Introduction to Neuroscience: Understanding the Brain

I - June 28–July 16, 2021
II - July 20–August 6, 2021
Modality, Day & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10 –11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.

Alexander Goldberg, Stephen Keeley, Pam Osborn Popp

This class is intended for current 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. Younger students should apply for Fundamentals of Neuroscience.

“Daily lectures described a multitude of concepts thoroughly and explained things in a way that was easy to understand.” — From a program course evaluation 

Course Description

This course is designed for students interested in the science of the brain, including its evolutionary origins, early development, and role in generating behavior. We explore theories of the brain as the seat of the self from ancient Greece to modern times, and investigate systems that make up the brain from the individual neuron to the entire central nervous system. We also look into how sensation, perception, and decision making work at the physiological level. The course blends historical trends in neuroscience with modern experiments and findings, and touches on major areas of research including animal studies, recording and imaging techniques, computational neuroscience, and neuropharmacology.

In-class small-group exercises, in addition to lectures, allow students to tangibly explore the ideas presented in class. Participants construct various models of the brain, critique professional neuroscientific papers as “peer-reviewers,” and visualize actual neural data with instructor guidance.


Alexander Goldberg

Alexander (Elie) Goldberg is pursuing a joint MD/PhD through Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and Columbia's Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior. He holds an undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Oberlin College. Elie's current research is focused on brain tumor associated epilepsy--understanding the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon with the aim of uncovering new treatment options for patients. He has taught science and mathematics at various educational levels, and mentors students interested in pursuing careers in science and medicine. 

Stephen Keeley

Stephen Keeley is an Assistant Professor in the natural sciences department at Fordham College Lincoln Center. His research focuses on developing new statistical methods for understanding neural data. He completed his Ph.D. at the Center for Neural Science at New York University under John Rinzel and Andre Fenton, and then moved on to be a postdoctoral researcher with Jonathan Pillow at Princeton University. Stephen has extensive experience teaching and lecturing in neuroscience and applied mathematics at a variety of universities.

Pam Osborn Popp

Pam Osborn Popp is pursuing her Ph.D. at New York University’s Center for Neural Science. In her research, she combines functional neuroimaging with machine learning and computational modeling techniques so as to characterize human learning and memory. She is particularly interested in the possible applications of cognitive computational neuroscience research to the field of education. In addition to serving as a teaching assistant for undergraduate neuroscience courses at NYU, Pam enjoys teaching life science concepts as a docent at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She received her B.S. in neuroscience from NYU with a joint minor in computer science and mathematics.

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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.