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Tania Iqbal

Christina Ragan
Eileen Rodriguez Tapia
ISE870 Final Project
April 29, 2013

Course: PHM 480- Special Topics- Neurobiology of Disease

Course Goal: This course investigates the biological basis for disease of the central and peripheral
nervous systems. Students will be able to describe the basic characteristics and current treatments of a
number of neurobiological diseases; students will be able to clearly and concisely communicate their
knowledge to scientists as well as to wider audiences.

Course Components: This class meets every Tuesday for a lecture about a neurobiological disease.
Most lectures are given by a new guest lecturer, though Dr. Barman and the course assistant give
lectures as well. Every other Thursday, the class meets for a Journal Club, where we discuss a primary
literature article pertaining to the previous lecture. There are no quizzes or exams in the class. There
are 5 writing assignments pertaining to neurobiological diseases and a short oral presentation about
their current research (or research interests if they are not currently working in a lab setting).
The Bridge to the PhD in Neuroscience is a program here at Michigan State University in collaboration
with Puerto Rican universities and the Research Initiative in Science and Engineering (RISE) Program.
It was designed to increase representation of Hispanic students in the field of neuroscience. Students
enter this program in the last 2 years of undergraduate study and continue through their first 2 years in
a Ph.D program. This course, PHM 480, was specifically designed with these students in mind, to teach
them writing and communication and give them an overview of neuroscience, in terms of the diseases
that are present in the system, discussed in the lecture portion, as well as methods and treatments,
discussed in the journal club portion. The class sizes are small, typically 4-6 students, and open to
students outside of the Bridge Program as well (though the Bridge students tend to make up the

Note: The syllabus is below. Each of us has included how we improved the course in our own lesson
plan outline.

PHM 480- Special Topics in Pharmacology: Neurobiology of Disease

Spring 2013, Class time 2:30- 4pm T&TH, see schedule for exceptions
Coordinator: Susan M. Barman, PhD (barman@msu.edu)
Course Assistant: Tania Iqbal (iqbalta1@msu.edu)
Office hours available by appointment
Course Description: This course will investigate the biological basis for disease of the central and
peripheral nervous systems. The course includes weekly lectures on specific human nervous system
diseases and a biweekly journal club involving discussion of a research paper related to a lecture topic.
The course will also emphasize the need for scientists to properly communicate research, both in
writing and orally.
Objectives: Students will be able to: Identify the major components of the nervous system; Describe
basic characteristics and current treatments of a number of neurobiological diseases; Synthesize
information from readings to communicate their knowledge to scientist and non-scientist audiences
Student Requirements and Grading
1) Attend all sessions and actively participate in journal club discussions (25% of course grade)
2) Complete 4 *short writing assignments (5% each, 20% of grade)
3) Presentation of own research (25% of grade)
4) Complete *term paper assignment (30% of course grade)
*More information will be given concerning each writing assignment throughout the semester.
Class use of ANGEL (angel.msu.edu)
1) Generally, lectures will be made available on Angel to download and bring to class. If this is not the
case, the lecturer for that session will provide printed notes at the start of class.
2) Journal club articles will be placed on Angel the Tuesday before journal club discussion.
3) Student assignments should be uploaded to Angel into the Turnitin Dropbox without including
identifying information (e.g. name or student number). The system will automatically show this info to
faculty (Dr. Barman and Tania Iqbal) when viewing the submission, but the information will not be
retained by Turnitin.
Consistent with MSUs efforts to enhance student learning, foster honesty, and maintain integrity in our
academic processes, instructors may use a tool called Turnitin to compare a students work with
multiple sources. The tool compares each students work with an extensive database of prior
publication and papers, providing links to possible matches and a similarity score. The tool does not
determine whether plagiarism has occurred or not. Instead, the instructor must make a complete
assessment and judge the originality of the students work. All submissions to this course may be
checked using this tool.
Additional Resources:
No textbook is required for this course. However, there are a number of books available at the MSU
library about scientific writing. Students are encouraged to attend the weekly Neuroscience Seminar
Series (Thursdays, 12:30- 1:30, Biomedical and Physical Sciences Room 1425).



January 8
Structure and Function of Neurons- Eileen
Rodriguez-Tapia (tapiarod@msu.edu)

No class

January 15
Science Writing- Tania Iqbal

No class

January 22
Chronic Pain- Dr. Barman

January 24
Journal Club

January 29
Spinal Injury- Dr. Barman (barman@msu.edu)

No class

February 5
Eating Disorder- Dr. Hayoz (seb@msu.edu)

February 7
Journal Club

February 12
Bipolar Disorders- Dr. Cobbett
February 19
Neurogenic HypertensionBrad Hammond (hammon82@msu.edu)

Friday Assignments

No class

February 1
Assignment #1

February 15
Assignment #2

February 21
Journal Club

February 26
Neuromuscular Disease- Dr. Henley

No class

March 1
Assignment #3

Spring Break

Spring Break

Spring Break

March 12
Memory Disorders- Carmel Martin- Fairey

March 14
Journal Club

March 19
Anxiety Disorders- Dr. Ragan
March 26
Stuttering- Jennifer Lampen

No class

March 22
Assignment #4

March 28
Journal Club

April 2
Hearing Impairment- Dr. Purcell

No class

April 9

April 11

Sleep Disorders- Jennifer Lampen


Student Presentations

April 16
Student Presentations

No class

April 23
Work on your paper

April 25
Drug Abuse- Elaine Sinclair

Work on presentation
and final paper!

MONDAY, April 29
Final paper

Neurobiology of Anxiety Disorders-Christina Ragan

Summary of lecture material

This lecture will cover concepts behind the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders. Starting from
very broad and large (symptomology) to very specific and small (receptors and neurotransmitters
involved). Throughout this lecture, students will be able to ask and answer questions pertaining to
anxiety while examining a live case study. In this lecture, I present the students with an anxiety
patient and the students will have to think like medical students who will have to diagnose the specific
type of anxiety and suggest treatment for the specific disorder. Using real-world examples from
empirical research, such as imaging studies, presents students with support for the claims suggested in
the lecture and connects them to actual clinical data.

How has this lecture/course been improved?

In previous iterations of PHM 480, the instructor had never covered anxiety disorders, and
never had a guest lecturer present about them, either. This is a great oversight as 1 in 4 Americans
suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety is such a prevalent disease in our society, so
including this disease in the course may even resonate with some students who either suffer from
anxiety themselves or know someone who does. I start out with the students collaborating together to
discuss why anxiety exists and what do we need to know to better diagnose and treat it. This allows
the students to apply what they have learned in previous lectures and gets them engaged in the
material right away.
This lecture is the first time in PHM 480 where students are presented with a live case study.
Other lectures may have used case studies as an example of someone with a disease/disorder,
however here the students are able to interact with a patient and together, as a class, we will go
step-by-step from symptoms, to pathology, to treatment using actual questionnaires and data from
empirical and clinical cases. Students will have to comprehend, evaluate, and synthesize the
information presented in the lecture and from the patient to determine the specific anxiety disease the
patient has and the best course of action for treatment.

Lecture Objectives
During and by the end of this lecture, students will be able to: discuss and determine why
anxiety exists; identify 6 types of anxiety disorders and the diagnostic and biological criteria for each;
analyze key brain regions, receptors, and neurotransmitters involved in anxiety; and synthesize and
evaluate patient information for anxiety diagnosis and treatment.


At the very beginning of the lecture, I will assess the students knowledge of what kinds of
information is important to evaluate disease pathology and treatment. To determine if the students
are comprehending the lecture material as its presented, assessment will occur throughout the
lecture, as I will prompt them with questions related to previous lecture material and what was just
presented to them in this lecture (specific questions can be found in the lecture outline below). These
constant questions and small group discussion are considered low-stakes assessment that will keep the
students on-track and will allow me to steer them in the right direction if they have trouble with
certain concepts. For example, I will assess the students knowledge of brain regions and their
functions and how they might relate to anxiety disorders asking them to brainstorm as a group.
Students will work together as a group to evaluate what brain regions could be involved in anxiety and
what information is needed to determine if these regions play a role in disease pathology. Towards
the end of the lecture, students will evaluate the information from the patient such as symptoms,
questionnaire answers, and results from brain imaging to determine what kind of anxiety the patient
has. Most of this assessment will occur as a group so that no one feels intimidated and to show that
science and medicine are is often collaborative and problems are solved together rather than

Outline of Lecture

Slide 1

Links Slide


I provide the student the links to the

videos we watched for two reasons:
So they can watch them again for
the content if they desire
In case we run out of time, they can
view them on their own

Slide 2
Anxiety Disorders
Dr. Christina Ragan
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Psychology, Neuroscience Program

Slide 3

Lecture Objectives

Students will be able to:

Discuss why anxiety exists
Identify the 6 types of anxiety disorders and
the criteria for each
Analyze key brain regions, receptors, and
neurotransmitters involved in anxiety
Evaluate patient information for anxiety
Evaluate various treatments based on
mechanism of action, efficacy, and side effects

I will clearly outline the objectives for

the lecture material. Students will then
have a clear idea of what is expected of
them, and what skills and concepts
they should be learning from this

Slide 4

Slide 5

In groups, answer

What necessary information do we need

to understand how a disease or disorder

What do we need to know for


Why does anxiety exist?

Working from the outside, in

Behavior and Categories
Brain regions involved in anxiety
Receptors and neurotransmitters involved

Slide 6
Why does anxiety exist?
1. Psychoanalytic- Freud

Source of anxiety related to developmental

Automatic: traumatic, reality-oriented system was

-failure to repress unpleasant memories

To start off, student will discuss in

groups what relevant information is
necessary to know for disease
pathology and treatment. This activity
will take approximately 10 min. I will
prompt them with questions like: think
about what you have learned in
previous classes. What has been

Here I lay out how the lecture will be

organized. In ISE 870, we discussed
how its actually better to go from big
to small, rather than from small
(neurotransmitters) to big

To begin, I will present several theories

(some that have been validated by
science, and some that have been
debunked) behind why anxiety exists.
This is to follow up with what theories
the students formulated as a group.

Slide 7
2. Behavioral
Lead to effective therapies
Anxiety is conditioned response to
environmental stimuli generalization

3. Existential
Awareness of profound feeling of nothingness in life
Anxiety = response to void in existence and meaning

Slide 8
4. Biological
Autonomic nervous system
Overstimulation of sympathetic
nervous system

Anxiety response to peripheral


Slide 9


Need to react quickly to dangerous stimuli
Want to survive
Some anxiety, increased alertness improves

Yerkes-Dodson (1906) Law - arousal, performance, task


Here, I bring in a patient who has

some kind of anxiety disorder. I will
pretend that the students are medical
student s observing rounds, and I am
the patients psychiatrist. There are 6
kinds, of anxiety disorders so it is our
job to determine what kind of anxiety
she has. I will mention what
information the students determined
was important to know. I will start off
with a classic anxiety questionnaire to
address some of questions the student
have about the disorder.

Slide 10

Lets meet our patient!

Slide 11

Beck Anxiety Inventory

This is the questionnaire I will ask the

patient. The checkmarks are animated
and show up as the patient answers



Slide 12

Interpretation of Scores

A score that is in the range of 0 to 21 reflects a low anxiety

level, which can be a positive thing. However, it may also suggest
that one is living in denial or has an unrealistic view of his life. A low
score may also reflect the possibility that one is detached from the
world, himself and his loved ones.

A middle score of 22 to 35 means that the respondent is

suffering moderate anxiety level. It can be interpreted that
your body is trying to signal you to a situation.

A score that is over 36 points indicates that the respondent

has a very high anxiety level, and immediate action must
be taken.

Now its time to evaluate the patients

answers. Sure enough, she falls within
the range of having some kind of
anxiety disorder.

Slide 13

Anxiety as a Disease
One of most common mental disorders
- 1 in 4 people meet diagnostic criteria for anxiety

Now I present to the patient, and class,

some background about anxiety as a
whole. Who is at risk, how prevalent it
is, etc.

- Unpleasant emotional state consisting of

psychophysiological responses to anticipation of unreal or
imagined danger

- Women (30.5%) > men (19.2%)

- Prevalence: with SES
- Can be substance-induced: hi co-morbidity
w/addiction, and some drug elicit anxiety-like behavior

Slide 14
Pathological Anxiety

1. Fear & anxiety warning signal

2. Fear versus anxiety
Fear: definite stimulusan emotional response to a known
or definite threat alley example
Anxiety: no definite stimulus->
3. Physiological effects
- palpitations
- sweating

Slide 15
4. Psychological effects
- worry or shame
- decreased concentration
- distorted perceptions

Ask if anyone knows the difference

between fear and anxiety? Now the
students will learn about classic
internal and external symptoms of

Slide 16

Types of Anxiety Disorders

State anxiety: acute (short-term)
Trait anxiety: long-term increase in anxiety

6 categories with similar behavioral and physiological
characteristics by the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric
Association Vol. 4)
Severely disrupts everyday life
Affects 20% of US population
Can display more than one

Now I will discuss the different

categories of anxiety disorders. This
will help the student narrow down the
type of anxiety our patient has.

Gross, et al. 2004

Slide 17
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Anxious of future
Long-lasting worry
Unsure reasoning
5% lifetime prevalence (5% of US population
will have GAD at some point in their lives)

Beni Luschers presentation. Penn State University. Feb. 06. and Gross, et al. 2004

Slide 18

Panic Disorder
Brief but intense
Fear of dying/losing control
Common behavior: panic attack while
3% lifetime prevalence

Gross, et al. 2004

To give students a better idea of the

symptoms of the different anxiety
disorders, I provide videos. This will
also help the more audio/visual
learners and will break up the lecture
adding media instead of just listening.
Video: 1 min 22 sec

Slide 19

Video: 1 min 34 sec

Specific Phobia

Fear of specific situations or objects

Common fears: spiders, blood, heights
Drug therapy not helpful
11% lifetime prevalence


Gross, et al. 2004

Slide 20

Video: 2 min 20 s

Social Phobia
Occurs in or before experiencing unfamiliar
social settings
Fearful of interacting with others
May intentionally avoid situations to prevent
13% lifetime prevalence

Gross, et al. 2004


Slide 21
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Repetitive, ritualized actions to

cope with anxiety
Time consuming
Common behavior: excessive
handwashing, worries of
forgetting to do something
2% lifetime prevalence

Gross, et al. 2004

(Tony Shalhoub)
suffers from OCD

Fig: http://ltc.uww.edu/showcase/Content/poormanp/monk.htm

Often, students can better comprehend

material if it is in presented in a way
they can relate. Here I present a
picture of a popular TV character who
had OCD.

Slide 22
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Caused by intensely stressful situation
Triggering of emotions by memories of
trauma (flashback)
Common in patients expose to combat
(formally known as shell-shock)
3% lifetime prevalence

Gross, et al. 2004

Slide 23

Ill ask students, based on their

previous lectures, to hypothesis what
brain regions are involved in anxiety.
They might already know a little about
stress and fear and this can help them
surmise answers.

What brain regions are involved?


Slide 24

Basic Functional Neuroanatomy of Anxiety

Posterior Cingulate,
Parietal & Motor Cortex
Visuospatial processing & assessment of threat



Anterior Cingulate, orbitofrontal,
subcallosal gyrus;

Planning, execution,
inhibition of responses,
extinction of fear response




Motor responses, peripheral sympathetic and cortisol response

J Douglas Bremner, MD

This is a rather complex figure, so I will

go over it slowly by each brain region. I
will highlight the ones the students
mentioned would be involved in

Slide 25

PTSD study on veterans

40 pairs of monozygotic twins
One twin in Vietnam combat, the other at
Comparing fMRI

Slide 26

Susceptibility to
environmental stress


Here I present empirical evidence of a

twin study supporting that the
hippocampus is involved in PTSD and
that there is some kind of
predisposition to getting PTSD. Being
exposed to a traumatic event is not
enough for disease onset.

What does this figure tell us about

PTSD risk in twins? The idea is to show
the students that it could be some kind
of gene X environment interaction.

Cornelius Gross and Rene Hen, vol 5, 2004

Slide 27

Hippocampal Volume Reduction in PTSD



Bremner et al., Am. J. Psychiatry 1995; 152:973-981.

Bremner et al., Biol. Psychiatry 1997; 41:23-32.
Gurvits et al., Biol Psychiatry 1996;40:192-199.

J Douglas Bremner, MD, Emory University

Students often enjoy clinical data to

show the real-world relevance to
what is presented in class. I will ask
them to observe and articulate the
differences between the unaffected
and PTSD brains.

Slide 28

Important Receptors in the Brain


-aminobutyric acid
GABA receptor
GABA is amino acid derived from glutamate
by glutamic acid decarboxylase

Now we are going from big to small and

moving from behavior and brain
regions to receptors and
neurotransmitters. I will reiterate what
the students thought was important to
know for pathology and treatment.

5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) receptor
Serotonin is derived from tryptophan

Gross, et al. 2004

Slide 29


Norepinephrine (NE)

Catecholamine; fight-or flight hormone;

causes vasoconstriction
Over activation of noradrenergic neurons
opposite of depression
Neurons located in locus coeruleus
Presynaptic nerves contain terminal and
somatodendritic 2 adrenergic receptors

Slide 30
Serotonin (5-HT)-regulates/stabilizes mood
5-HT neurons project to: cerebral cortex,
limbic system, hypothalamusstress response
5-HT excess in anxiety 5-HT receptor
5HT1A autoreceptors too much 5-HT

5-HT autoreceptors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkjWK3MgTgA

In my experience, students have

trouble comprehending the idea of
autoreceptors. Ive provided a brief
video to help them get a better grasp of
the function behind these
autoreceptors. Video: 30s

Slide 31

5HT1A receptor

Slows down
neuronal impulse

Here is what many scientists

hypothesize what the pathophysiology
of anxiety is and how it relates to
serotonin. The exact mechanisms are
still unclear.

5-HT release


Slide 32

-aminobutyric acid (GABA)

Normally: GABAA receptors bind neurotransmitter GABA

Anxiety: Dysregulated GABAA receptors in amygdala (FEAR
circuit desensitized)

Slide 33

Now, were back to examining the

patient. I found a flow chart that
physicians use to diagnose anxiety
disorders. I will ask the patient these
questions while the students observe.
When the patient says, No I will then
ask the students which disorders we
can eliminate. This will be an informal
low-stakes assessment of student

Slide 34

Slide 35

Slide 36

Slide 37

Slide 38

Slide 39

Slide 40

Success! It looks like we have figure

out that our patient has social phobia.
Now what can we do to help her
alleviate this? Before we discuss
possible treatments, Id like to conduct
one more experiment to confirm our

Slide 41

These series of photos are commonly

used in experiment to examine
amygdala activity in response to fearful,
neutral, and happy faces. Patients with
social phobia show different activation
in the amygdala than people who do
not have the disorder. Ill show these
photos to our patient and then pretend
to have her go into a brain imaging

Paul Ekman Group (www.paulekman.com)

Slide 42

Slide 43

Slide 44
Activations associated with specific anxiety

Students will then observe our

patients images. They should notice
that there is a slight difference, yet this
difference is associated with specific
types of anxiety

Trait anxiety

Social anxiety

A: Response in left amygdala and right anterior insula to emotional faces was significantly
associated with social anxiety.
B: Response in left amygdala and left anterior insula to negative faces was significantly associated
with trait anxiety.
Ball et al., 2012

Slide 45

How should we treat our patient?





Therapy (CBT)

Now that we are pretty confident in our

diagnosis, well discuss treatments. In
a Jeopardy-style format, Ill ask the
students what kind of treatment theyd
like to start our patient on first. For
example, if a student says Prozac I
will click that box and it will lead me to
the slide that describes the mechanism
of action for this drug and what kind of
anxiety it works best for. Pros and Cons
will be evaluated. The patient will
describe her own personal experiences
with the treatment, and if there were
any side effects. Once all treatments
have been exhausted, the we will
determine the next course of action.

Slide 46

Benzodiazepines (BZ)

Katzung, et. al.

Act on GABAA
Allosterically bind to
Enhance GABA binding
GABAA receptors have
binding sites for BZs
BZs work to increase
transmission of GABA
increased inhibition
ValiumR, XanaxR


Slide 47

Video: 1 min 24 sec

Facilitate Cl- channel opening in GABAA membrane

Cl-influx depresses neuronal excitability by
hyperpolarizing cell slows neuronal firing

Advantages and Disadvantages of Benzodiazepines

Acts rapidly-lipid solubility
Hard to overdose (lethal = 1000x normal)


Addictive psychologically and dependence-producing

Can severely impair motor skills- sedative
Worsens with alcohol
alcohol in pill form


Slide 48

Does the brain have its own endogenous

Yes b/c theres a binding site on the receptor
suggesting that Valium mimics an endogenous

Slide 49

How should we treat our patient?





Therapy (CBT)

Slide 50
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Act on 5-HT transporter

Prevent serotonin
reuptake by SERT
Induce neurogenesis
Mechanism unknown
PaxilR, ProzacR, ZoloftR

Fig: http://www.chm.davidson.edu/student/che105/fesantamarina/website/SSRIs.html
Katzung, et al. and Gross, et. al, 2002

Slide 51
Advantages and Disadvantages of SSRIs


Acts slowly (2-4 weeks after treatment)
Anxiogenic in small amounts, must use longterm

Katzung, et al., Gorden et. al., 2004, and Gross, et. al, 2002

Slide 52

Partial 5-HT agonists (act like 5-HT) help some

anxious individuals
Bind to rec. to prevent overstimulationdec. 5-HT
Works as a net antagonistkeeps 5-HT from binding to
autorec.resets receptor function

Correct receptor dysregulation and overproduction of 5-HT

5HT-1A partial agonists: resensitize somatodendritic
autoreceptors back to normalfunctions on own again
No sedative or synergistic effects
Takes awhile to kick in

Slide 53

How should we treat our patient?





Therapy (CBT)

Slide 54

Beta Blockers
Block adrenaline
Primarily used to treat
high blood pressure
Treat only physical
effects, not
Ideal for stage fright
LevatolR, LopressorR



Slide 55

Normally: 2 Rs terminal autoreceptors negative

feedback receptors stop flow of NE

Anxiety: Post-synaptic flow of NE NE (opposite of

Treatment: effects by blocking post-synaptic NE
receptors Beta ()blockers NE can bind to
autoreceptors to shut off flow

Slide 56

How should we treat our patient?





Therapy (CBT)

Slide 57

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Work with a therapist
Change thought patterns to cope with anxiety
Understand advantages of conquering fear



2 min 30 sec

Slide 58

Behavioral Therapy
Exposure to
adverse stimulus
(ex. spider phobia
therapy at right)



Slide 59
Behavioral therapy helps with controlling
anxiety psychologically and physically
Drug therapy helps with controlling
anxiety physiologically and chemically
Combination of behavioral therapy and
drug therapy give the most effective
results for combating anxiety

Slide 60

How should we treat our patient?





Therapy (CBT)

Slide 61


Anxiety is necessary, but damaging if chronic

PFC, amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus are

major brain regions involved

GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine are major

neurotransmitters involved

Drugs target above chemicals, but efficacy is

dependent on patient

To help students determine the

important parts of the lecture, Ive
provided a summary slide to help them.

Script with patient

After slide on Lets meet our Patient
Christina: Hello there, Im Dr. Ragan. What can I help you with today?
Allie: Hi Dr. Ragan. Sorry to bother you. Im not feeling great and I think Im experiencing some kind of
Christina: Its no bother at all! Lets see if we can figure this out. Is it ok if some students observe your visit
Allie: (Look sheepishly at class) Uh, well, I, uh guess so(whisper) Why do they keep staring at me??
Christina: First off, Id like for you to answer a few questions to help me understand how serious the problem is.
Allie: (answer Beck questions below)

Christina: It looks like you scored a 25. Heres how to interpret the score(slide).Not too serious, but it
definitely means that we need to address your anxiety as soon as we can before it escalates.
Now Id like to go over exactly what an anxiety disorder is
Allie: (Listen intently while I go over types of anxiety).
Christina: Now that we know a little more about how anxiety works, Im going to ask you some questions to
figure out what type of anxiety you have.
Allie: Answer no to the following except for the last one. Spoiler! You have social anxiety.

Christina: Ok, class, it looks like our patient here has social anxiety. Im just going to check one more thing.
Lets take a look at an fMRI to see what might be going on inside your brain. Im going to show you some
pictures and then well take a look at the scan. (Slide with emotional and neutral faces)So heres how you
reacted to the faces.
Allie: So what am I looking at?
Christina: Here you can see that your left amygdala and right insula are activated. This is something specific to
social anxiety, a type of state anxiety. If your image looked like the one on the right, we would think that you
have trait anxiety.
Allie: Is there anything you can do to help me?
Christina: Students, now that weve diagnosed her, maybe you can help me try to treat her anxiety.

Students will pick what drugs or therapy youll use and there are 5 options. Ill explain the mechanism of action
for each. Ultimately, we want you on 1 prescription drug paired with CBT. You can always say that you took
notes to help you remember what to say to the doctor.
If they pick:
Benzos (Valium)
Allie: I like how it works fast, but Im worried about getting addicted.
Allie: This took a long time to kick in, and I actually felt worst before I got better. After about a
month, I could definitely notice a difference.
Allie: This took a long time to kick in, and its working
Inderal (beta blockers)
Allie: This really helped my heart rate when I knew I had an interview for a new job. Unfortunately, it
didnt really help me deal with the situation and I still felt pretty nervous.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
Allie: I really liked meeting with my therapist. She taught me some strategies to help me cope with social
situations. I think Id like if I could pair this with something else as a safety net.
Christina: Ok, Allie, well Id like for you to continue your CBT and Im going to recommend that you continue on
the Wellbutrin. Ill write you a prescription for the beta blocker just in case. Good luck!
Allie: Thanks, doc!

Lesson Plan: Writing skills for scientists by Tania R. Iqbal

(A) Objectives
1. Students will be able to:
a. Take notes to prepare for properly cited and organized writing assignments
b. Synthesize multiple sources to support their own words and ideas
c. Fix common writing problems

(B) Summary
To properly write papers in the sciences, one needs to be able to portray their ideas in a clear
and concise way, while properly citing sources. To be able to do this, students first need to learn what
the proper sources are for them to reference in papers for this class. Then they need to have a reliable
note-taking method that allows them to reference information that they want to use in their paper, and
immediately know what source it came from. Then they need to be able to organize all these bits of
information into a paper that flows logically. Students should then use the information they gathered to
support the thesis of their paper. In order to communicate this as clearly as possible, students should
avoid using jargon, that is, words that are particular to a field that are not otherwise widely understood.
Next, they should keep their readers attention by not interrupting important ideas with extraneous
details. Backward-linking will help readers through a long paragraph. These are the basics. When
students master these techniques, then they can feel comfortable and add their own style into their

(C) Lecture Outline

Slide 1

Writing skills and course

Tania Iqbal

Slide 2

Todays Objectives
Students will be able to:
Identify common writing problems
Identify key information from readings
Synthesize information from readings to
communicate their knowledge to various
Practice writing techniques to improve
communication skills

Slide 3

Other writing activities

/Letters of




Writers @


News briefs




Contacts for

Slide 4

Importance of Publications
Critical to promotion

Final product of the research project

Help colleagues learn about your work AND you
Measurement of productivity
Quality vs quantity

Critical to funding
Grant applications
Grant progress reports
Grant renewal applications

ACTIVITY: This class is small, and

there is enough room for everyone to
get up and write at the white board.
Here, students are asked to make a list
of all the ideas they have for
circumstances in which it is important
for a scientist to be a good writer. Each
student describes their list (or what they
have that hasnt been said), and we
look at what I came up with and
discuss. This way we realize that
writing isnt just all about publications
and grants. You may want to have a
science blog to make your research
more popular and attract students and
post docs, for example.
Nevertheless, the ability to develop
well-written manuscripts is particularly
important. This is discussed here.

Slide 5
I am not
looking for a
book report!

This is a comical look at what sciencewriting should not be (but often is).

And Im not
looking for

Slide 6

What is science writing?

Defend an idea

present and analyze data
make conclusions
synthesize ideas
advocate one idea over another
interpret findings

These things must be done to make sure your audience

receives your message
David Porush, A Short Guide to Writing About Science. New York: HarperCollins College
Publishers, 1995.

Slide 7

Writing assignment goals

Clear and concise

Show me that you actually understand the science

Everything in your own words

If Calvin represents all that sciencewriting should not be, then what is good
science writing?
I emphasize that at this stage in their
education, they are not writing book
reports- simply summarizing what
others have written. Instead, instructors
are looking for your own interpretations.

Slide 8


Slide 9

Plagiarism is . . . the appropriation of
another persons ideas, processes, results or
words without giving appropriate credit.
Plagiarism may be accidental or blatant and
there is even self-plagiarism. However,
students are held to the same standards
whether or not they knew they were
plagiarizing or whether or not they were
plagiarizing themselves or someone else.

Slide 10
Purposefully using someone else's ideas or work without
proper acknowledgment is plagiarism. This includes
turning in borrowed or bought research papers as one's
Turning in the same term paper (or substantially the same
paper) for two courses without getting permission from
one's instructor is plagiarism. In science, copying portions
of text from one of my own papers into another. Jurys out
on the methods section.
Accidental or Unintentional
One may not even know that they are plagiarizing. It is the
student's responsibility to make certain that they
understand the difference between quoting and
paraphrasing, as well as the proper way to cite material.

Defining plagiarism.

Slide 11

An excerpt from a research article is placed

in a students paper, and a citation is placed
after and in the references list:

(Cowley et al., 2008)

Okay- whats the problem?

Slide 12

Accidental or Unintentional
So can I just place quotation marks around it,
and everything is okay now?
Your job is to put everything in your own words
There will be very few instances in which you will
need to use direct quotes in science writing. Yes,
exceptions will occur.

Slide 13
How am I supposed to put this in my own words
when it has already been written perfectly?
Putting information in your own words is the
bare minimum.
A major goal in science writing is the synthesis
of ideas to support arguments and

ASSESSMENT: Here I want students

to recognize a form of plagiarism that
has cropped up in earlier classes I have
taught. The work has been attributed to
the source, but the student has not put
the work in their own words. I simply
ask them if there is a problem here, yes
or no. I can call on someone to explain
yes, someone to explain no.

A discussion of the use of direct

quotations in this field. It should be
used sparingly.

Here it is emphasized again, that at this

level, we as instructors are not
interested in assigning students factfinding missions. Instead, they need to
be demonstrating their understanding
and interpretations. Thus, they need to
learn to synthesize information.

Slide 14

Your turn
Short writing assignments

Scholarly paper
News article
Scholarly paper

When might it be necessary to be concise?

Grant proposals have restraining page limits
NRSA can be only 6 pages long including figures

Some top journals have page limit restraints

Short attention spans of reviewers and audience!

Term paper

Slide 15

Consistent with MSUs efforts to enhance student learning, foster
honesty, and maintain integrity in our academic processes,
instructors may use a tool called Turnitin to compare a students
work with multiple sources. The tool compares each students work
with an extensive database of prior publications and papers,
providing links to possible matches and a similarity score. The tool
does not determine whether plagiarism has occurred or not.
Instead, the instructor must make a complete assessment and judge
the originality of the students work. All submissions to this course
may be checked using this tool.
Students should submit papers to Turnitin Dropboxes without
identifying information included in the paper (e.g. name or student
number), the system will automatically show this info to faculty in
your course when viewing the submission, but the information will
not be retained by Turnitin.

Slide 16
most people learn to write scientific papers by reading a
whole mess of scientific papers and trying to imitate their
style. Unfortunately, this process seems to entrench a lot of
bad habits. David Porush, A Short Guide to Writing About


Turnitin is used in this course. I discuss

that it is not to get anyone in trouble,
but to teach them to cite and write
properly. As such, we allow them to
upload their assignment and see their
similarity score. As long as it is before
the deadline, if their similarity score is
not acceptable, they can work on their
wording and resubmit.

Slide 17

Goals of synthesizing technique

Synthesize ideas
Keep sources straight
Write a well-organized paper

Slide 18
Idea 4
Idea 1

Idea 3

You are given a broad topic for your

paper. You start to formulate some
ideas about what you think youll write
about in this paper.


Idea 5
Idea 2

Slide 19

Where do you start?

Fine as a starting point.
What does the wiki article reference?

Google scholar
Web of Science
Association websites

Find a good review article

Credible/acceptable sources

Slide 20


This is to illustrate the information

gathering aspect.

Modified from http://www.west.asu.edu/johnso/synthesis/synthesis.html#examples

Slide 21

What note-taking may look like:

The Slug note-taking technique. Each

notecard contains one bit of information
that you would like to include in your
paper, paraphrased. The notecard also
includes the citation and the slug. The
slug is what the card is about, a


Slide 22

What note-taking may look like:


Students probably arent reading from

books and writing on notecards that
much anymore. Instead, they are
reading pdfs and using Microsoft word.
The Cornell system can be used like
the slug system, but adapted. In the
main column you summarize the
information. In the smaller column you
have your slug. Make sure to keep the
citation here as well.

Slide 23

Start categorizing

Slide 24

With all your information in one place,

you start to notice that you have slugs
that go together with the ideas you had
for your paper, while other ideas are
not well supported. Get rid of the
unsupported ideas.

Now you can put slugs together and

see where you can put your ideas in.
The green boxes represent ways you
can synthesize the information you
have gathered and use the information
to support your ideas.
Dont tell me everything about
Botox. You wont be able to do
that well in a short paper.
Instead, focus your paper!

Slide 25

Slide 26

Organize your paper

The information within your paragraphs

will now be nicely organized. But the
flow of the paper is important too, so
take a look at your categories and put
them in an order that makes sense.
You already have all your information
under these categories, so youre
almost there!

Add meat to the bones!

Now you have all your notes organized into
your outline
All you have to do now is put everything in
your own words!

Slide 27

Keep track of your references and citations as
you work

Slide 28

Students may not be aware of citation

management software. There are great
free ones, Zotero, Mendeley.


Major problems in science writing

Jargon, abbreviations, complex word choices
Use the appropriate word, but dont try to make it sound
sciency! (Calvin cartoon)
Does the abbreviation actually help or hurt? Could you
replace a long name with a couple words?

It is known that, Scientist X has shown that Get

to the point! Passive over active tenses
This and that were done by X.
Lack of pronouns- When is I did this appropriate?

Complex sentence structures to cram in every last

Break it up! Dont interrupt the important information


Slide 29

What is jargon?
Do you know the meaning? Dont use it
because you assume the instructor
understands- explain it to demonstrate that
you understand
Making terms and procedure into slang
The samples were
western blotted

Slide 30

Active rather than passive

Cats are hated by dogs
No change in activity was observed
Their suggestion for us was a different analysis
of the data
An increase in transplant rejection occurred

Examples from Hofmann, 2010, Scientific Writing and Communication

Slide 31

Start with the old, end with the new

Plagiarism is . . . the appropriation of another
persons ideas, processes, results or words without
giving appropriate credit. Listing the author and
the publication after their idea or in a reference list
is how you give proper credit.
Plagiarism is . . . the appropriation of another
persons ideas, processes, results or words without
giving appropriate credit. Proper credit is given by
listing the author and publication after their idea
and/or in a list of references.
Example from Hofmann, 2010, Scientific Writing and Communication

ASSESSMENT. Here I have the

students call out their corrections (or I
call on them if they are being shy):
Dogs hate cats
We observed no change in activity
Reviewers suggested we use a
different analysis
Transplant rejection increased

Sometimes readers can get lost. One

way to keep them on track is to end a
sentence with what they next sentence
will be about. Then in the second
sentence, the new information is added
at the end.

Slide 32

Practice backward linking

Practice backward-linking:
Macular degeneration is affected by diet. One of
the diet components that influences the
progression of macular degeneration is vitamin
B6. Although vitamin B6 seems to reduce the risk
of macular degeneration, it may have some side
What would the next sentence be about?

Examples from Hofmann, 2010, Scientific Writing and Communication

Slide 33

Complex sentence
Plagiarism, from the Latin plagiarius, an abductor, and
plagiare, to steal, is defined by the White House Office
of Science and Technology Policy on Misconduct in
Research as . . . the appropriation of another persons
ideas, processes, results or words without giving
appropriate credit.
Grammatical subjects should be followed by their verbs
as soon as possible. (No subject-verb separation)
Readers expect information that is emphasized to occur
at the end of a clause or sentence.
Syntactic closure comes HERE, but it can also come HERE.

Slide 34

Complex sentence fixes

The heavily disordered patterns characteristic
of interference arising from multiple regions
with different phase drops across the junction
were eliminated by X.

ASSESSMENT. Here I read the

passage with the linking words
highlighted. I ask the students what
they expect the next sentence to be
about. Backward linking makes them
expect that the next sentence is about
side effects (so if it isnt, youve messed
with the audiences expectations, and
therefore you may have lost your

This passage is actually from the MSU

website about plagiarism. I use it to
show that they have interjected the
important information with some
superfluous details. Take out the red,
use the blue as a citation, and you have
a sentence that is easy to read.

ASSESSMENT. I have the students

write their correction to this difficult
passage and share it with their
neighbor, and then volunteer to share
with their class when they are
comfortable. At least, thats what I
would like to happen. Students had
such a hard time with this example that
they couldnt even decipher what the
subject was.
X eliminated the heavily disordered
patterns. These patterns are

Slide 35

Writing Resources
Go to MSU library website, then catalog.
Search keyword scientific writing.
G. D. Gopen, J. A. Swan, "The Science of
Scientific Writing," American Scientist , 78:
550-58, 1990
The Writing Center at MSU |writing.msu.edu/

Slide 36

Writing rules
Synthesize information to support your own ideas
Keep track of citations at all times
KISS- word choices. Keep the sentence short.

A summary of the rules. Will keep this

up on the projector as they work on
their group exercise:

Start sentence with subject, immediately followed by


Following sentence should start with an old idea

before introducing a new idea
Keep making links for your reader

Active words over passive


Slide 37

Group Activity
Synthesizing Writing Exercise

Slide 38

Work in groups of 3 students
Each Group: 3 short paragraphs from different
- Individual Work
Read and summarize ONE of the paragraphs

- Group Work
Compile all 3 summaries to make one concise summary

Topic: Main Components of the Nervous System

Hint: When summarizing your paragraph keep in mind
the topic in order to focus on the relevant information.

We end with the activity, for which I

allow 12 minutes. We look at all the
examples they came up with. This can
help identify what you like about your
writing and what you liked that
someone else did that perhaps was
better. (Activity handout is on the next

How has this lecture improved the course?

My experience with student writing in this course is that their research papers tend to be disorganized,
with poorly written sentence structure, and there have been a few instances of unintentional plagiarism,
where credit was given, but ideas were not adequately put into their own words. I added this lesson to
the course schedule because students were not receiving direction on what we expected from their
writing assignments.

This lesson plan includes several instances of informal class participation, which works well in such a
small class, as well as a longer group exercise to put together all the aspects of learning that they
learned about. Thus, I am able to tell whether the students are following the objectives, and I am able to
keep them engaged with the various activities. Not only is this an improvement because this lecture and
guidance was not given to students before, but I think it is an improvement over lectures I have seen in
other classes because it has more examples and places for activities and student participation. This
can be a very dry topic, and if you already have heard this before it can be very boring. But even if you
have heard a similar lecture, you probably didnt have the activities to go with it, and thus you can
practice what you have learned and stay engaged.

Synthesizing Writing Exercise (This handout was put together by Eileen)

Task Instructions

Work in groups of 3 students

Each group will have 3 short paragraphs from different sources. The information provided is
about the main structure of the nervous system. The task will be to read and synthesize the
information provided from the 3 sources to write a short informative paragraph about: Main
Components of the Nervous System.
Each student will read and summarize ONE of the paragraphs. While doing this keep in mind
the main topic so that you can focus on the relevant information.

As a group you will compiled all of the 3 summaries to make a single concise summary about
the topic.

Topic: Main Components of the Nervous System

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nervous_system
The nervous system is the part of an animal's body that coordinates the voluntary and involuntary actions of the
animal and transmits signals between different parts of its body. In most types of animals it consists of two main
parts, the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS contains
the brain and spinal cord. The PNS consists mainly of nerves, which are long fibers that connect the CNS to every
other part of the body. The PNS includes motor neurons, mediating voluntary movement, the autonomic
nervous system, comprising the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system and
regulating involuntary functions, and the enteric nervous system, a semi-independent part of the nervous
system whose function is to control the gastrointestinal system.
At the cellular level, the nervous system is defined by the presence of a special type of cell, called the neuron,
also known as a "nerve cell". Neurons have special structures that allow them to send signals rapidly and
precisely to other cells. They send these signals in the form of electrochemical waves traveling along thin fibers
called axons, which cause chemicals called neurotransmitters to be released at junctions called synapses. A cell
that receives a synaptic signal from a neuron may be excited, inhibited, or otherwise modulated. The
connections between neurons form neural circuits that generate an organism's perception of the world and
determine its behavior. Along with neurons, the nervous system contains other specialized cells called glial
cells (or simply glia), which provide structural and metabolic support.
Source 2: http://web.mst.edu/~rhall/neuroscience/02_structure_and_pharmacology/structure.pdf
The two principle divisions of the nervous system are the central and peripheral. The former consists of the
brain and spinal cord, while the latter is the rest of the nervous system. The brain and spinal cord carry out the
bulk of the complex processing, while the peripheral acts as a sort of buffer between the central nervous system
and the outside world. The peripheral system can be further subdivided into the somatic and automatic, the
former responsible for somatosensation and conscious/purposeful action, while the latter is responsible for
"vegetative" processes. The autonomic division can also be divided into two systems, the sympathetic and
parasympathetic, which carry out the opposing processes of arousal and relaxation

Source 3: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/nsdivide.html
The nervous system is divided into the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. The central
nervous system is divided into two parts: the brain and the spinal cord. The average adult human brain weighs
1.3 to 1.4 kg (approximately 3 pounds). The brain contains about 100 billion nerve cells (neurons) and trillions of
"support cells" called glia. The spinal cord is about 43 cm long in adult women and 45 cm long in adult men and
weighs about 35-40 grams. The peripheral nervous system is divided into two major parts: the somatic nervous
system and the autonomic nervous system. The somatic nervous system consists of peripheral nerve fibers that
send sensory information to the central nervous system AND motor nerve fibers that project to skeletal muscle.
The autonomic nervous system is divided into three parts: the sympathetic nervous system, the

parasympathetic nervous system and the enteric nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls
smooth muscle of the viscera (internal organs) and glands. The enteric nervous system is a third division of the
autonomic nervous system that you do not hear much about. The enteric nervous system is a meshwork of
nerve fibers that innervate the viscera (gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, gall bladder).

Write your individual summary here:

Group synthesis paragraph:

Lesson Plan: Unique Structure and Function of Neurons-Eileen Rodriguez Tapia

(A) Objectives
2. Students will understand the structure and function of neurons enough to be able to:
a) Identify the unique structure of neurons using either a cartoon of a neuron or an

exemplar image of a neuron.

b) Explain the main function of each structural element of neurons.
c) Classified different types of neurons based on their structure as: unipolar, multipolar, or
pseudounipolar neurons.

(B) Constructive Activity: Enhancing Active Learning

Activity #1: Am I a DENDRITE or an AXON?
A photomicrograph of a real pyramidal neuron (such as the image on the
left) will be presented to the students and the task will be to identify the
processes that arise from the soma (identify the structure pointed by
arrows 1, 2, and 3) as either dendrites or axon. The students will use the
material discuss in class to justify the answer.
(Students will work first individually and then will discuss the answer with
the partner).

Activity #2: Im the mouth of the neuron!

A photomicrograph of a synapse, such as the one shown in

the left, will be provided to the students and the task will be
to identify which of the two structures is the axon terminal
and which is the post-synaptic structure. The students will
use the material discuss in class to justify the answer and
will be required to point out specific structures within the
axon terminal.
(Students will work first individually and then will discuss the
answer with the partner).

Activity #3: Am I unipolar, bipolar,

multipolar or pseudopolar?
A series of pictures of real neurons, such as
the picture on the left, will be presented to
the students. On the basis of neuronal
structure, students will have the task to
classified the neurons as unipolar, bipolar,
multipolar, or pseudounipolar. Justification of the answer will be required.
(Students will work in pairs to engage discussion of the material).
(C) Lecture Outline
1. Present a situation to get students excited about the lecture topic. Why should we care
about understanding the structure and function of neurons? Why is this relevant?
- Have you ever wondered how we are able to think and solve problems, feel emotions such
as happiness or sadness, and feel sensations? Have you ever wonder how we are able to
voluntary move the muscles or how the heart beats, how do we breath, and how digestion
occurs without us even thinking about it? The nervous system is what really controls
everything and a lot more. Neurons, as the basic unit of the nervous system, are what make
this system capable of control such essential functions of our body. Therefore, if we

attempt to understand how the nervous system controls our body the first key step is to
gain knowledge about the structure and function of neurons.
2. Student-Oriented Learning Objectives
- Specific objectives will be presented to the students to guide student learning process.
3. Structure and Function of Neurons

Overview of the structure of neurons: definition of neuron will be provided followed by a

discussion of the common features between neurons and non-neuronal cells. The three
features that make neurons unique will be mentioned.
Getting To Know Neurons!
Dendrites: Input Structures
o Definition: neuronal processes arising from soma
o Structure: can be highly ramified forming a dendritic tree. Contain
dendritic spines which are the sites expressing the receptors for
o Function: part of the neurons responsible to receive the message sent
from another neuron.
Axons: Intracellular Communication
o Definition: tube-like neuronal processes arising from the soma
o Structure: it is frequently ramified; however, this occurs far from the site
of origin (distal to the soma). Travel distances ranging from micrometers
to meters. Insulated in a fatty layer called myelin.
o Function: Conduct electrical signals called action potentials. Transfer
information from the soma to axon terminal and vice versa.
o Activity #1: Am I a DENDRITE or an AXON?

Axon Terminal: Output Structure

o Definition: the last/terminal part of the axon.
o Structure: contain all the machinery needed to neurotransmitter release.
Contains transmembrane proteins forming ionic channels, mitochondria,
neurotransmitters, synaptic vesicles, etc.
o Function: after arrival of the adequate stimulus the axon terminal will
release the neurotransmitters-contained in synaptic vesicles to the
exterior of the neurons. This is the part of the neuron that will synapse
(connect) with another neuron.
o Activity #2: Im the mouth of the neuron!

4. Classification of Neurons: Based on Structure

The number of processes originating from the
soma is one feature used to classify neurons as: unipolar,
bipolar, multipolar, pseudounipolar.
Show examples of each type and justify the type
of classification
Related the classification with common
functions: multipolar neurons are commonly motor neurons.
Activity #3: Am I unipolar, bipolar, multipolar or

5. Assessment
As a way of assessing how well the students internalize the material a short quiz, such as the
one shown on the left, will be provided. This short test specifically is assessing what was stated
in the learning objectives at the beginning of the lecture. Ideally, students will complete this
before the end of the class period but they can also complete it as an assignment. The
discussions of the activities will also serve a mean of assessing students understanding of the

How has this lecture been improved?

As compared with the previous lecture plan and lecture conveyance, the present plan offers a clear
student-centered objectives and alignment of these objectives with the assessment tasks. These two
components were absent previously. In the same way, the lecture is designed to be student-centered
as well stimulating active learning. To achieve this, the class period (1.5 hour long) will include 3 short
lectures of about 15 minutes each separated by 3 group activities of about 10 minutes long each. This
will prevent students feeling overwhelmed with the material and will allow the students to actively
internalize the new material through the interactive activities. The group activities provide an
opportunity for discussion and potential misconceptions could be uncovered or important questions

may rise. Previously, this lecture was lacking this inter-lecture group activities and active learning was
therefore not promoted in students. This new lecture plan has incorporated active learning and
application of the material through the conduction of the group activities. Finally, this new lesson
plan has a second approach to assess student understanding of the taught material. This is the
practice quiz that students will complete either at the end of the class period or as an assignment. This
last activity will also work as a formative assessment helping the instructor identify misconceptions and
where the still poor or superficial understanding of the material. The most common errors can then be
discussed in the next class period for clarification.