Seminars

On This Page:
-List of Page Updates
-Fall 2020 Seminars with Spaces Still Available
-Lottery Information
-Fall 2020 MBB Seminars: Course Shopping Information
-Seminar Program Overview
-Fall 2020 MBB Seminars: Descriptions
-Fall 2020 Department Courses that Fulfill this Requirement
-Spring 2020 MBB Seminars
-forthcoming: Spring 2020 Departmental Courses that Fulfill this Requirement



Updates to This Page
-added section on fall course shopping information, 19 August 2020
-added note on seminars with space still available, 24 August 2020



FALL 2020 SEMINARS WITH SPACES STILL AVAILABLE

The following MBB seminars have openings as of the afternoon of Monday 24 August. If you are interested in being admitted to one of these seminars, email the instructors by Wednesday morning. Also add the course to your Crimson Cart with a request for permission to enroll. At some point on Wednesday, the instructor will get back to you if you have been admitted. (Because it will be a late-breaking admission, be sure to have a "plan B" so you can add a different course before the registration deadline at 11:59 p.m. if you don't get admitted to a seminar.) Today through Wednesday you can request admission to only one MBB seminar.

     MBB 980F, Creativity Research: Eccentrics, Geniuses, and Harvard Students
         
Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., Shelley Carson / Psychology / carson@wjh.harvard.edu


     MBB 90R, Psychopaths and Psychopathy: Psychological, Neuroscientific, Legal, and Policy Issues
         
Wednesdays 3-5 p.m., Ellsworth Fersch / Medical School / fersch@fas.harvard.edu

     MBB 980P, The Role of Music in Health and Education
         
Thursdays 3-5 p.m., Lisa Wong / Medical School / lisamwonghu@gmail.com




MBB 980 LOTTERY INFORMATION

Students will be admitted into MBB 980 courses via lottery. The lottery will take into account student and instructor preferences, enrollment limits (15), and priorities (MBB students). To enter the lottery, attend the first class meeting, complete the online form by the lottery deadline, and add your preferred seminar(s) to your Crimson Cart. Before the course registration deadline of Wednesday 26 August 2020, you will be emailed to inform you whether or not you have a space in the seminar. If you are admitted, your instructor will approve your course admissions online.

Fall Lottery: Submit your lottery form by 11:59 p.m. on Friday 21 August 2020.
Lottery form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1qLNcfpjwoyLjB-itSI5EAOQtlteTl8K-hcuXdDJ-vFM.



FALL 2020 MBB SEMINARS: COURSE SHOPPING INFORMATION
full course descriptions are available further down this page


MBB 980F, Creativity Research: Eccentrics, Geniuses, and Harvard Students
Tuesdays 3-5 p.m., Shelley Carson / Psychology / carson@wjh.harvard.edu
     Brief Introductory Video - https://youtu.be/KL-aMfx51r8
     Course Website including Syllabus - https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/76857

     Information Form to Complete by Thursday 20 August -
https://harvard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_38bOM9TU9KXWayN


NMBB 980N, Neuroaesthetics
Thursdays 12-2 p.m., Nancy Etcoff / Medical School / etcoff@gmail.com
     Course Website - https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/77094

MBB 90R, Psychopaths and Psychopathy: Psychological, Neuroscientific, Legal, and Policy Issues
Wednesdays 3-5 p.m., Ellsworth Fersch / Medical School / fersch@fas.harvard.edu
     Brief Introductory Video - https://youtu.be/Sw6AJ_ek8s4
     Introductory Meeting - Wednesday 19 August, 3 p.m. (see course website)
     Course Website including Syllabus - https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/77238/

MBB 980P, The Role of Music in Health and Education
Thursdays 3-5 p.m., Lisa Wong / Medical School / lisamwonghu@gmail.com
     Brief Introductory Video - https://harvard.zoom.us/rec/share/2f4rPqnB9WBJS8_j62WOYfc4IJ_ET6a80ChK_foOzk7Sz0_zFODN8kt2e7wAhDml
     Office Hours / Mini-Class- Thursday 20 August 3-4:30 p.m.
     Information Form to Complete by Midnight on Thursday 20 August - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe1kLsIVazHDYHVdibw_FL6hbmWzK46vEioXCTupAGA4BSuvA/viewform




SEMINAR PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Each MBB student is required to take an Interdisciplinary Seminar, usually during the junior year. These seminars are discussion-based courses that usually meet once a week for a few hours, during which students consider important readings and research on a topic or set of topics related to mind/brain/behavior. In lieu of exams, students usually prepare papers based on library or laboratory research, and grades are usually based on these papers and class participation.

In choosing a seminar, you might select a seminar closely allied to your interests to allow you to deepen your specialized knowledge, or you might take one in a more distant area to gain an appreciation of the varying perspectives and methodologies within MBB.

The seminars offered by the MBB program, listed in the catalog as Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980 courses, explore questions in mind/brain/behavior whose answers will require the perspectives and findings of several fields. Unless otherwise noted, their enrollments are limited to 15, with enrollment priority given to juniors in MBB tracks or in the MBB secondary field, and they provide four units of course credit. In addition to the seminars listed currently, we expect to offer several additional seminars in the spring.

In addition to the MBB 980 courses, some departmental courses also qualify, and are listed below after the MBB seminars.

Neuroscience/Neurobiology students are expected to choose only from among the MBB 980 courses (no departmental options). Some tracks, including Psychology and Human Evolutionary Biology, will want to approve which course a student takes from those listed below; consult your concentration advisor if this applies to you.



MIND BRAIN BEHAVIOR SEMINARS FOR FALL 2020

Creativity Research: Eccentrics, Geniuses, and Harvard Students
Shelley Carson / Psychology, carson@wjh.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980F, Tuesdays 3-5 p.m,
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 128215, class # 15174
Examines human creativity from three perspectives: a) empirical research sources, b) case studies of eminent creative achievers, and c) ourselves as creative subjects. Topics include the definition and measurement of creativity, the creative process, the neuroscience of creativity, the creative personality, the role of family life and culture in creativity, the relationship of creativity to IQ, gender differences, and the relationship of creativity to psychopathology. The course format will consist of a combination of lectures, student presentations, and discussion. Students will write a final paper on the topic of their choice related to creativity.

Neuroaesthetics
Nancy Etcoff / Medical School / etcoff@gmail.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980N, Thursdays 12-2 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 161267, class # 13783
Focuses on neuroaesthetics, an emerging field offering a scientific perspective on the nature of art and the ways that art reveals human nature. Integrates findings from neuroscience, psychology, evolutionary biology, philosophy, and scholarship in the arts and humanities. Begins with a brief history of ideas on aesthetics, art, beauty, and pleasure. Considers the neural underpinnings of response to art in the brain's reward system and default network. Among the questions considered: Why are people drawn to art that is neither conventionally beautiful nor entirely pleasurable? Is art a vehicle for simulating experiences and understanding other minds? What does it mean to "enjoy" sad music or chills and thrills in response to fiction or film? Can art promote well-being? The course will focus on visual art, fiction, film, and to a lesser extent, music, and on our response to art rather than its creation. The course will include a semester long gallery classroom at the Harvard Art Museum with original works of art from the museum’s collections that will serve as primary source materials for study and as subjects of assignments.

Psychopaths and Psychopathy: Psychological, Neuroscientific, Legal, and Policy Issues
Ellsworth Fersch / Medical School / fersch@fas.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980R, Wednesdays 3-5 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 207090, class # 15175
Psychopathy is often used to describe individuals who act in criminal even non-criminal predatory or conscience-less fashion. It is not, however, an official term in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, though antisocial personality disorder has in the past been described as encompassing psychopathy and sociopathy. Psychopathy was explored by Cleckley in his 1944 book The Mask of Sanity: and by Robert Hare in his 1999 book Without Conscience, and in his 2003 revision of his Psychopathy Check-list. My psychology department seminar on Psychopaths and Psychopathy a decade ago focused on behavioral research and case studies up to that time. By that time the American Psychiatric Association had issued a statement that psychopaths and those with antisocial personality disorder were not, for heuristic reasons, eligible for the insanity defense. Also, at that time, the determination that a convicted killer was a psychopath was often a strong indicator that the death penalty was warranted. Since then neuroscience research has increasingly explored brain structure and brain function in relation to the disorder causing some professionals to reevaluate the applicability of former positions on insanity and other defenses. Related research has further examined social and philosophical factors, and further operationalized behavioral considerations. In this interdisciplinary discussion-based seminar, students from any of a number of concentrations will examine and discuss that newer research in the context of previous research, and will write and present a briefer case study as well as a longer paper about a topic of their choosing.

The Role of Music in Health and Education
Lisa Wong / Medical School / lisamwonghu@gmail.com
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980P, Thursdays 3-5 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 205158, class # 15186
Music shapes the course of human history at both a micro and macro scale; The "universal language" has the power to connect people who share no other common ground. Its power to bind people together is intuitively understood, but only through recent neuroimaging advances over the past few decades have scientists been able to move past intuition to reveal its impact on the brain. In this course, we will examine the exciting progress of the fields of music, science, and social science, through a variety of lenses, and meet some of the experts in the field. Who are the key investigators and practitioners in today's emerging music/brain landscape? What are the latest discoveries about how music affects the brain? How does how we hear and listen impact our perception of music? Who are some of the key influencers in music and social change? This course invites students to deepen their relationship with music, exploring different aspects of the art form through the lens of neuroscience, education, medicine, music therapy, public health and social justice. By the end of this course, the learner will (1) understand the effect of music on the developing brain; (2) understand the mechanism of hearing music; (3) consider the pathophysiology of disordered movement and hearing and how music can be used therapeutically; and (4) understand how other disciplines can add to their knowledge of the therapeutic uses of music. Given the transdisciplinary nature of the work, students will be introduced to literature from different disciplines and use these resources to explore their own individual interests in music.



DEPARTMENTAL SEMINARS FOR FALL 2020

Among the departmental seminars that fulfill the MBB seminar requirement are neuroscience tutorials, small classes limited to 12 students. These tutorials are year-long courses that cannot be joined in the spring; they are listed in the catalog as 101Xa/101Xb pairs, and when you complete both halves, you will receive four units credit. If you are interested in any of these, you can find information on sectioning for neurobiology tutorials at https://mcb.harvard.edu/undergraduates/neuroscience/neuro-courses/?course-button=tutorials. The neuroscience tutorial application deadline is 7 p.m. on Friday 21 August.

Brain Damage as a Window into the Mind: Cognitive Neuropsychology
Alfonso Caramazza / Psychology / caram@wjh.harvard.edu
Psychology 1304, Tuesdays 12-2:45 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering and Applied Science, course ID 116622, clas # 16644
Examines the patterns of perceptual, motor, cognitive, and linguistic impairments resulting from brain damage. The focus is on the implications of the various types of neuropsychological deficits (such as visual neglect, dyslexia, and aphasia) for theories of the mind and the functional organization of the brain. Recommended Prep: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 or Psychology 1 or the equivalent of introductory psychology (e.g. Psych AP=5 or IB =7 or Psyc S-1) and at least one foundational course from PSY 14, MCB 80, or MCB 81 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor. Course Requirements: Pre-requisite: SLS20 or PSY1 or Psychology AP=5 or Psychology IB=7 or Psyc S-1 AND PSY14 or MCB80 or NEURO80 or MCB81

Maps of the Brain - How the Brain Organizes the World
Julien Grimaud / Molecular and Cellular Biology / jgrimaud@g.harvard.edu
Neuroscience 101Ja (must also take Neuroscience 101Jb in the spring), Thursdays, 4:30-5:45 p.m.
2 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering and Applied Science, course ID 207610, class # 15605
Neurons close to each other in the brain often get activated by parts of the world that are also close to each other: connected body parts, similar sounds, words with related meaning. This organized pattern of activity gives rise to brain maps of our surroundings. In this course, we will explore how the brain creates, uses, and updates such maps to make sense of the world around us. Each week, we will take a look at neuronal circuits in different parts of the brain (eg, somatosensory cortex, olfactory system, hippocampus) to see how scientists discover new neuronal maps, how these maps function and develop, and how they evolve with experience. Prerequisites: (1) Lifesci 1A or LPS A and (2) MCB 80 or Neuro 80.

Mental Health Matters: Recurring Themes and Unfinished Business
Anne Harrington / History and Science / aharring@fas.harvard.edu
History of Science 172 001, Mondays 12-2:45 p.m.
History of Science 172 002, Mondays 3-5:45 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 216373, HS 172 001 class # 18526, HS 172 002 class # 18527
This new course offers an opportunity to explore some of the unfinished business of modern-day mental health care through an historical lens, from incarceration to health inequities to trauma to the role of drugs and biological thinking. Mental health matters! But history matters too, because understanding the forces that have brought us to our current moment arms us with insights that allow us to do better. This course has also been built from the ground up, to take advantage of the potential of online learning. The course may be online, but it is far from "virtual" -- on the contrary, the heart of this course will be the active real-time engagement it will offer all students who enroll. Course Notes: Students must register for the plenary class session that meets on Mondays from 12:00-2:45am OR 3:00-5:45pm, as well as a weekly section to be arranged.

The Neurobiology of Sleep and its Role in Mental Health
Edward Pace-Schott / Medical School / epace-schott@mgh.harvard.edu
Neuroscience 101La (must also take Neuroscience 101Lb in the spring), Mondays 4:30-5:45 p.m.
2 units of course credit (for 101La and 101Lb combined), divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 207615, class # 15677
The scientific study of sleep is both highly interdisciplinary and among the most unifying of topics in psychology and the neurosciences. In the past several decades, exciting new discoveries on the neurobiology of sleep have been facilitated by technologies such as functional neuroimaging and molecular genetics. Sleep science exemplifies the translational approach in biomedical science whereby investigators in human and animal research work together to continually advance the field of sleep medicine. Scientific findings increasingly point to the importance of sleep for mental health and optimum performance, as well as to sleep disruption as both a result and potential cause of mental illness. In psychiatric neuroscience, sleep is an area in which many fundamental questions remain unanswered due to the unique challenges of studying human sleep. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit. Prerequisite: MCB 80 or MCB 81.

Neuroscience Fiction: An Introduction to Cutting Edge Neuroscience through the Lens of Film and Television
George Alvarez / Psychology / alvarez@wjh.harvard.edu
Psychology 1454, Thursdays, 3-5:30 p.m.
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 156569, class # 14125
Film and television shows often capture the cutting edge of science, and they sometimes even anticipate future scientific advances. We'll use examples from film and television as an introduction to several hot topics in the field of neuroscience, such as Mind Control, Mind Reading, Smart Pills, and Brain Machine Interfaces, which are all getting closer to reality. Will neuroscientists ever be able to control a person's thoughts, or to know what a person is thinking? Can taking a pill really awaken untapped brain power? Will you ever be able to drive a car without touching a steering wheel? In this course, we will cover the state of the art and the future of these exciting areas of neuroscience (and entertainment). Because these are not textbook topics, this is an advanced course that will focus on reading and discussing the primary literature. Recommended Preparation: The Psychology Department requires completion of Science of Living Systems 20 or Psychology 1 or the equivalent of introductory psychology (e.g. Psych AP=5 or IB =7 or Psyc S-1) and at least one foundational course from PSY 14 or MCB 80 before enrolling in this course; or permission of instructor.

Pain, Pleasure, and Everything in Between
Katie Lehigh / Medical School / kathryn_lehigh@hms.harvard.edu & Yasmin Escobedo / Medical School
Neuroscience 101Ma (must also take Neuroscience 101Mb in the spring), Tuesdays 6-7:15 p.m.
2 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 216045, class # 17282
We rely on our sense of touch for essential tasks and behaviors, including feeding, object recognition, avoiding physical harm, mating behaviors, and child rearing. This course covers the neural components and circuitry that underlie our sense of touch. From skin to the cortex, we will explore touch and its role in development, diseases, and most importantly, in our everyday life. Course Requirements: Prerequisite: (LPS A OR LS 1A ) AND (MCB 80 OR MCB 81).

Sex and the Brain
Taralyn Tan / Medical School / taralyn_tan@hms.harvard.edu
Neuroscience 101Ga (must also take Neuroscience 101Gb in the spring), Wednesdays 6-7:15 p.m.
2 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Sciences, fall course ID 205099, class # 15674
Animals exhibit many innate, sex-specific behaviors that provide useful models to study the underlying neural circuits, and sex differences in the nervous system also have important implications for human health. Through discussions, activities, and lectures, this course introduces students to various aspects of sexually dimorphic neural circuits across model organisms, while emphasizing critical thinking and effective science communication. Course Requirements: Prerequisite: (LPS A OR LS 1A ) AND (MCB 80 OR MCB 81)

Synaptic and Non-Synaptic Plasticity: How the Brain Learns
Joseph Zak / Molecular and Cellular Biology / jzak@fas.harvard.edu
Neuroscience 101Fa (must also take Neuroscience 101 Fb), Tuesdays 7:30-8:45 p.m.
2 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Science, course ID 203851, class # 17281
The course will start with a brief introduction aimed at reviewing general neurophysiological concepts on neurons, synapses, plasticity, as well as experimental techniques. We will then spend the major part of the year studying three main aspects of learning and its underlying plastic mechanisms: developmental, non-synaptic and sensory plasticity. The final weeks of the course will be devoted to developing a research proposal building upon knowledge acquired throughout the year. Prerequisite: (LPS A or LS 1a) and (MCB 80 or MCB 81).

Synaptic Circuits of the Nervous System
Aaron Kuan / Medical School / aaron_kuan@hms.harvard.edu
Neuroscience 101Na (must also take Neuroscience 101Nb in the spring), Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 p.m.
2 units of course credit, divisional distribution Science and Engineering/Applied Science, course ID 216048, class # 17283
Brain circuits are made up of complex networks of interconnected neurons. In this course, we seek to understand how the architectures of different neuronal circuits support a diverse range of functions, including sensory perception, locomotion, learning and memory. Through discussions of review articles and original research, we will cover a range of state-of-the-art experimental approaches in model organisms ranging from worms to humans, as well as explore how discoveries in circuit neuroscience can benefit engineering fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence. Students must to complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year to receive credit. Course Requirements: Prerequisite: (LPS A OR LS 1A ) AND (MCB 80 OR MCB 81),



MIND BRAIN BEHAVIOR SEMINARS FOR SPRING 2021

These listings are tentative (times especially not yet confirmed), and we also expect to add several new spring seminars.

Functional Neuroimaging of Psychiatric Disorders: Insights into the Human Brain-Mind in Health and Disease
David Silbersweig / Medical School / dsilbersweig@partners.org
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980M
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Sciences and Engineering/Applied Sciences, course ID 160759, class # 12838
Functional brain imaging has revolutionized the study of systems-level behavioral neuroscience and psychiatric disorders, through the ability to localize and characterize distributed brain activity directly associated with perception, cognition, emotion and behavior in disorders where there are not gross brain lesions. This seminar will introduce students to translational neuroimaging methods at the interface of neuroscience, psychology and medicine. It will cover recent and ongoing advances in our understanding of fronto-limbic-subcortical brain circuitry across the range of psychiatric disorders (e.g. mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, addictions). It will discuss new, emerging biological (as opposed to descriptive) taxonomies and conceptualizations of mental illness and its treatment. It will explore the implications of such knowledge for issues such as consciousness, meaning, free will, emotion, resilience, and religiosity. It will incorporate clinical observations, scientific data and readings, and examine future directions in brain-mind medicine. Class Note: Additional class meetings for site visits to be arranged.

The Functional and Structural Human Brain Connectome
Lisa Nickerson / Medical School / lisa_nickerson@hms.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980V
4 units of course credit, course ID 215757, class # 15251
Studies of functional connectivity (FC) of the human brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) data collected during wakeful rest have revolutionized our understanding of the brain's organization at the network level. Consistent with networks observed at rest, in vivo FMRI studies of brain activity during performance of tasks also reveal that large-scale brain networks that are engaged during task performance are the same as those that are "active" at rest. More recently, structural MRI has revealed gray matter structural covariance networks and advances in diffusion MRI have made it possible to study the white matter structural connectome via in vivo fiber tracking. In this course, we will learn the basics of MRI methods used for connectomics research, including structural, diffusion, and functional MRI, and how each of these techniques are used to study the structural and functional connectome of the human brain. Key methodological and interpretational issues for each technique will be discussed, including comparative neuroanatomy research that aims to integrate MRI connectomic measures with findings from translational studies using tracer injections to gain an understanding of the mechanisms underpinning MRI measures of connectivity. We will then discuss some of the brain networks that have been reported in the literature using these methods, and the links between structural and functional connectomes, with a focus on networks implicated in psychopathology and addiction. Last, we will discuss open access resources for connectomics research, including CoCoMac, the Healthy Adult Connectome Project, Lifespan and Disease Connectome Projects, and the CONNECT Project.

What Disease Teaches about Cognition
William Milberg / Medical School / william_milberg@hms.harvard.edu
Mind, Brain, and Behavior 980H
4 units of course credit, divisional distribution Social Sciences, course ID 109866, class # 13689
Seeks to reconcile the complicated and messy problems of patients with brain disease with the concise analysis of precisely defined cognitive functions in normal subjects. Students will learn to overlap cognitive functions on to the brain in disease - at the gross dissection and imaging levels - and to understand some of the complex interactions of individual cognitive operations in disease. Includes dissection of a human brain, mapping on to imaging, dissection of multi-dimensional clinical disorders into their component functional parts.