Blood and Brains: Neurovascular Physiology in Model Organisms

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
June 24, 2019 - June 28, 20196/24 - 6/28M-F 3:30P-6:20POpenApril Rodd

Course Description

We hear a lot about how our brains allow us sense the world and power our thoughts to make us who we are. But have you ever wondered about what else is in the brain besides neurons? To have healthy brains, a complex network of blood vessels with special properties support and protect this delicate structure. Focusing on the connection between the cardiovascular and nervous systems, in this course we will compare the physiology of species ranging from simple invertebrates to mammals. By studying the physiology of such diverse species, we can learn more about how these structures evolved, what purpose these non-neuronal structures have in the brain, and how they come together to form the blood brain barrier in vertebrates.

Across the globe, different species have evolved wildly different vascular biology and nervous systems. We will be looking at the way these two physiological systems come together to explore these differences and how diverse species of model organisms can help us understand complex biological questions. We will talk about the cardiovascular and nervous systems in species ranging from fish to flies and discuss the way research scientists use these different types of organism. From there we will focus on the blood brain barrier of vertebrates, including humans, and study the cell types and special properties of this structure. Using scientific research articles, we will talk about cutting edge science and research techniques used in the field and how that adds to our understanding today. This class will consist of lectures, discussions, lab activities, and a final project.

By the end of the course, students will:
• Learn how to read, compare and discuss scientific articles
• Understand the different model organisms used to study human biology
• Know how the cardiovascular and nervous system differs between animal species
• Understand what is important about the neurovasculature and blood brain barrier
• Know the cell types and properties of the blood brain barrier

Prerequisites: Completion of high school biology and chemistry is highly recommended.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBN0942
  • Length: 1 week
  • Supplemental Fee: $50

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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