Bi-Weekly Discussions (200 pts): We will meet every other week to discuss material in the book and assigned papers in depth. Students will prepare a 1-2 page summary of key points of the articles for each session. Students will take turns presenting the articles to the group. Discussion sessions will meet: Jan 20, Feb 3, Feb 17, Mar 2, Mar 16, Apr 6, Apr 20, May 4.

Other Assignments (100 pts): You will be required to complete in class and take home assignments. Some of these will involve using the library and internet. These assignments will be announced and handed out in class.

Late assignments. 10% of the total points will be deducted for each week an assignment is late. Assignments will not be accepted if handed in more than 2 weeks after the due date.

Extra Credit: At the discretion of the instructor, it is possible that extra credit assignments may be assigned during the semester. These will be announced and assigned in class.

Grades: Grades will be calculated based on the two term exams, the Final Exam, the term paper and other assignments Your grade will be calculated based on a total of 800 points. YOU MUST TAKE the Final CUMULATIVE Exam.

200 pts Term exams (2 @ 100 pts each)
200 pts Cumulative Oral and Written Final Exam
200 pts Papers and discussions
100 pts Attendance
100 pts Take home and in class assignments

Be sure to XEROX and/or BACKUP all assignments before submitting them to the instructor. SAVE xeroxes of all graded assignments and exams from this course at least until you have received your final grade. Any questions and concerns about grading or errors in grading should be discussed with the instructor within 2 weeks of return of the graded assignment.

Grade Scale:

A 720-800 pts
B 640-719 pts
C 560-639 pts
D 480-559 pts
F < 480 pts
Note: The grade scale may be curved at the end of the semester at the discretion of the instructor.

S/U Option: Students must meet all requirements of the course. A grade of C- is required to receive an S in the course.

  Syllabus modification: The instructor reserves the right to modify this syllabus during the semester as considered necessary to enhance the quality of the instruction, to meet the needs of students in the class and to achieve course objectives. Any changes to the syllabus [or to the course schedule] will be announced in class and you are responsible for being aware of them.

Important dates:

Jan 21 Last date to add courses
Feb 29 Exam 1
Mar 9 Last date to withdraw from course
                            Apr 18 Exam 2 Apr 25 Term paper due
May 11 Final Exam 1-3pm

Withdrawals: It is your responsibility to withdraw from the course. The instructor will not automatically drop you from the course for failure to attend class or complete exams or assignments. The deadline for withdrawal is March 9.

Code of Conduct: Students are expected to abide by the "Student code of conduct" in the current "Student Handbook". Pay particular attention to the sections on Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism.


If you have, or believe you have, a disability and would benefit from any accommodation(s), you may wish to self-identify by contacting the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office located at Garcia Annex [phone 646-6840; TTY 646-1918] to register. If you have already registered, please make sure that your instructor receives a copy of the accommodation memorandum from SSD within the first two weeks of classes. It will be your responsibility to inform either your instructor or SSD representative (in a timely manner) if the services or accommodations provided are not meeting your needs.

  If you have a condition that may affect your ability to exit safely from the premises in an emergency or that may cause an emergency during class, you are encouraged to discuss any concerns with the instructor and/or Ms. Jan Spinti, SSD Coordinator.

Feel free to call Ms. Elva Telles, EEO/ADA & Employee Relations Director, at 646-3333 with any questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. All medical information will be treated confidentially."

DEPARTMENT OFFICE: The Biology Department office is in FOSTER HALL 234, 646-3611. The department secretaries are Ms. Gloria Valencia and Ms. Reta Akers.

DEPARTMENT CHAIR: The Biology Department chair is Dr. Laura Huenneke. Her office is in FOSTER HALL 234 (X63611).

You are encouraged to read widely in your text by Zigmond et al.
Suggested chapters are provided below.

  Jan 13

Introduction to Neurobiology

  • Greenfield Ch 1
  • Bear Ch 1
Jan 18

Neuron and Glial Structure & Function
Cell types and diversity

  • Bear Ch 2
  • Zigmond Ch 3
  • Library Hof et al Ch.3
Jan 20

Neuron and Glial Structure & Function
Membranes, organelles and transport

  • Library Brady et al Ch.4
  • Zigmond Ch 4
Jan 25

Neural Signalling:
Electrical properties of neurons: resting potentials and "passive" properties

  • Greenfield Ch 3
  • Bear Ch 3
  • Zigmond Ch 5,6
  • Library Purves et al Ch. 2
Jan 27

Neural Signalling
Action potentials and "active" properties 

  • Bear Ch 4
  • Library Purves et al Ch. 3
Feb 1

Neural Signalling
Ion channels and pumps

  • Library Purves et al Ch.4
Feb 3 

Neural Communication
Electrical and chemical synaptic transmission

  • Bear Ch 5
  • Zigmond Ch7, 11, 12, 13
  • Net and Library Search Due
Feb 8

Neural Communication
Muscle and motor neurons

  • Library Floeter et al Ch. 30 
  • Zigmond Ch 30
Guest Lecturer:

Dr. Graciela Unguez

Biology Department, NMSU

Feb 10

Neural Communication
Neurotransmitters and Receptors

  • Bear Ch 6 
  • Zigmond Ch 8,9
  • Problem Set Due
Feb 15

Neural Organization
Central nervous system (CNS)

  • Bear Ch 7 
  • Zigmond Ch 9, 50
Feb 17

Neural Organization
Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

  • Zigmond Ch 38
Feb 22

CNS Control of Movement
Reflexes, motor cortex, and cerebellum 

  • Greenfield Ch 2 
  • Bear Ch 13, 14 
  • Zigmond Ch 31-35
Feb 24

Integration of Concepts

Feb 29


January 13- February 24

Mar 2

Sensory systems: Olfaction and Taste

  • Bear Ch 8 
  • Zigmond Ch 25
Mar 7

Sensory systems: Visual System

  • Bear Ch 9 
  • Zigmond Ch 28
Mar 9

Sensory systems: Visual System

  • Bear Ch 10 
  • Zigmond Ch 28
Mar 14

Sensory systems: Audition and balance

  • Bear Ch 11 
  • Zigmond Ch 27,28
Mar 16

Sensory systems: Audition and balance

  • Zigmond Ch 27,28
Mar 21

Sensory systems: Somatosensory System

  • Bear Ch 12 
  • Zigmond Ch 26
Mar 23

Brain Chemistry and Behavior

  • Bear Ch 15 
  • Zigmond Ch 37, 43, 44, 49
Mar 28

D D D Spring Break D D D

Mar 30 

D D D Spring Break D D D

Apr 4

Brain Chemistry and Behavior

  • Bear Ch 15 
  • Library Liska Ch 6-8 
  • Zigmond Ch 37, 43, 44, 49
Apr 6

Learning and Memory

  • Greenfield Ch 5
  • Bear Ch 19, 20 
  • Zigmond Ch 55,56
Apr 11

Integration of Concepts

Dr. Oliver Sacks 

University Honors Speaker

Pan American Center

7 pm 

Apr 13

Early neural development

Neural induction and pattern formation

  • Bear Ch 7
  • Greenfield Ch 4
  • Library Purves et al Ch. 20
  • Zigmond Ch 15-22
Apr 18


March 2 - April 11

Apr 20 

Early neural development
Neurogenesis, cell migration, axon guidance

  • Bear Ch 18
  • Library Purves et al Ch. 21 
  • Zigmond Ch 15-22
Apr 25

Wiring the Brain
Synapse formation, programmed cell death

  • Bear Ch 18
  • Zigmond Ch 15-22
Apr 27 

Guest lecturer:

Professor Harold Zakon
Section of Neurobiology
UT Austin School of Biological Sciences

May 2

Neurodegenerative Diseases

May 4

Summary lecture

  May 11 EXAM WEEK

Cumulative Final Exam:
Thursday May 11 
1:00-3:00 pm




February 8
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Graciela Unguez, Assistant Professor of Biology. Dr. Unguez is a developmental neurobiologist specializing in muscle biology and mechanisms of cell differentiation.

April 9-12
The Southwestern and Rocky Mountain Division (SWARM) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 76th Annual meeting will be held at New Mexico State Univeristy, 9-12 April 2000 . Deadlines for Abstracts is 12 February 2000. Access web-site for more information and to register online:

April 11
The Spring 2000 University Honors speaker will be Dr. Oliver Sacks. "The author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings, An Anthropologist on Mars, and The Island of the Colorblind, he is a master at creating compassionate drama from the uncanny dysfunctions of the brain. Patients who are suddenly awakened after forty years in a catatonic trance. A student whose drug use left him recognizing loved ones only by smell. An autistic woman Ph.D. who cannot perceive the simplest human emotions, but prefers the mechanical "hug" of her squeeze machine. These are the real people who have become unforgettable characters in the life and works of Dr. Oliver Sacks. Dr. Sacks will speak at NMSU's Pan American Center on April 11, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public."

April 27
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Harold Zakon, Professor and Chair, Section of Neurobiology, UT Austin School of Biological Sciences. Dr. Zakon is a neurobiologist specializing in electrophysiology and the effects of sex steroid hormones on the nervous systems.

t 7:00 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public."

April 27
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Harold Zakon, Professor and Chair, Section of Neurobiology, UT Austin School of Biological Sciences. Dr. Zakon is a neurobiologist specializing in electrophysiology and the effects of sex steroid hormones on the nervous systems.