Welcome to BIOL 490!

The main focus of the seminar is to explore how behaviour could be specified by coordinated activity in a neuronal population. More precisely, we’ll look at the principles that underlie the computational and behavioural functions of a neuronal circuit. With the advancement of experimental methods in systems neuroscience, increasingly more models are emerging that point to distinct neuronal populations as the main functional units in the brain. This seminar is meant to be an exploration of the emerging concepts and findings related to the field of neural circuits. Some of the guiding questions for the seminar are: 


Neural Circuits of Behaviour

How are social behaviours, such as mating and aggression and parenting regulated and what is their neural basis?

How does the collective activity of neurons encode behavioural information in a neuronal ensemble?

How much can optogenetic studies tell us about neural control of behaviour? Are they enough to establish causality? 


Neural Circuits of Memory 

What is the neural basis of memory and what is a memory engram?

How do neural ensembles encode and process information? What coding principles (that we know of) can underlie their function?

If the brain is an information-processing unit as is widely believed, what are the tools at our disposal for looking at computational principles underlying neural functions?

The seminar is composed of three main modules through which we will cover neural circuits governing:

Module 1: Neural Circuits of Aggression

Module 2: Neural Circuits of Mating Behaviour

Module 3: Memory Engrams

Module 4: Student Lectures 


The seminar is a UBC accredited biology course worth 3-credits upon completion.  The course is currently open to registration. To register, please fill out the form here.

Note: The seminar is limited to 15 students. In case of over-enrollment, students are selected based on relevant coursework and year.