Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Description

An opportunity for graduate study of advanced subjects in Brain and Cognitive Sciences not included in other subject listings. The key topics covered in this course are Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Genetics of Psychiatric Disorder, DISC1, Ca++ Signaling, Neurogenesis and Depression, Lithium and GSK3 Hypothesis, Behavioral Assays, CREB in Addiction and Depressive Behaviors, The GABA System-I, The GABA System-II, The Glutamate Hypothesis of Schizophrenia, The Dopamine Pathway and DARPP32.

Course Readings

Readings for this course come from a variety of peer-reviewed journals and are included on a weekly basis as described in the calendar.

Course Assignments

Assignments for this course are based on readings from journals and are assigned as shown in the table on the assignments page. All assignments are due 3 weeks after the final lecture.

Course Grading

There are no mid-term or final exams for this course. Students will receive a Pass/Fail grade based on their participation in the class.



General introduction

“Genome-wide association studies for complex traits: consensus, uncertainty and challenges.” Reading assignment handed out

2 Bipolar disorder Roy H. Perlis (MD, Harvard Medical School, MA)
3 Psychosis, Schizophrenia

Dost Ongur (MD, PhD, McLean Hospital, MA)

Bruce Cohen (MD, PhD, McLean Hospital, MA)

4 Genetics of psychiatric disorder Pamela Sklar (MD, PhD, Mass General Hospital, MA Harvard Medical School, MA)
5 DISC1 Li-Huei Tsai (PhD, MIT, MA)
6 Ca++ signaling Michael Greenberg (PhD, Harvard Medical School, MA)
7 Literature discussion: neurogenesis and depression Lead by Simona Tescu (MIT, MA) and Aline Blunk (MIT, MA)
8 Lithium and GSK3 hypothesis Steve Haggarty (PhD, Harvard Medical School, MA)

Behavioral assays

“Overview of animal models of Schizophrenia.” Reading assignment handed out

“Different behaviors and different strains: potential new ways to model bipolar disorder.” Reading assignment handed out

“The ascent of mouse: advances in modelling human depression and anxiety.” Reading assignment handed out

Tracey Petryshen (PhD, MIT, MA)

CREB in addiction and depressive behaviors

“Biological substrates of reward and aversion: a nucleus accumbens activity hypothesis.” Reading assignment handed out

“Understanding the neurobiological consequences of early exposure to psychotropic drugs: linking behavior with molecules.” Reading assignment handed out

“The mesolimbic dopamine reward circuit in depression.” Reading assignment handed out

Bill Carlezon (PhD, McLean Hospital, MA)
11 Literature discussion: the GABA System-I Lead by Stuart Layton (MIT, MA) and Matt Ogdie (MIT, MA)
12 Literature discussion: the GABA System-II  
13 Literature discussion: the glutamate hypothesis of Schizophrenia Lead by Takahiro Soda (Harvard Medical School, MA) and Carol Watkins (MD, PhD, Northern County Psychiatric Associates, MD)
14 Literature discussion: the dopamine pathway and DARPP32 Lead by Takahiro Soda (Harvard Medical School, MA) and Nadya Modyanova (PhD, MIT, MA)