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Summer Neuroscience Workshop

11th Annual *since 2007 (Impact: 113 biology and psychology undergraduate faculty from 27 US states)
Hardware and Software Experiments to Teach Neuroscience 

(During 2017, all costs associated with the Workshop (travel, lodging in MU dorms, meals) will be provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation. See Neuro Workshop Flyer Summer 2017)

The 5-day Workshop  (July 10-14, 2017; Starts at 9 am on Monday, July 10, and ends at 12:00 noon on Friday, July 14; limited to 15 faculty)  Application deadline: 30 March 2017

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 15 faculty (we strongly encourage you to bring another faculty member from physics/math/…, if possible; not a requirement)

‘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 (2 have attended so far)
  • 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 2017 summer neuroscience workshop. 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 2017.

Location and accommodation:

The Workshop will be conducted on the University of Missouri campus. During 2017, NSF will cover costs associated with lodging and meals at the MU residence halls, with single and double occupancy rooms. Faculty members may opt to bring a faculty colleague 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. Also, 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


During 2017, NSF will cover expenses associated with travel, accommodation in University dorms (single and double occupancy rooms), and meals at the dorms. If you decide to stay off campus, we can only reimburse at the dorm rate/day.


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