Fundamentals of Neuroscience

Open to students entering grade 9 or 10 in the fall
I - June 29–July 17, 2020
II - July 21–August 7, 2020
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 11:10 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and 3:10–5:00 p.m.
Anamaria Alexandrescu, Dena Goldblatt, Carolina F. Henriques

One year of high school biology

“The class covered a wide variety of topics about the brain and motivated me to continue learning about it later on.”  – Kyren L. | New York, New York

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to foundational concepts in neuroscience in an immersive classroom environment blending traditional lectures, weekly in-class projects, and hands-on work.

We begin with an applied introduction to cellular biology focusing on the structure of the brain and spinal cord, from individual neurons to the entire central nervous system. We then study how this biological organization enables some remarkable features of living systems - sensation, perception, and action - and how these features have changed over the course of evolution. Using this knowledge, we turn our focus to big questions in modern neuroscientific research, including theories of attention, memory, and consciousness. We wrap up the course with a discussion of the societal contributions - and ethical implications - of neuroscience.

Participants gain a rigorous introduction to key ideas in the field of neuroscience and a foundation with which to pursue further studies.


Anamaria Alexandrescu

Anamaria Alexandrescu is a postdoctoral teaching fellow at New York University (NYU). She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the NYU School of Medicine and a B.S. in neuroscience from Florida Atlantic University. In her undergraduate career she was involved in research on the molecular mechanisms of stroke at FAU and on the neurobiology of schizophrenia at the University of Pennsylvania. In her doctoral research Anamaria researched the neurobiology of learning and memory, focusing on molecular mechanisms that contribute to synaptic plasticity underlying long-term memory formation. Her current research interests are located at the intersection between neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and education. She has taught high school and undergraduate neuroscience courses at Columbia, NYU, Fordham, and Yeshiva University. 

Dena Goldblatt

Dena Goldblatt is a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at New York University, where she is investigating molecular and cellular mechanisms of vestibular neuron identity specification and synaptic wiring specificity in the larval zebrafish. She graduated from Brandeis University with a triple B.S. in neuroscience, biology, and psychology, a minor in history, and an accelerated M.S. in neuroscience. At Brandeis, she studied molecular mechanisms of synapse formation in the mammalian hippocampus. Dena has had extensive experience working with diverse groups of students as a peer academic advisor for first-year undergraduates and as a TA and tutor for various STEM courses.

Carolina F. Henriques

Carolina F. Henriques is a PhD student in neuroscience at the City University of New York (CUNY). She graduated with a BSc in biology from the University of Lisbon, and a double MSc in neuroscience from the Free University Amsterdam and the University of Bordeaux. Before starting her PhD she worked at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where she investigated the circuits underlying motivation in mice. Her current doctoral work focuses on the mechanisms underlying fear extinction, a process through which an acquired fear response to a threatening stimulus is gradually lost when the stimulus is no longer relevant. Carolina is an advocate for women in science and a regular presence in scientific outreach events.

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.