Thanks to grant support from Sewanee’s Center for Teaching (CfT), students enrolled in Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYC 359) with Dr. Kate Cammack or Histology and Microanatomy (BIOL 275) with Dr. Brandon Moore this spring semester will participate in a new cross-disciplinary collaboration.
For the first time at Sewanee, students from the two classes will investigate how behavioral experience can induce neuronal plasticity and alter specific brain anatomy in mice. First, Dr. Cammack’s class will design and perform a series of behavioral experiments in mice that will affect the production of new neurons (neurogenesis) in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning and memory. Subsequently, Dr. Moore’s class will collect brain tissues and perform analyses to visualize and localize the new hippocampal neurons produced by the mice during these experiments. Together, both classes will quantify neurogenesis and interpret these data with respect to the mice’s performance on the behavioral tasks. Students will co-present their findings at Scholarship Sewanee 2017.
Through this course, students will have the opportunity to design and direct their own cross-disciplinary research project. The two classes will meet regularly throughout the semester to discuss technical and theoretical approaches used by biologists, psychologists, and neuroscientists to understand animal behavior and anatomical biology. Students will also develop teamwork and communication skills by producing posters and giving oral presentations to a large audience. We are excited to offer this unique educational experience to Sewanee students this spring.