CSU cognitive neuroscience: The effect of oxytocin on the formation, expression and inhibition of fear memories
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School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Orange NSW 2800
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During the study phase (2014-2019), there may be academic embargos, ethics approvals with specific conditions, copyright restrictions, intellectual property restrictions, under which data can be shared.
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From October 2014 for five years, the data will be in the private research domain as the core research team, across two universities, undertake the research. From end 2019 once the study is complete, the data will be made open (mediated by the research team) and will be advertised as open (mediated access agreements).
Data collection is electrophysiology recordings made from acute brain slice preparations from rats and pictures of immunohistochemically labeled brain tissue from rats.
Data is currently 200GB in size and is expected to grow 1 TB/year for 5 years until 2019.
Data is collected as part of research funded by NHMRC and ARC national competitive project grants, as well as an ARC Australian Post-doctoral Fellowship.
The data within the collection can be used to address a range of questions related to: Fear formation, Fear expression, Reduction of fear memories, Fear extinction learning, Diet-related changes to anxiety and depression.
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Major in Neuroscience, Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Concentration
Major in Neuroscience
Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences Special Academic Unit
Assistant Professor Phillip L. Quirk, Undergraduate Program Director
1680 Campus Delivery
The Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience Special Academic Unit offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program with faculty in five different colleges and ten departments. Two different concentrations are offered as programs of study: Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience and Cell and Molecular Neuroscience. Both concentrations have a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biological sciences that utilize a common core for the first two years, differing in only a single course for each concentration, thus making it easy to switch between concentrations if a student’s interest changes during the first two years. Both concentrations require completion of an undergraduate thesis, providing significant opportunities for experiential learning in research laboratories in which they work closely with faculty, and which sometimes lead to authorship of original publications. Electives allow students in one concentration to acquire breadth and depth in the other area, if desired.
Students will obtain:
- A command of basic concepts in chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and cellular biology as well as a more in-depth understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system.
- An understanding of how the brain works, from molecules to the mind, and how its function becomes disrupted in diseases and following brain injury.
- The ability to critically analyze and present the methods, results, and conclusions of scientific papers in the current neuroscience literature, and orally present technical material in a clear and comprehensible form.
- Experience in the use of a variety of laboratory techniques, ability to critically interpret experimental results, and ability to design new experiments.
- The ability to perform original research or to critically analyze published work to advance an understanding of a specific area of neuroscience by preparing and defending an undergraduate thesis.
Possible career opportunities for students with a B.S. in Neuroscience include, but are not limited to: research technician, medical or clinical lab technologist, production/quality assurance lab technician, pharmaceutical research worker or salesperson, human resource specialist, neurotoxicology technician, teacher, writer, and research analyst. Many Neuroscience majors go to professional schools in medicine, veterinary medicine, or health sciences, or into graduate programs encompassing virtually all areas of biomedical sciences and psychology.
From 2017 through to late this year, students in the lab of Dr. Harris have been working on various research projects in behavioral neuroscience. Each biology undergraduate student has worked with Dr. Harris to understand how organisms make decisions and how genes and specific nerves in the worm ‘brain’ control these decisions. Each project uses the 1 mm long worm, C. elegans to understand how the worms ‘brain’ controls complex behaviors that are primarily dependent on smell. Despite the challenges that we all have faced due to the COVID19 pandemic, the Harris lab has recently published 3 papers that address fundamental questions in neuroscience and behavior. Four students in the Biology Program have collaborated with Dr. Harris to pursue various neuroscience questions in worms.
Brianna Ramos, who is in her last year at ‘CI’ lead a project where she investigated how worms and their brains can be used a model to study how mammalian systems, like cats respond to cat sensed odor cues in hopes to map the genes and brain signals that do this (Ramos et al., 2020, Worms avoid a cat sensed repellent). Brianna’s projects showed that our worms in the lab also repel from cat sensed repellents. This work aims to provide insight into how higher mammals sense odor cues and which parts of the brain and which genes control these behaviors.
Renae Ellis, a CSUCI alumni, who graduated last year lead a project with Dr. Harris (Ellis et al., 2020, Variation between nematodes in a multisensory behavioral assay), where they investigated how worms that originate from different environments and geographical locations make different decisions when encountering conflicting sensory cues, such as attractive foods and dangerous repellents.
Trevor Wolf and Ariana Perez who are both in their senior year completed the first chapter of a story that studies how a neurotransmitter signal in the worm brain, known as ‘glutamate’ controls how worms recognize and stay on an attractive food patch and is important in maintaining worms on a food patch through sensing of the food signals (Wolf et al., 2020, Glutamatergic transmission regulates locomotory behavior on a food patch in C. elegans).
The Harris lab recently published work on each of these projects. These avenues of research will continue in the future in hopes to understand the mechanisms in the worm 'brain' that are important in sensing and processing of smells and other cues in hopes to shed light on how higher systems, such as humans use brain signals to make decisions.
Our knowledge of the brain is expanding rapidly and neuroscience will play an increasingly important role in psychology. We are therefore proud to announce the creation of a new interdisciplinary minor in Neuroscience. The minor will be officially available beginning in Fall 2021, but students who are graduating in Fall 2021 or later are welcome to start working toward the requirements earlier. As shown below, the minor requires completion of at least 15 credits of coursework from Psychology, Biology, Health Sciences, and Speech and Hearing. We recommend that you consult with an advisor prior to beginning this course of study. Please use this link to learn more about contacting your advisor.
Neuroscience Minor Requirements: Complete a total of 15 credits of coursework from the list below.
- PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)
- PSY 368: Perceptual Processes (3 credits)
- PSY 482: Biological Bases of Behavior (3 credits)
- PSY 487: Brain and Cognition (3 credits)
- PSY 481: Psychopharmacology (3 credits)
- BIO 426: Neurobiology (3 credits)
- HSC 476: Neuroscience Systems (4 credits) & HSC 478: Neuroscience Lab (1 credit)
- CSD 351: Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech and Hearing Mechanism (3 credits)
- PSY 397: Neuroscience Independent Study (1-4 credits)
- HSC 495: Neuroscience Independent Study (1-4 credits)
a) BIO 426 requires at least 11 credits of prerequisite coursework.
b) HSC 476 requires at least 8 credits of prerequisite coursework and is only available to certain majors or by permission.
c) No more than 4 credits of PSY 397 and/or HSC 495 may be counted toward the 15-credit requirement of the Neuroscience Minor.
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