Kavli Institute of Brain Science at Columbia University


W4011: "Circuits in the Brain"††† Fall 2013.



Meeting times: Fridays 9am-11am. Room 909 North West Corner Building


Instructor: Rafael Yuste, Professor, Dept. Biological Sciences, 906 NWC, rmy5@columbia.edu, Phone: 854-2354


Office Hours: By arrangement


Credits: 3


Text: (available in BookCulture, the Columbia Bookstore and in the Science Library Reserve section)


Behavioral Neurobiology: An Integrative Approach, 2nd edition

GŁnther K. H. Zupanc

Publication Date: July 1, 2010 | ISBN-10: 0199208301 | ISBN-13: 978-0199208302 |


Also: Articles chosen from the relevant literature.



††††††††††† This course is an advanced seminar that will review current knowledge about the computations carried out by circuits present in the CNS. This year the seminar will focus on Neurotehology, reviewing the rich tradition of exquisite behavioural and computational studies in than field and connecting that information with relevant knowledge in neural circuits.

††††††††††† The class will run as a seminar discussion, where it is assumed that every student will have studied the reading material ahead of time and will be knowledgeable enough to explain it.


Targeted audience: W3004 and W3005, or similar courses, are ideal background for the course. To maintain a small class size and ensure the participation of all students in all the discussions, only 20 students will be admitted. Graduate students are welcome but undergraduate students in their final year majoring in Neuroscience and Behaviour will have preference. Auditors will not be accepted.

††††††††††† Instructor permission is necessary for registration.


Grading: An short (maximum 5 page) essay on any of the topics discussed in the course is due on the last day of class and will be used for the final grade, together with evaluation of class participation.





September 6th: 1. Introduction

September 13th: 2. Fundamentals of Neurobiology

September 20th: 3. Fundamentals of Ethology

September 27th: 4. Behavioral Neurobiology: A Brief History

October 4th: 5. Spatial Orientation and Sensory Guidance

October 11th: 6. Neuronal Control of Motor Output

October 18th: 7. Neuronal Processing of Sensory Information

October 25th: 8. Sensorimotor Integration: The Jamming Avoidance Response of the Weakly Electric Fish

November 1st: 9. Neuromodulation: The Accommodation of Motivational Changes in Behavior

November 8th: 10. Biological Timing and Circadian Clocks

November 15th: 11. Large-Scale Navigation: Migration and Homing

November 22nd 12. Communication

December 6th: 13. Cellular Mechanisms of Learning and Memory

December 13th: Review