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 Developmental Neurobiology  posted by  duggu   on 12/11/2007  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Nedivi, Elly, 9.18 Developmental Neurobiology, Spring 2005. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 08 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Coronal sections of brain depicting cortical plasticity gene expression.

Coronal sections of brain depicting cortical plasticity gene expression during development. (Image courtesy of Corey C. Harwell)

Course Highlights

This course features an extensive reading list and examples of student presentations on assigned readings.

Course Description

This course considers molecular control of neural specification, formation of neuronal connections, construction of neural systems, and the contributions of experience to shaping brain structure and function. Topics include: neural induction and pattern formation, cell lineage and fate determination, neuronal migration, axon guidance, synapse formation and stabilization, activity-dependent development and critical periods, development of behavior.




9.01, 7.012 / 7.013 / 7.014

Course Format

  • 50 minute lecture
  • 10 minute break
  • 20 minute presentation of research article (Topic 1) by student
  • 10 minute discussion
  • 20 minute presentation of research article (Topic 2) by student
  • 10 minute discussion

Each student will be expected to present 2 topics during the semester. All students should e- mail their top four topic choices by order of preference before lecture 1 to the instructor. These will be taken into consideration before topics are assigned.

All students are expected to read in advance at least the background reviews. You are required to discuss your topic with the instructor at least a week prior to presentation.


Final exam for undergraduates will include material from all reading lists, except additional reading list. Final exam for graduate students will include material from all reading lists.

Each student will be expected to present 2 topics during the semester.

Each presentation will constitute 25% of final grade (50% total). Graduate students are expected to contribute to discussion with material from additional reading list.

Recommended Textbooks

Cowan, W. Maxwell, Thomas M. Jessell, and S. Lawrence Zipursky, eds. Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Neural Development. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN: 0195111664.

Sanes, Dan H., Thomas A. Reh, and William A. Harris, eds. Development of The Nervous System. Burlington, MA: Academic Press, 2000. ISBN: 012300330X.

Susan K. McConnell, James L. Roberts, Nicholas C. Spitzer, and Michael J. Zigmond. Fundamental Neuroscience. 2nd ed. Edited by Larry S. Squire, and Floyd E. Bloom. Burlington, MA: Academic Press, 2002. ISBN: 0126603030.




1 Introduction
2 Neural Induction
3 Establishing the CNS Anterior/Posterior Axis
4 Hox Genes and Segmental Organization of the Hindbrain and Spinal Cord
5 The Spinal Cord Dorsal/Ventral Axis
6 Regionalization of the Embryonic Midbrain and Forebrain
7 Lineage Studies
8 Neural Crest
9 Progression from Extrinsic to Intrinsic Signals of Cell Fate
10 Neuronal Migration 1: Radial vs Tangential Movement
Prof. Carlos Lois, MIT
11 Asymmetric Cell Divisions
12 Stem Cells
13 Axon Guidance 1: Cues, Receptors and Downstream Signalling
Prof. Paul Garrity, MIT
14 Axon Guidance 2: Cues, Receptors and Downstream Signalling
Prof. Paul Garrity, MIT
15 Cell Death
16 Growth Factors
17 Map Formation 1: The Retinotectal System
- Chemical and Molecular Gradients
18 Neuronal Migration 2: Long Distance Travel
Prof. Carlos Lois, MIT
19 Map Formation 2: The Olfactory System
- Representing Smells in the Brain
20 Activity Dependent Development 1: The Visual System
21 Cortical Regionalization: Specification of Functional Domains
Maria Donohgue, Yale University
22 Activity Dependent Development 2: Plasticity Genes
23 Synapse Formation 1: NMJ
24 Synapse Formation 2: Central Synapses
25 Review   Tell A Friend