research in Seattle MCB seeks to understand nervous system development, brain function, and neurological diseases at the cellular and molecular level through a combination of molecular, genetic, electrophysiological, computational, and behavioral approaches.

Area Directors

Area Directors help advise students about classes and rotations in their interest area. They also provide a listing of suggested courses for those interested in Neuroscience.

Faculty Area Directors

Student Area Directors

Suggested Curriculum

The suggested curriculum outlined below is meant to guide you in choosing classes, they are not requirements. We highly encourage you to take the Foundational courses, while the Electives are more specialized and often cross between Areas of Interest. Remember to review the UW Time Schedule for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding whether a course is currently being offered.

2023-2024 Suggested Curriculum (document download)

NEURO 501 – Introduction to Neurobiology

Survey of molecular, cellular, and developmental neuroscience, including gene regulation, the cytoskeleton, protein sorting in the secretory pathway, growth factors, and neurotransmitter receptors. Includes lecture discussion of original literature.
Note: Must email instructor for permission.
Offered AUT, 3.0 credits, Weeks 1-10

NEURO 504 – Biophysics of Nerve, Muscle, and Synapse

Introduces biophysical properties of nerve and muscle cells. Topics include intrinsic electrical properties of neurons, ion channels, receptor signaling, calcium signaling, contraction of muscles, and synaptic function.
Offered AUT, 3.0 credits, Weeks 1-10

NEURO 548 – Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Plasticity

Discusses recent primary literature on the molecular mechanisms underlying structural and functional changes of dendritic spines and synapses in the mammalian brain as result of synaptic activity and experience.
Offered SPR, 2.0 credits, Weeks 1-5, Offered even-numbered years, Will be offered in SPR 2024

CONJ 531 – Signaling Mechanisms in Excitable Cells

Mechanisms of cellular signaling, particularly in nerve and muscle. Electrical, chemical, and mechanical signaling in the cell that lead to processes such as electrical excitability, action potentials, and muscle contraction.
Prerequisite(s): Comprehensive undergraduate course in general biochemistry and molecular biology, or permission of instructor.
Offered AUT, 1.5 credits, Weeks 1-5

CONJ 532 – Signal Transduction from the Cell Membrane to the Nucleus

Intracellular signaling pathways leading from cell membrane receptors to nucleus. Pathways activated by seven transmembrane receptors and G-proteins, insulin/PI3 kinase, MAPKs, and WNTs and mechanisms of signal termination. Cytokine/Jak/Stat signaling and role of subcellular localization in signal transduction.
Offered AUT, 2.0 credits, Weeks 6-10

CONJ 544 – Protein Structure, Modification, and Regulation

Overview of general principles of protein structure, including forces that contribute to folding and stabilization (in week 1), followed by comparative presentation of the primary means by which protein structure and function are studied (NMR, Crystallography, CryoEM and Computational Structure Prediction and modeling) in weeks 2 through 5. The course is intended for molecular and cellular biology student without a background or ongoing research training or experience in structural analyses. The course will introduce students to the basic principles, differences and similarities between different approaches for structural analyses, and will use examples from the recent literature to learn how to evaluate and exploit such studies.
Offered WIN, 1.5 credits, Weeks 1-5, Offered odd-numbered years, Will be offered in WIN 2025

CONJ 556 – Drug Addiction: Mechanisms, Prevention, and Treatment

Key advances, insights, methods, and challenges for our understanding of drug addiction from psychological, pharmacological, psychiatric, community prevention, legal, and neurodevelopmental perspectives. Enhances familiarity with the multidisciplinary approaches required to understand addiction as a disease.
Offered WIN, 2.0 credits, Weeks 1-10, Offered even-numbered years, Will be offered in WIN 2024

NEURO 503 – Cognitive And Integrative Neurobiology

Synopsis: Survey of all aspects of neuroscience, including a discussion of higher neural processes like motivation, decision making, attention, learning, and memory. Lecture and discussion of original literature.
Note: Must email instructor for permission.
4.0 credits, Dependent on department availability, Course not currently offered in 2023-2024

NEURO 511 – Seminar in Neurobiology and Behavior

Weekly faculty lectures, student presentations, and discussions of past and current scientific literature in neurobiology and behavior.
Offered AUT, 2.0 credits, Weeks 1-10

PHCOL 534 – Molecular Basis of Addictive Drug Action

Advanced consideration and discussion of current research literature addressing the basis of opioid, psychostimulant, and cannabinoid effects on signal transduction events, electrical activity of neurons, and drug-motivated behaviors in animal models of human substance use disorder.
Prerequisite(s): PHCOL 512 or permission of instructor.
Offered AUT, 2.0 credits, Weeks 1-10, Offered even-numbered years, Will be offered in AUT 2024

PHCOL 537 – Molecular Neurobiology of the Cell Membrane

This graduate level course covers the cell biology of eukaryotic cell membranes and how they contribute to normal functioning and disease. Students will take turns introducing weekly topics and will participate in discussions of 2-3 papers assigned for each class.
Offered WIN, 2.0 credits, Weeks 1-10, Offered odd-numbered years, Will be offered in WIN 2025


Connections Matter

UW Medicine pathologist C. Dirk Keene, M.D., points out large grooves in the surface of a brain. Photo credit: Erik Dinnel / Allen Institute.