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Experimental methods in neuroscience a new undergraduate behavioral neuroscience laboratory course for teaching data collection, statistical analyses and report writing



Experimental methods in neuroscience a new undergraduate behavioral neuroscience laboratory course for teaching data collection, statistical analyses and report writing



Society for Neuroscience Abstract Viewer & Itinerary Planner : Abstract No 22 31



In Fall 2001-2002 we developed and taught a 200 level undergraduate course: ' Experimental Methods in Neuroscience'. The course proved successful for teaching data collection, statistical analyses and report writing. Students were introduced to issues of animal ethics and experimentation, and to our Animal Care Facility. They conducted behavioral testing of two strains of mice, C57 and 129, on open field, rotorod, elevated and Barnes mazes. Some test animals were sacrificed and students prepared brain sections to compare neuroanatomical variation between the strains (129 mice are occasionally acallosal). The experiments enabled the students to gain confidence in data collection and handling, applying appropriate statistics (t-tests and ANOVA), and in writing accurate scientific reports. Finally each student conducted a self-designed independent project on some aspect of mouse behavior using any of the above apparatus. The course proved particularly successful as it was relatively straightforward for students to design interesting behavioral neuroscience experiments, gain exposure to animal experimentation without excessive use of animals, gather useful data sets and develop skills in scientific report writing at an early stage in the neuroscience curriculum. As behavioral neuroscience studies become increasingly important for testing transgenic, knockout/in animal models, this course also provides useful training for students wishing to pursue graduate research.

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