Laboratory exercise

Measuring salivary cortisol in the behavioral neuroscience laboratory

The authors describe a laboratory exercise that works well with and is very interesting to undergraduate students.  Students  devise an experiment to test the effect of some variable (such as a mild stressor or circadian rhythm) on cortisol ("stress hormone") levels in humans. 

 

 

Bioinformatics/Neuroinformatics

From the website:

Crayfish swimmeret system

A description of the central pattern generator for the crayfish swimmeret system. It is based largely on the work of Brian Mulloney, from the University of California at Davis, adapted for undergraduates. It also links to images and videos showing the anatomy of the abdominal ganglia. The page is part of an online lab manual for an undergraduate neurophysiology course: http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/NeuroSci/courses/bio330/labs.html. Each exercise has a video demonstrating the procedure, written instructions, and color images showing details.

Anatomy of the Crayfish Nervous System.

A supplement to a laboratory exercise on motor units in crayfish abdominal ganglia, showing backfilled motor neurons, images of the ganglion, and videos of progressive serial sections through the ganglion in the transverse, sagittal and frontal planes. The serial sections and most of the other images were prepared by Brian Mulloney and Wendy Hall from the University of California at Davis. Higher resolution videos of the serial sections are available on their website: http://npb.ucdavis.edu/npbdirectory/mulloney_abdominal_ganglia/index.html.

Motor units in the crayfish nerve cord

A classical experiment in which students record spontaneous motor activity from a crayfish abdominal ganglion. It helps students understand that multiple units in a recording can be distinguished by spike shape and height. Students also apply nicotine to the ganglion, which produces high levels of motor neuron firing. The exercise is part of an online lab manual for an undergraduate neurophysiology course: http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/NeuroSci/courses/bio330/labs.html. Each exercise has a video demonstrating the procedure, written instructions, and color images showing details.

Electroretinogram of the crayfish eye

Instructions for recording the visual response (electroretinogram) from a crayfish eye to flashes from a strobe light. Students measure the delay between flash and response, and compare the long duration of the response to the very brief strobe flash. (The visual response involves a second messenger system, and the timing can help students think about the prolonged action of second messengers.) Students also measure the amplitude of the response compared to the flash intensity (controlled with neutral density filters), and they observe light and dark adaptation.

Action potentials in earthworm giant axons

Instructions for a traditional laboratory experiment to record action potentials from giant axons in the earthworm nerve cord. Electrical stimulation at one end of the worm, while recording from the nerve cord at the middle, shows the effect of reaching threshold and allows calculating the speed of conduction. The stimulus strength-duration curve is also measured. The exercise is part of an online lab manual for an undergraduate neurophysiology course: http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/NeuroSci/courses/bio330/labs.html.

Effect of Potassium Concentration on the Resting Potential

Instructions for measuring the resting potential from crayfish muscle cells as the external concentration of potassium is increased. The lab is intended to teach students about the relationship between the potassium equilibrium potential and the resting potential. The exercise is part of an online lab manual for an undergraduate neurophysiology course: http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/neurosci/courses/bio330/labs.html.

Using a paradigm shift to teach neurobiology and the nature of science—A C.R.E.A.T.E.-based approach.

Hoskins, Sally G. (2008). Using a paradigm shift to teach neurobiology and the nature of science—A C.R.E.A.T.E.-based approach.The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 6(2): A40-A52. ISBN: 15442896

The student surgeon: A behavioral neuroendocrinology laboratory exercise in rats.

Kirkpatrick, Meg E. (2009). The student surgeon: A behavioral neuroendocrinology laboratory exercise in rats.The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 7(2): A80-A84. ISBN: 15442896
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