N131: Human Neurodegenerative Diseases is taught Spring Quarter by Professor Claudia H. Kawas.

CK 11-10 lab coat

Dr. Claudia H. Kawas

Prerequisite: BIO SCI 99

Course Objective:

This undergraduate seminar will introduce students to clinical features, epidemiological aspects, and neurobiological substrates of human neurodegenerative diseases. The focus will be on Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, and traumatic brain injury. Each week, small groups of 2-3 students will lead discussions that cover clinical (e.g., presentation, course, diagnosis, and treatment), epidemiological (e.g., prevalence, incidence, risk factors, and prevention), and neurobiological (e.g., neuropathology and genetic mutations) aspects of their assigned neurodegenerative disease.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to identify the clinical presentation and course of major neurodegenerative diseases, discuss factors associated with increased risk of being diagnosed with these neurodegenerative diseases, and describe the genetic mutations corresponding to each neurodegenerative diseases. In addition to gaining content-specific knowledge, this course is designed to improve oral and written communication skills through student-led presentations, group discussions, and a final research paper. Students will also learn to critically evaluate original research papers and design follow-up studies.

Sample Syllabus:

Week # Topic

Course overview and Introduction to Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • Review Syllabus and Designate Presentation Topics
  • Introduction (define dementia, causes, define incidence/prevalence)
2 The 90+ Study Lecture

Student-Led Discussion

  • Alzheimer’s Disease I

Student-Led Discussion

  • Alzheimer’s Disease II

 Student-Led Discussion

  • Huntington’s Disease
6 Using Stem Cells to Model Huntington’s Disease

 Student-Led Discussion

  • Parkinson’s Disease

Student-Led Discussion

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Student-Led Discussion

  • Frontotemporal Dementia

Student-Led Discussion

  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy