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Summer Neuroscience Workshop

10th Annual *since 2007 (Impact: 92 biology and psychology undergraduate faculty from 17 US states)
Hardware and Software Experiments to Teach Neuroscience 

(SUPPORTED BY the National Science Foundation during 2015 and 2016 – ALL EXPENSES FOR THOSE SELECTED WILL BE PAID BY NSF – Neuro Workshop Flyer Summer 2016)

The 5-day Workshop  (May 23-27, 2016; Starts at 9 am on Monday, May 23, and ends at 12:00 noon on Friday, May 27; limited to 12 faculty-student teams) Application deadline: 30 March 2016

The workshop will introduce several active learning-based virtual (software) labs and one hardware experiment that can be incorporated in existing neurobiology or physiology courses, or used as basis for the development of new courses. The software modules are free and can be hosted on any desktop or laptop computers, and the hardware experiment can be custom-built locally at low cost. Workshop participants will be trained and provided with materials to support the implementation of these virtual labs and hardware experiment. Limited to 12 faculty teams (optional faculty/faculty or faculty/student team; while we strongly encourage bringing another faculty member or student along, it is not a requirement, i.e., you can participate individually also)


‘Software’ Experiments or Virtual Labs

In recent years, computational neuroscience has developed tools to abstract and generalize principles of neural function using mathematics. These tools have proven powerful for research over a wide neuroscience spectrum including molecular, cellular and systems levels. However, computational neuroscience also can provide valuable active learning tools for teaching neuroscience. Several comprehensive, yet easy-to-use software packages (Software Experiments or Virtual Labs) to model neurons and networks are available free of cost for the development of active teaching modules. Such neural ‘models’ can be used alone or together with simple biological experiments, to demonstrate basic neurobiological concepts, and give students active hands-on experience and significantly improve student learning experience.

Past Event Photos

Who’s Eligible? 

  • Faculty at 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities
  • High school teachers with interest in teaching neurobiology
  • Have to be US citizens or GC holders

What will you get?

  • Neurobiology modules (‘virtual labs’ or software experiments) for neuroscience or general physiology courses – Nernst & Rest potential, Action potential, Bursting, Synaptic transmission, Central pattern generator, Simple networks
  • Plans for building low cost earthworm kit for teaching (<$150) – Earthworm escape reflex: hardware expt. and software expt. used in parallel to illustrate an effective example of ‘neurons to behavior’.
  • Year-round follow-up from Mizzou via phone and webinars to help you implement (and develop) software modules into your curriculum
  • Introduction to quantitative thinking in neuroscience
  • Introduction to computational modeling
  • Ability to use NEURON as a tool for teaching and research
  • Contacts and comradeship with like-minded scientists and educators in the region
  • Participation in a neuroscience support-network
  • We will also need your help – in identifying barriers to learning (students), and to professional development and implementation of curricular modules (faculty and administrators) that limit increasing undergraduate capacity in neuroscience at your institution.

To apply

Click here to apply for the 2016 summer workshop and/or curricular development program. Please be prepared with:

  • Statement of interest (1 page) including how the workshop may possibly enhance course you teach or your program, and
  • Curriculum vitae

Applications are due by 30 March 2016.

Location and accommodation:

The 6-day Workshop (limited to 12 teams) and the optional Curricular Development Program (4 teams)  will be conducted on the University of Missouri campus. During 2015 and 2016, NSF will pay for lodging and meals at the MU residence halls, which have single and double occupancy rooms. Faculty members may opt to bring one other faculty member or student from physics/math/computer science/… disciplines, but with interest in neuroscience. Their expenses also will be covered. Please note that we cannot cover lodging costs if you stay off campus, except for reimbursing at the dorm rate/day. If you desire to say off campus, you will be responsible for finding your own accommodation. A list of Columbia-area hotels may be found at


For the 2015 and 2016 workshops, NSF will pay for all expenses (for optional other attendee also) including travel, accommodation at an MU residence hall and meals in residence hall dining facilities. If participants opt to stay off campus, they are responsible for all expenses associated with lodging and meals (we can provide reimbursement for this part only at the dorm rate for lodging and a per diem rate for meals).



Research Focus
  • Dynamical foundations of neuroscience
  • Computational neuroscience and systems biology
  • Reverse engineering brain circuits

Other Contacts:

Dr. David J. Schulz  (Neurobiology)
218 LeFevre Hall
Division of Biological Sciences
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211

Dr. David Bergin (Evaluator)
16 Hill Hall
Educational, School, & Counseling Psychology
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211