Note: The information on this page is the same as that provided in the email sent students on January 23rd. If you did not receive that email but are a sophomore in or considering an MBB track or the MBB secondary field, please contact Shawn Harriman immediately to get added to our email list.
Welcome to the spring 2013 semester! This letter will provide you with information about upcoming aspects of your MBB program.
MBB has two foundational courses: Science of Living Systems 20 (Psychological Science) and Molecular and Cellular Biology 80 (Neurobiology of Behavior). These two courses are required of MBB secondary field students and students in most MBB tracks. (Some tracks approve alternate arrangements for these requirements, and track students who wish to explore this possibility should consult their MBB track faculty head or their concentration advisor).
If you have not yet taken the first MBB foundational course, SLS 20, you may do so this semester. Professor Steven Pinker is teaching it Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in Science Center C.
Most MBB sophomores will have completed Molecular and Cellular Biology 80, the Neurobiology of Behavior, this past fall. If you did not take MCB 80 then, you will be able to do so this coming fall.
Track students should also consult their concentration about its overall concentration and MBB track requirements. Secondary field students with questions about course requirements may email me.
MBB Summer Program in Trento, Italy – Informational Meeting TOMORROW January 24th, Application Deadline January 31st
This final informational meeting for the 2013 Harvard Summer School / Mind/Brain/Behavior program in Trento, Italy will take place tomorrow, Thursday, January 24th, at 4 p.m. in William James Hall room 105. The meeting will review the program offerings (coursework and cultural excursions) and provide an opportunity to ask questions about the program. If you did not attend our earlier information session, this will provide a useful overview of the program offerings that you can use in completing your application. If you attended our earlier session but have any questions about your application material, this is a good opportunity to speak with program staff about that. Click here for information about the Trento program. Information on the major source of summer funding is also available (note that the funding application is due the same day as the Trento application, Thursday, January 31st).
MBB sophomores have several sources of advice.
MBB track students should consult their concentration advisors for advice about their MBB tracks and their requirements. The MBB website's track section provides contract information.
MBB secondary field students seeking general MBB advice, including specific MBB course requirements and research options, please feel free to consult me. You may e-mail me to ask a short question or to discuss more detailed concerns.
All MBB students seeking broader MBB advice about the kinds of courses you might take; and MBB and its constituent disciplines, methodologies, and questions; about how to become involved in research; and about career development, you may speak with members of our Board of Faculty Advisors. This year's board consists of faculty from both your home school the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School, all of whom have been involved in a broad range of MBB programs over a number of years. Consult the MBB advising webpage for the names and contact information of faculty advisors. E-mail to schedule an appointment with one of these advisors.
Research Opportunities and Research Course MBB 90r
The MBB tracks require students to conduct independent senior thesis research, and we encourage all MBB students (including those in secondary fields) to have a research experience while involved in MBB. The sophomore year is frequently a good time to begin working in a lab or research program.
The MBB website includes a recently-expanded section on research opportunities. The page now provides an overview to research opportunities, information on MBB thesis research, links to webpages of other Harvard research programs, and a large number of available research positions. We constantly update the position listings, and the page currently includes in such diverse and exciting areas as adolescent trauma, avian cognition, pediatric pain, the social psychology of shared experience, power and status, cognitive development, memory, affective neuroscience and development, programming, inequality and ideology, social cognitive development, identity, memory consolidation and sleep, and intergroup prejudice and racism. We anticipate getting many additional listings for spring and summer 2013 in the coming weeks, and we hope you check them out!
Many of these research listings are eligible for course credit through MBB 90r (Supervised Research: Topics in Mind/Brain/Behavior). Details are available on the MBB 90r webpage.
If you are in an MBB track, you should consult with relevant concentration advisors about research credit (your track may have a research course you should take instead of MBB 90r), and about whether specific research projects listed on the MBB website would be appropriate for students in your track.
Secondary Field Sophomores: Registering for the MBB Secondary Field
If you are in or exploring the secondary field in MBB, we encourage you to register your interest with the secondary field web tool. Registering here does not commit you to completing the secondary field but helps you plan your program as it develops, and lets MBB access your student record to be able to help advise you about your program. In some cases, it may also help you get enrollment priority in some lotteried courses.
Special MBB Events – April 24th and 25th
The MBB community gathers several times each year for a variety of events, and we are especially pleased to invite you to attend our annual distinguished lectures. This year, we have a pair of lecturers from the University College London (UCL): Ute Frith of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Chris Frith of the UCL Wellcome Centre Trust for Neuroimaging. They will speak in the early evenings of April 24th and 25th. We will email details closer to the talks, but save the dates!
HSMBB (Harvard Society for Mind/Brain/Behavior) Events and Activities
HSMBB is an integral part of the MBB undergraduate program, and is dedicated to building a community among MBB students. HSMBB activities include regular seminars led by faculty and other researchers, communi-teas providing opportunities for students and faculty from across MBB to meet and chat, and the publication The Harvard Brain. To be informed about these and other HSMBB activities, check out its website, like it on Facebook, and join its mailing list.
Beyond events the MBB initiative and HSMBB sponsor, the Boston area has many talks of interest to students and researchers in mind/brain/behavior. The MBB website has a community calendar, which includes a selection of these events, some of which are of particular interest to undergraduates. Current such events listed include a book reading by former MBB seminar instructor Lawrence Friedman on his new biography of psychologist Erich Fromm (February 12th) and a special film presentation of Rushmore paired with a talk by Harvard Medical School professor Steven Schlozman (January 28th). This webpage is regularly updated as we receive event notices.
If you have any questions about any of this or about any other MBB activities, feel free to check our website for details or to e-mail me. The website provides details or links to track and secondary field requirements, MBB courses, research opportunities faculty and other Harvard researchers have asked us to post for undergraduates, and MBB in general. In addition, MBB sends out an e-newsletter with information updates several times during the academic year. If you are receiving this letter, you are on the mailing list for these newsletters.
We at MBB wish you a productive semester, and look forward to working with you as you settle into your concentration this semester!
Shawn C. Harriman
Education Program Coordinator