Montana State University

Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173148
Bozeman, MT 59717-3148

Tel: (406) 994-5120
Fax: (406) 994-7077
Location: 510 Leon Johnson Hall

Department Chair

Frances Lefcort, Ph.D.



BIOH 440: The Neuroscience of Mental Illness

Instructor: Dr. Charles Gray – 994-7338 -

Prerequisites: BIOH-313: Neurophysiology and/or BIOH-435: Cognitive Neuroscience

Overview: This 3-unit senior seminar course will review and discuss the neurobiological bases of human psychiatric diseases.

The course will use the following books as reference texts:

  1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Text Revision, DSM-IV-TR, (2000) American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC.
  2. DSM-IV-TR Casebook: A Learning Companion to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision
  3. Introduction to Neuropsychopharmacology (2009), Iversen et al., Oxford University Press.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of oral presentations in class and on a final written paper. Both assignments must be based on current, peer-reviewed scientific papers investigating the neural mechanisms underlying any of the major mental disorders. The chosen papers must include some method of measurement or manipulation of brain activity in humans, experimental animals or in vitro preparations. Materials for presentations can be supplemented by web-based material, including videos.

Each oral presentation should contain the following components:

  1. A general introduction and background to the topic of the study. This will include some background on the mental disorder, possible inclusion of an individual case, and a summary of the current understanding of the neural basis of the disorder.
  2. A description of the methods used in the study.
  3. A critical overview of the results and conclusions of the study.
  4. A summary of how the study adds to our understanding of the disorder.
  5. Proposed experiments to address unanswered questions.
Presentations and the corresponding scientific paper(s) must be turned in no later than the day preceding the date of the presentation.

The final paper for the class should be written in the format of a scientific grant proposal in which the student devises an experiment to test a novel hypothesis of their own design. The hypothesis must be based on an existing body of knowledge and evidence that is available in the original, peer-reviewed, scientific literature. Proposals based on review articles or websites will not be allowed.t ante.

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