Graduate Education in the Neurosciences

The laboratories of GWIN faculty provide opportunities for a broad range of research training in Neuroscience. Students in the GW Institute for Biomedical Studies (IBS), an interdisciplinary program dedicated to providing state-of the art Ph.D. training for biomedical scientists, or GW graduate programs in Psychology, Biology, Speech and Hearing Sciences, Education or Public Health are encouraged to pursue opportunities for Ph.D. research in any of the GWIN laboratories. For more information on graduate training opportunities available through the IBS programs please contact Dr. Linda Werling. For information on other GWIN opportunities for graduate training, please contact Dr. Anthony LaMantia, Director, GWIN.

GWIN also facilitates graduate training in the neurosciences via a graduate course in Neural Development and Developmental Disorders offered through the Institute for Biomedical Studies (IBS), an interdisciplinary program dedicated to providing state-of the art Ph.D. training for biomedical scientists. This course, offered as part of the curriculum in Neuroscience Track in the Molecular Medicine Program of IBS, is an elective open to IBS students, as well as graduate students in departments at the Columbian Colleges of Arts and Sciences, as well as other GWU professional schools. The course will be taught as a module in the Molecular Medicine Program curriculum in the spring semester. The tentative 2011 Course Syllabus and Schedule is provided below.

Course Syllabus: Neural Development and Developmental Disorders

This 8-week course will integrate basic biological and behavioral approaches to understanding the cellular and functional development of the brain—especially the human brain—with clinical approaches to understanding and treating developmental disorders including epilepsy, mental retardation and autism. The course will approach a series of integrated questions about how brain and behavioral development occurs, and how it can go wrong. Basic concepts and vocabulary for understanding brain and behavioral development will be presented, as well as fundamental clinical information on relevant developmental disorders. Integration will be reinforced based on reading and discussion of a single research paper each week that brings together multiple approaches to examine specific developmental disorders.

Course meeting time will be 8:30-10:30, M-W (unless otherwise noted), in a location to be announced.

Week 1: How is the brain built?

January 10:
Session 1 Cellular and molecular fundamentals of brain development(LaMantia)

January 11:
Session 2 How does behavior develop? (Subiaul)

January 12:
Session 3 An overview of how brain and behavioral development go wrong. (Gropman)

Week 2: How can the earliest steps of neural development go wrong?

January 18: (note: no class Mon. Jan 17 for MLK day)
Session 1 Neurulation and neural tube closure (Zohn)

January 19:
Session 2 Neural tube closure anomalies/holoprosencephaly (Muenke)

January 20: (make up/Thursday class)
Session 3 Discussion of research paper on neural tube closure disorders (Zohn/Muenke)

Week 3: How can cortical neurogenesis and migration go wrong?

January 24:
Session 1 Forebrain neurogenesis and migration (Corbin)

January 25:
Session 2 Lissencephaly, microcephaly, polymicrogyria and cortical heteropias (Liu)

January 26:
Session 3 Discussion of research paper on cortical malformations (Corbin/Liu)

Week 4: How can neuronal communication go wrong?

January 31:
Session 1 Synaptic development in the forebrain (Huntsman)

February 1:
Session 2 Pediatric epilepsy/seizure disorders (Gaillard)

February 2:
Session 3 Discussion of research paper on synapse development and epilepsy (Huntsman/Gaillard)

Week 5: How can movement control and bioenergetics go wrong?

February 7:
Session 1 Mitochondrial disorders/hypoxia/ ischemia and their effects on brain development (Chiaramello)

Feburary 8:
Session 2 Mitochondrial and movement disorders (Gropman)

February 9:
Session 3 Discussion of research paper on pediatric movement disorders (Chiaramello/Gropman)

Week 6: How can social cognition and interaction go wrong?

February 14:
Session 1 Structure, function and development of limbic circuitry (Corbin)

Febraury 15:
Session 2 Social cognitive development in autism (Subiaul)

February 16:
Session 3 Patient presentation (Gropman and staff)

Week 7: How do language and thought go wrong?

February 22: (Tuesday class due to GW's Birthday celebration)
Session 1 Development of circuits for language and executive function (LaMantia)

Febraury 23:
Session 2 Language, Cognition and Intellectual deficits in autism (Yerys)

February 24: 
Session 3 Discussion of research paper on language deficits in developmental disorders (LaMantia/Yerys)

Week 8: Fixing the brain after development goes wrong

February 28:
Session 1 Stem cell and pharmacotherapeutic approaches for disrupted neurogenesis, migration and synapse development (Corbin)

March 1:
Session 2 Behavioral intervention in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders (Subiaul)

March 2:
Session 3 Current pharmacological therapies for patients with neurodevelopmental disorders (Robb) (1 hour)

Session 4 Synthesis/Discussion/Debate (LaMantia/course faculty) (1 hour)