Pharmacology 588

Tuesday and Thursday: 5:00-6:30pm, Med-Dent Bldg, NE403  3 Credits


Summer Rozzi Kathol

Carrie Leonard

Office Hours: By Appointment

I. Rationale

This course is designed for students with an interest in brain function and dys- (or altered) function, as well as brain pharmacology

II. Course Aims and Objectives 


To familiarize students with the science of the diseases and disorders that affect brain function and behavior, as well as the relevant pharmacology.

Specific Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will have:

  • factual knowledge about normal functioning of the brain as it relates to specific diseases/disorders
  • basic mechanisms of neural function and dysfunction
  • clinical presentations of nervous system diseases
  • treatment options and mechanisms of therapeutic action
  • the ability to knowledgeably discuss and critique papers
  • the ability to weigh the value and validity of different animal models of disease
  • the ability to weigh the pros and cons of competing theories
  • familiarity with the wide variety of methods used in neuroscience research.
  • an understanding of pharmacology as both a tool to explore and a therapy to treat brain dysfunction.

III. Format and Procedures

This course meets twice a week.  Classes will alternate between lectures in which new material will be presented and a paper discussions, in which students will lead a critical analysis of a paper(s) relevant to the preceding lecture

IV. Course Requirements

1. Class attendance and participation policy: 

Attendance and participation are mandatory.  You are expected to participate in both the lectures (by asking questions and answering questions) and the paper discussions (by leading discussions and asking questions during discussions you are not leading).  While attendance and participation will not be averaged into your grade, they will be taken into account when determining your final grade in the class (e.g., the difference between an A and A-, or B and B+ when your grade is borderline).

2. Course readings: 

The course schedule lists readings posted to the course blackboard website.  In addition to background readings (due the day of class), there will be articles for discussion (due the day prior to presentation). You are responsible for the knowing the information in the readings. Before every paper discussion, students not responsible for leading the discussion must submit 2 questions about the paper by 9am on the day prior to the presentation. Late questions will be given half-credit if submitted within one week of the presentation. Questions must be submitted via the course Blackboard site (

V. Grading Procedures

Midterm Examination = 30%
inal Examination = 30%
Presentation(s) = 30%
Paper Questions = 10%

The lowest grade out of the midterm, final, and paper presentation grades may be replaced by an optional term paper (details below).

Term Paper  An optional paper on a topic of your choosing, which must be focused on a dysfunction or disease covered in class. You must get approval of your topic from an instructor beforehand, no later than 4/15. When you bring your topic for approval, please come prepared with a preliminary thesis statement and 1-page outline incorporating at least 3 primary sources (not including review articles). The paper is due the same day as the final exam.

Your paper must be at least 8 pages in length and must include at least 8 primary sources not used in class (n.b. this does not include review articles). If you have questions about appropriate sources, please ask an instructor.

VI. Academic Integrity

Each student in this course is expected to abide by the Georgetown University Honor Pledge. Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit will be the student’s own work.  Any violation of the Honor Pledge will result in no credit for the given assignment and automatic reporting of the violation to the Honor Council.

VII. Presentation Grading Rubric


Presents previous research on this topic and why the study was done.


General aims and hypotheses

Explains the questions the authors are asking and what they thought they would find based on previous research.




Experimental aims and hypotheses

Explains the questions the authors are asking with each figure and what they thought they would find based on previous research.



Explains methods clearly and demonstrates basic understanding of how they work.


Explains figure

Explains axes of graphs, labels, experimental groups, scale, etc.


Results and conclusions

Explains the results of each figure and how the conclusions follow from them. Points out significant differences.


Transition to next experiment

Explains how one figure leads to the next and how the experiments fit together.



Explains the overall conclusions of the paper.


Future directions

Outlines several experiments that logically follow from this paper, or experiments that should be done to fill in the gaps in this paper


Strengths and weaknesses

Points out strengths and weaknesses of the paper.



Demonstrates fluency in the paper through competence answering questions and making educated guesses.


Presentation style

Presentation is clear and well-organized. Speaks loudly and confidently. Includes key figures in presentation.


    Total __/100
VII. Class Schedule 2011
Date Topic Lecturer

Sept. 1st



Sept. 6th

Introduction: How To Present A Paper


Sept. 8th

Homeostasis and Stress


Sept 13th

 Reward and Addiction 


Sept. 15th

Reward and Addiction (cont.), Paper Presentation


Sept. 20th 

 Reward and Addiction (cont.)


Sept. 22nd 

Ingestive Behavior 


Sept. 27th

Eating Disorders, Paper Presentation


Sept. 29th 

Neural Circuits of Mood Regulation, Major Depressive Disorder


Oct. 4th 

Major Depressive Disorder (cont.), Paper Presentation


Oct. 6th

Anxiety Disorders


Oct. 11th  

 Bipolar Disorder, Paper Presentation


Oct. 13th

OCD, Executive Function

Pepe, Gordon

Oct. 18th

Executive Function (cont.), Schizophrenia

Gordon, Krafnick

Oct. 20th

Schizophrenia (cont.) 


Oct. 25th



Oct. 27th

 ADHD (cont.), Paper Presentation  


Nov. 1st 

Midterm Examination  

Nov. 3rd

Development Dumanis

Nov. 8th

Mental Retardation Martin

Nov. 10th  

Reproductive Behavior Connor
Nov. 15th

Social Behavior 


Nov. 17th

 Social Behavior (cont.), Psychopathy

Smirnov, Ihne

Nov. 22nd    

Autism, Paper Presentation


Nov. 29th

Autism, Circadian Rhythm

Lozier, Randall

Dec. 1st   

Sleep and Arousal


Dec. 6th 

Brainstem Control of Life, Paper Presentation


TBD Final Exam