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LISC 426 / NSCI 826 / BMED 826 - Current Concepts in Sensorimotor Neuroscience

 Winter 2024
 Year 4
 3-4 hours/week
 3 units
On-Campus Course

Martin Pare

A multi-disciplinary course exploring advanced concepts of sensorimotor integration from a systems neuroscience perspective. Topics include the neural basis of perception, action selection, reinforcement learning, and motor control. Students will learn to critically evaluate scientific literature and present these concepts to classmates.

Each week will examine a fundamental topic within sensorimotor neuroscience led by a team of 5-6 students.

Each student will present two separate topics during the course.

  1. To provide students with an overview of the fundamental principles that underlie core areas of today’s sensorimotor neuroscience research. This will be accomplished through an in-depth examination of original research on selected topics, helped with a general review of each topic. Given the time constraints, it is not possible to cover all the research for a given topic. Rather, papers are selected from sub-fields that illustrate key principles that are applicable to other sensory, motor, or cognitive systems.
  2. To provide students with critical thinking skills and the tools for communicating scientific ideas. This is a fourth-year honors/graduate course. There are no faculty lecturers. You will not be evaluated with multiple-choice exams. You will perform literature reviews, give oral presentations, write scientific reports, and participate/lead class discussions. These skills are critical for many of your future endeavors whether they be in scientific research, as a health professional or in private industry.

Presentations (2 x 20% = 40%)

Presentations on each week will focus on two research articles highlighting advances in the field. The presenters are responsible for mediating a discussion regarding these two papers at the conclusion of their presentation, with the purpose of integrating the information into take-home messages and outstanding questions, c.f., Guidelines for presenting a Scientific Paper. Students shall meet with the instructor during the week prior to their presentations to discuss the topic and have their general outline of their presentation material approved. Presenters shall also meet with the instructor again before the presentation to finalize its content. Presenters will be graded on the quality of their presentations (effective audiovisual aids, focus on salient findings, proper interpretation, discussion in broad context,) as well as the ability to answer questions and guide the discussion of the assigned papers.

Participation & Weekly Reports (24%)

Before each class, students who are not presenting will prepare a brief (less than a page long) written report listing 2-3 take-home messages of the research articles presented that week. These will provide evidence that the students have read the articles critically. All students are expected to bring forth their thoughts during class discussions.

Final (36%)

In the final week students will be provided with several manuscripts, without a discussion section. Students will select one manuscript and write a discussion following instructions, c.f. Guidelines for writing the Discussion of a Scientific Paper.

Seminar 3 hours per week

Background of the selected topics will be made available through review articles. In addition, the textbook Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience has been put on reserve at Bracken Library.


Letter Grade Percentage
A+ 90-100
A 85-89.9
A- 80-84.9
B+ 77-79.9
B 73-76.9
B- 70-72.9
C+ 67-69.9
C 63-66.9
C- 60-62.9
D+ 57-59.9
D 53-56.9
D- 50-52.9
F 0-49.9