NSCI 601 -   Topics in Synaptic Transmission                  

Example: 2015 schedule  Mondays 12:00 - 1:30  -  NW402 Med/Dent
Barry Wolfe  bwolfe01@georgetown.edu 

Assignments of specific papers to specific students will not be done.  No one will 'present' the paper(s). Everyone will be expected to participate on each paper.  The first set of papers is chosen by the course director.  The rest are chosen by students, as noted.

See comments about the course - 2013

Be sure you understand
a.  The overall hypotheses and goals of the paper(s).
b.  What was known before the study began that lead to the hypotheses.
c.  The details of each figure (see below).
d.  The specific conclusions of the paper.

You should annotate each figure in your copy of the paper to remind yourself in class regarding:
a.  The purpose of the experiment for each figure
          Why did they do this expt? What was the question or hypothesis?
b.  The methods used in each figure
          What did they do in this expt? If you don't know the method, look it up.  Are the methods clear and complete enough that you could repeat the expt? If not, what is missing?  Was the experiment well-designed?  How could it be designed better?  Are the figures clear and well-designed?  Are the statistics clearly described and are they appropriate?
c.  The conclusions reached from the results of each figure
          What did they learn from this expt? Are the controls adequate? Are the conclusions justified?  Are there alternate explanations for the results?

If you have problems understanding something, please come talk to me in advance


Example of the schedule:




  subject "Astrocytes are Not Potted Plants"
12-Jan Barry Henneberger et al "Long-term potentiation depends on release of D-serine from astrocytes" Nature 463:232, 2010
19-Jan MLK Day  
26-Jan Barry Pascual et al "Astrocytic purinergic signaling coordinates synaptic networks" Science 310:113, 2005
2-Feb Barry Fujita et al. "Neuronal transgene expression in dominant-negative SNARE mice" J Neurosci. 34:16594, 2014
  subject "Long-term Depression and its Effects on the Synapse"
9-Feb Sarra Lee, H-K, et al. "NMDA induces long-term synaptic depression and dephosphorylation of the GluR1 subunit of AMPA receptors in hippocampus." Neuron 21.5 (1998): 1151-1162.
16-Feb President's Day  
23-Feb Sarra Lee, H-K, et al. "Regulation of distinct AMPA receptor phosphorylation sites during bidirectional synaptic plasticity." Nature 405.6789 (2000): 955-959
2-Mar Sarra Seo, Jinsoo, et al. "Activity-dependent p25 generation regulates synaptic plasticity and Aβ-induced cognitive impairment." Cell 157.2 (2014): 486-498
9-Mar Spring Break  
  subject "Molecular Remodeling of the the Synapse"
16-Mar Vivianne Bosch et al. "Structural and Molecular Remodeling of Dendritic Spine Substructures During LTP." Neuron 82:444-459, 2014
23-Mar Vivianne Opazo et al. "CaMKII Triggers the Diffusional Trapping of Surface AMPARs Through Phosphorylation of Stargazin" Neuron 67:239-252, 2010
Thurs Mar 26 at 10 am Vivianne Frischknecht et al. "Brain extracellular matrix affects AMPA receptor lateral mobility and short-term synaptic plasticity." Nature Neurosci. 12:897-904, 2009
6-Apr Easter  
  subject "Excitotoxicity"
13-Apr Nathan Wroge, et al. "Synaptic NMDA receptors mediate hypoxic excitotoxic death." The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(19), 6732-6742, 2012
20-Apr Nathan Al Rahim, et al. Genetic Deletion of NP1 Prevents Hypoxic‐Ischemic Neuronal Death Via Reducing AMPA Receptor Synaptic Localization in Hippocampal Neurons. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2(1), e006098, 2013.
27-Apr Nathan Liston, et al. Circadian glucocorticoid oscillations promote learning-dependent synapse formation and maintenance. Nature Neuroscience, 16(6), 698-705, 2013.

Comments from students - 2013

This class increased my proficiency in science in numerous ways. Not only am I more fluent at reading scientific papers, but I am more critical of science, and more confident in my ability to design experiments. Furthermore, I enjoyed when Dr. Wolfe would talk about historical perspectives on papers, or contradictions in the field. Lastly, this class has given me so many new ideas and perspectives that I would have never considered. It was immensely enjoyable for me. Dr. Wolfe is an excellent professor. He challenges us to think about things in different ways. More importantly, when he would think through a problem verbally, or discuss his thoughts on data that were presented, it helped to shape my critical thinking skills

This course was reading and discussion based and was unique in that both the students and instructor chose the material to be covered. This allowed for a variety of topics all related to synaptic transmission and meant that every student experienced something they were interested in (except I think all of the topics covered were intriguing to every student and the instructor, even if not directly related to their area of research). Readings in the course helped me with my own research project and will probably remain valuable to me in the future.

Barry is always excited about the readings and actively engages in the discussions. He often challenged some aspects of a paper and was always helpful if we didn't understand a method or concept. This was very helpful in developing both critical thinking skills as well as overall conceptual understanding of the content. I love how he showed enthusiasm about every topic we covered over the semester - I wish I could take more classes with him!