DIGST Department of Brain Sciences


Requirements : for both MS and PhD

Diseases and Disorders in Brain Science

This course provides in-depth introduction to the pathogenic mechanisms of major neurological disorders including degenerative diseases, addiction, psychiatric disorders and developmental diseases. Recent updates of basic research on potential pathogenic mechanisms and pathological markers are covered.

Introduction to Brain Science

Introduction to modern molecular and cellular neurobiology. The course includes cell biology of neurons and glias, ion channels and electrical signaling, synaptic transmission and integration, neurotransmitter systems, sensory systems, motor systems, and brain development and neurogenesis.

Introduction to Systems Brain Science

This course provides in-depth introduction to the pathogenic mechanisms of major neurological disorders including degenerative diseases, addiction, psychiatric disorders and developmental diseases. Recent updates of basic research on potential pathogenic mechanisms and pathological markers are covered.

Journal Club in Brain Science

The purpose of this journal club is to create a learning environment for the students through the analysis of the articles. The students will hone the essential skills of critical thinking and effective presentation, as well as stay up to date in the field of neuroscience.

Method in brain Science

This course covers the techniques essential for the study of neuroscience, including molecular and cellular approaches, genetics, statistics, electrophysiology, and imaging


A thesis serves as a basic learning unit of scholarly work by training students in formulating testable hypothesis and research questions, assessing scientific literature, and writing original research into dissertation. Students present a public seminar based on their thesis as one of the requirements for graduation.


The Neurobiology of Pain and Itch

Over the past twenty years, great advances have been made in our understanding of the specialized molecules that detect painful and itchy stimuli and the neural circuits that transmit sensory information from the skin to the brain for processing. This course is designed to understand molecular and neural circuit mechanisms of pain and itch. Topics to be covered include molecular biology of pain- and itch-sensing neurons, the ascending and descending pain and itch pathways, cellular and molecular mechanisms of sensitization, and interaction of pain and itch.


The goal of Neuroscience (신경과학) is to build a strong base of general knowledge in neurobiology, to survey the systems within the brain that control sensation and movement, to explore how different neuronal systems contribute to different behaviors, and to explore the cellular and molecular basis of brain development and learning and memory. In this lecture series, the professors will teach from the basic properties of neurons to the systems and related diseases in brain. This course is strongly recommended for students who want to select the Brain &Cognitive Sciences as his/her major as well as who are interested in the brain-related research topics.

Textbook: Neuroscience Exploring the Brain, 4rd edition, Mark E. Bear, Barry W. Connors, Michael A. Paradiso Students will be evaluated based on attendance, reports (homework) and two written exams.

Advanced Chronobiology

This course intends to provide comprehensive understanding of chronobiology. Chronobiology research is one of the most interdisciplinary field in bioscience and it becomes a favored neurobiology model because of the cellular simplicity of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the daily pacemaker of mammals in combination with precise behavioral outputs. In this course, the pacemaker systems are presented first from a historical perspective and include in-depth coverage of fundamental properties of biological rhythms as self-sustained oscillators in multicellular organisms at the level of organs, tissues, on to the cellular and molecular levels. The course comprises of lecture and oral presentation followed by group discussion.

Evaluation: based on attendance, reports and written exams.

Advanced Neuroendocrinology

This course is to provide an integrative approach to neuroendocrinology from the point of view of ‘ from genes to behaviors’. It focuses primarily on the fundamental principles of neuroendocrinology such as the neurovascular hypothesis, the hypothalamic control of pituitary functions by neurohormones, interplaying with neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, and interaction between hormonal feedback signals and the brain functions. There are several domains including the actions of the nervous system on the functions of the endocrine processes, the reciprocal actions of hormones on nervous systems, and the functions of neuromodulators and neurotransmitters Throughout the course, the molecular and functional aspects of neuroendocrine mechanisms of action will be emphasized. Students are required to present seminal articles in neuroendocrinology followed by intensive discussion. Evaluation: based on attendance and reports.

Supercomputing for Convergent Scientist

It aims to lead students to be able to (1) perform supercomputing calculation, (2) analyze complex big data of their scientific interest using supercomputing PC cluster, and (3) visualize their scientific findings. The first part of the class covers the basics of the Linux computing system. The class offers a practical opportunity for students to set up a Linux operating system with a personal PC and then build up a supercomputing PC cluster made of many PCs together with a network switch which controls the traffic of communication among those many CPU processes. In the second part of the class, students are trained to operate/manage the supercomputing cluster, perform the supercomputing calculation of the scientific problems either explored by students or provided by professors. Then, students are expected to show their independent ability to present/visualize the results of their supercomputing calculation. This course offers the hands-on experience of scientific supercomputing to students whatever career they pursue.

Developmental Neurobiology

This course will cover the major topics in neural development. The primary focus is to understand the genetic and molecular/cellular events underlying the development of neural tissue. Lectures will provide general background, but are not intended to be comprehensive. In addition to the review of the overarching topics, we will identify the big questions in the field and how these questions are approached experimentally. Lecture slides and a review paper for discussion will accompany each lecture.

Neuroscience Techniques for In Vivo Research

This course is to introduce the neuroscience techniques with a focus on in vivo studies using laboratory animal models. This course will include, but not limited to, mouse transgenic/breeding techniques, surgical/bleeding/infusion procedures, in vivo gene delivery/drug administration techniques, and animal behavioral tests that are widely used in neuroscience. This course will cover basic principle of each technique, as well as its applications in the neuroscience field. Each student will introduce at least a technique of his/her own expertise, with brief introduction of research project. Alternatively, they will be asked to present research or review papers about the state-of-the art techniques. All students will be encouraged to join open discussion to share their knowledge and experience. Brief demonstration session can be arranged during the course, if needed.

Neurobiology of the Hippocampus

The hippocampus is a major component of the brains of humans and other vertebrates. The hippocampus, as a part of limbic system, plays important roles not only in cognition/memory formation, but also in mood/anxiety regulation. With well-established vulnerability of this brain region in response to stress, ischemia, and aging, the hippocampal dysfunction is widely associated with psychiatric, neurological, and neurodegenerative diseases. This course is prepared to understand neurobiology of the hippocampus. This course will deal with development, neural subtypes &circuit, afferent/efferent projections, functions of the hippocampus, as well as their patho-physiological implications. The course comprises of lecture, journal presentation, and group discussion session. Students are required to present research articles that will be chosen with the lecturer’s guidance.

Textbook: The hippocampus book, edited by Per Andersen et al., by Oxford university press.


Science as a profession has undergone radical changes in the last decades. Central issues include mentoring, misconduct in science, preparedness of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for careers in science, and the career choices currently available. To this end, this course will focus on mentoring and issues of ethics and scientific misconduct. Preparedness for a career in science issues will be discussed.

Applied Genetics

This class is designed to teach students having biological knowledge the practical use of genetics on their insect model studies. Especially, a Drosophila model system that is suitable for genetics approach will be the main subject of the class. ‘Fly Pushing’ is the main textbook of the class, and the related research papers will be also covered. This class will consist of lectures based on the textbook, journal presentation, and open discussion.

Behavioral Neuroscience

This lecture course focuses on behavioral neuroscience from a species- and research-based perspective. We will discuss particular but various organisms including C. elegans, Drosophila, fish, birds, and human and explore their behaviors and their contributions to neuroscience. In addition, we will learn historical and current importance of the study of animal behaviors to our knowledge of the brain and neuroscience. This lecture covers Introduction to Neuroethology, Neurobehaviors of squid, aplysia, C. elegans, drosophila, fish, birds, rodents, monkeys and human, and finally evolution of behavior.

Brain and Metabolism

The goal of this course is to understand brain metabolism. Students will learn about types, mechanisms, and regulations of metabolism in neurons and non-neuronal cells.

Text books: A. Kalsbeek et al., Hypothalamic integration of energy metabolism, Elsevier
Grade: Based on attendance and reports

Chemical Senses

“Chemical Senses” course studies the neurobiology of smell and taste in mammals and other organisms. It will focus on the anatomy and physiology of the peripheral and central nervous systems regarding smell (or olfaction) and taste (or gustation). It will also cover behavior study of the chemical senses in various models including rodents, fruit flies and nematodes. Neuronal disorders related to the chemical senses will be also examined. Enrollment limited to 15.

Mechanisms of Cell Death

This course aims to provide the biochemical mechanisms of neuronal cell death with an overview of programmed cell death and in-depth understanding of morphological, biochemical and cell biological markers of cell death. This course is not taught with text books, but handouts which will be provided by the lecturer as powerpoint will be given. Students are required to present seminal articles in the history of programmed cell death to stimulate discussion and understanding of scientific approaches and methodologies in the field of neuronal cell death. Practical aspects of modulating cell death mechanisms for therapeutic design of neurodegenerative diseases will be covered.

Molecular Neurobiology

This course examines the biology of chemical senses in vertebrates. The focus of the course will be on the chemicals (olfaction, pheromone, and taste) and signal mechanisms. This course covers the chemical senses as the level of molecular and cellular approaches. This is an elective course for the Neuroscience major. Below there is an overview of the entire course.

Text book: Cell Biology of Olfaction (Developmental and Cell Biology Series) by Albert I. Farbman (Oct 30, 1992)
Evaluation: Based on two written exams and participations

Metabolic Diseases

The goal of this course is to understand the pathology and mechanisms of brain function in metabolic diseases especially obesity and diabetes. Students will learn about the basic research and application to prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases.

Text books: G. J. Biessels and J. a. Luchsinger, Diabetes and the brain, Humana Press
Grade: Based on attendance and reports

Mitochondrial Biology

This class is designed to teach students having biological knowledge the essential functions of mitochondria and our current understanding about the mitochondrial dysfunction in many diseases. Students will present research papers or review papers, and then all students will participate in the open discussion. The class will cover major mitochondrial functions such as energy production, antioxidant defense, Ca2+ homeostasis, as well as the fusion/fission dynamics of mitochondria, etc.


This course is intended to introduce you to the field of neurochemistry. There are four cornerstones to modern neurochemistry: chemical composition and architecture, metabolic neurochemistry, chemistry of neural transmission, and methodologic development. About half of the course will cover the chemistry of neural transmission and a quarter will cover chemical composition and metabolism. Throughout the course, the functional aspects of all neurochemical mechanisms will be discussed. An introductory knowledge of biochemistry will be helpful in understanding the material presented. Evaluation: Based on two written exams and participations


This lecture course focuses on one of the key fields in modern neurobiology, neurogenetics, which attempts to unravel the genetic basis of brain structure, brain development and behavior. The course mostly refers to the simple model organism C. elegans but also establishes crucial links with vertebrates and Drosophila. This lecture covers The Structure of Genes and Genomes, Gene Function (Transcription and Translation), Regulation of Gene Transcription, Epigenetics, Genetics of Embryogenesis , Genetics of Patterning in the Nervous System, Genetics of Axonal Pathfinding, Genetics of Chemosensation/Thermosensation, Genetics of Mechanosensation/Feeding, Genetic and Environmental Regulation of Dauer Development, and Genetics of Aging.


On channels are important functional part of modern neuroscience. The understanding of ion channel activity in excitable cells is required for the treatment of several types of neural and heart diseases. In this lecture series, the students will study the basic properties of ion channels, cell membranes and electrophysiology using the well-known book 'Ion channels of excitable membrane' written by professor Bertil Hille. Text book: Ion channels of excitable membranes, 3rd edition, Bertil Hille Students will be required to present the designated chapter and to write a report at the end of semester.

Sensory Biology

“Sensory Biology” course studies the biology of sensation in mammals and other organisms. It covers five senses such as sight (vision), hearing (audition), taste (gustation), smell (olfaction), and touch (tactioception). It will focus on anatomy, physiology, and mechanisms of sensory neurons and organs, and it will also cover the comparative studies of these neurons and organs between vertebrates and invertebrates in the term of neuroscience. Enrollment limited to 15.

Signal Transduction

Consideration of the signal transduction mechanisms in the neuronal cell systems. Emphasis will be on the mechanisms of neurotransmitter, hormone, and drug action at synapses and the molecular basis for physiology and pathophysiology of the nervous system. The understanding of signal transduction through plasma membrane in neuronal cells is required for the treatment of several types of neural and heart diseases. In this lecture series, the students will study the basic pathways of receptor-mediated signal transduction through cell membranes. The format will be lecture, group discussion, and analysis of recent research. Students will be required to present the designated recent papers and to write a report at the end of semester.