Neurobiology of Disease


  General Information 2012

The Neurobiology of Disease course, first presented in 2006, was initially supported by an R25 grant from the National Institutes of Health (2006-2007). Subsequent support for invited speakers has been provided by the Jungers Center ( The course is a required course in the Neuroscience Graduate Program, but we encourage participation by students in other training programs, postdoctoral fellows, residents and faculty. Some clinical activities may be limited to enrolled students.

A fellowship program for graduate students involved in research relevant to the neurobiology of disease is ongoing with generous support from private and institutional donors, and is coordinated by the OHSU Brain Institute. The next call for fellowship applications will be in September 2012.

The course has the following general goals:

  • To provide a foundation in the underlying mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric disease. The course takes a theme-oriented approach to probe fundamental molecular, cellular and organismal mechanisms, rather than a disease-specific approach. The intent is to engage students who are interested in basic aspects of brain function. This approach is intended to help students become "ready observers" of disease-related topics in their own research. The Overview sessions may involve a variety of formats from lectures to journal clubs.
  • To provide a toolbox of topical methods and issues relevant to the neurobiology of disease. The ToolBox sessions will also probe the links between basic mechanisms and behavioral/clinical manifestations of disease.
  • To provide a sampling of neurological and psychiatric disorders that serve as training examples for the themes addressed in goal one. These examples will be drawn from OHSU faculty expertise and will change yearly so that the course remains vibrant and relevant to students, as well as other trainees and faculty.
  • To provide hands-on exposure to clinical situations through live patient presentations, multimedia presentations, and visits to clinics, hospital wards, and other clinical settings. Clinical Demonstrations stress hands-on interactive experience so that graduate students experience first-hand the impact of neurological and psychiatric disease on brain function, and on the social fabric of the patient's life, their families and their community.