Biology 540 M01
Spring 2010  1 credit


Elba E. Serrano

     Jan 25 – April 6
3:30 – 4:55 pm
    Conroy Honors College Seminar Room



Contact Instructor

Textbooks and Computers

Class Schedule


Class (weekly)

Journal (April 19)

NeuroEthics Position Paper (April 19, May 3)

Class Policies and Procedures

Hot Links for Students


Description: Students in Bio 540, NeuroEthics, will consider and debate the ethical and moral issues that arise from our contemporary understanding of the brain, and our ability and desire to influence neural and sensory systems through advances such as chemical interventions, neural interfaces, and genetic manipulation. This 8 class minisession will address concerns prompted by research on the genetic basis of behavior, brain injury and death, pain, neural stimulation, and psychopharmacological drugs. Class activities will include discussion of neuroethics papers, deliberation of case studies, reflective writing, student presentations, and review of the history and guidelines for responsible conduct in research with human participants and animal subjects. Prior neurobiology coursework is not required.


Course objectives: NeuroEthics, is designed to provide students with a practical foundation in responsible conduct in research, and to encourage students to critically examine and evaluate the impact and consequences of scientific research. Participation in this course will encourage the student to develop her/his own ethical views regarding science and technology, and will foster awareness of multiple perspectives on ethical issues in the sciences and on the role of scientific integrity in research.




Dr. Elba Serrano
Ph. D. Stanford University
Regents Professor of Biology, Affiliate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Research Interests: Neuroscience, Biophysics, Nanoscience, Plant Bioactive Compounds, Scientific Ethics & Social Justice

Serrano Office/ Telephone

Biology Foster Hall 459  Tel. 575.646.5217

Student Office Hours

MTW 11:30- 12:00 & 1:45-2:30 and by appointment via email or phone

Course  Email  (submission of assignments)


You will be issued a 4 digit ID code by the instructor, Your written assignments should include this number on every page. Your name should not be entered on any of your written assignments.

Required Textbooks:

Bioethics and the Brain (Glannon)

Defining Right and Wrong in Brain Science- Essential Readings  in Neuroethics (Dana Foundation).

Textbook Vendors

Textbooks can be obtained at the bookstore or online from vendors such as Amazon and ecampus or Best Book Buys


Students may be required to bring laptops to class. The Honors College has wireless access to websites for in class activities. Netbooks are a powerful and inexpensive alternative to laptops that are suitable for class activities.







Jan 25


Course Overview


Responsible Conduct of Research

Introduction to NeuroEthics

Cultural Perspectives & Health Disparities

Feb 1


Prep week


Feb 8


Class Assignment

Human Subjects/Participants in Research:

History, Policies, Case studies

Pain & Rights

Feb 15


Class Assignment

Animals in Research:

History, Policies, Case studies

Pain & Rights

Feb 22


Prep week



Mar 1


Class Assignment


Profiling, Privacy,Choice

Mar 8


Class Assignment


Profiling, Privacy,Choice

Mar 15


Prep week


Mar 22



Spring BREAK

Mar 29

Class Assignment

NeuroEnhancement Technologies:

NeuroPharmacology & Neural Implants

Apr 5

Class Assignment

Brain Death

Neural Stimulation


Apr 12

Prep week


April 19

Class Assignment

Last class


Journal Due

(400 pts)


Paper draft due

(50 pts)

NeuroEthics and Religion

International Perspectives


         Submit print copy of your journal (400 pts) to Serrano in class

         Submit Journal pdf with your course 4 digit ID and Bio 540 in the file name to

Finals Week


May 3

3:30-5:30 pm



NeuroEthics Symposium


Paper (150 pts)

Date/time in official schedule for courses that meet Monday at 3:30


Presentation of Position Papers (150 pts)


dana; color:#A50021'>Paper (150 pts)

Date/time in official schedule for courses that meet Monday at 3:30


Presentation of Position Papers (150 pts)