Neuroscience teaching lab now offered

Associate professor Dr. Timothy Koeltzow.

December 3, 2012

By Clarrissa McWoodson ’14

Associate professor Dr. Timothy Koeltzow is introducing students to neuroscience with a new laboratory course that dissects the research, techniques, findings and ethics of the growing field.

The class, PSY 443: Physiological Psychology Laboratory, is being offered for the second time this semester and will be offered in the fall of 2013 as PSY 365, as part of a curricular restructuring. Dr. Koeltzow said the course is an important one because of the great impact neuroscience is having on the field of psychology and how psychologists study human behavior. It also prepares students well for continuing their education.

“I think the neuroscience lab is important to take for students hoping to attend graduate school in neuroscience, biology or biopsychology,” Dr. Koeltzow said. “It’s a hands-on experience that can give students important insights into the types of lab experiences they enjoy and will be a preview of graduate work.”

The course features a sheep brain dissection and the opportunity to perform original research with mice or rats, though alternative activities can be made available for students who are uncomfortable working with animals. Dr. Koeltzow said the lab work also offers students in the department the chance to explore “unknown element” of behavioral research.

“The most exciting and interesting component of the class is that there is an unknown element,” he said. “Unlike chemistry labs that I took as an undergraduate, where the outcome was fully known in advance, the behavioral experiments performed in this lab are novel and the results are unknown.”

Dr. Koeltzow said he plans on applying for grants in the spring to purchase microscopes and software that will enable students to study changes in the structure of neurons after they are exposed to different drugs or chemicals.