University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Neurological Sciences


NSCI 320: Topics in Developmental Neurobiology

Fall Term, 2013

Tuesdays and Thursdays in HSRF 200, 2:30-3:45 PM

Course Director: Rae Nishi, PhD(; 6-4504; Office: HSRF 406


This is an advanced level course for graduate students with a background in fundamental neuroscience. Grades will be based upon participation in discussions, choice and presentation of original research papers related to the weekly topic, and a final paper that will be a “News and Views” type article on an original research article that covers a topic not covered in class.


Aug. 27

Overview of Neuronal Development

Rae Nishi

Aug. 29





Neural "inducation"

Spemann and Mangold, 1923

DiRobertis, EM 2006. Spemann’s Organizer and self-regulation in amphibian embryos. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 7: 296-302.


Rae Nishi

Sept. 3

Student led discussion

Khoka et al 2005. Depletion of three BMP antagonists from Spemann’s organizer leads to a catastrophic loss of dorsal structures. Dev Cell 8:401-411
Bradley, Olivia, Stellie, Erin R.

Ben-Zvi et al 2008. Scaling of the BMP activation gradient in Xenopus embryos Nature 453: 1205-1211
Kutibh, Erin W., Ben



Sept. 5



Rae Nishi

Sept. 9


Student led discussion - HSRF 300

Bradley and Olivia

Muroyama, Y., Fujihara M., Ikeya, M., Kondoh, H., Takada, S. (2002).
Wnt signaling plays an essential role in neuronal specification of the
dorsal spinal cord. Genes Dev. 16: 548-53.

Kutibh, Ben and Stellie

Toyoda R, Assimacopoulos S, Wilcoxon J, Taylor A, Feldman P, et al.
2010. FGF8 acts as a classic diffusible morphogen to pattern the
neocortex. Development 137:3439?48

Erin and Erin
Dorsal and intermediate neuronal cell types of the spinal cord are
established by a BMP signaling pathway. Vu H. Nguyen1, Jamie Trout1, Stephanie A. Connors1, Peter Andermann2, Eric Weinberg2 and Mary C. Mullins1,Development 127, 1209-1220 (2000)

Sept. 12 Neuroprogenitors and stem cells Jeffrey Spees, PhD
Sept. 17 Discussion  
Sept. 19

Cortical migration and control of excitability

Le Magueresse and Monyer 2013. GABAergic Interneurons Shape the Functional Maturation of the Cortex. Neuron 77:388-405

Franco and Muller 2013. Shaping our minds: stem and progenitor cell diversity in the mammalian neocortex. Neuron 77:19-34

Sean Flynn, PhD
Sept. 24

Student led discussion

Erin, Kutibh and Bradley:

Baho & Di Cristo 2012. Neural Activity and Neurotransmission Regulate the Maturation of the Innervation Field of Cortical GABAergic Interneurons in an Age-Dependent Manner. The Journal of Neuroscience, January 18, 2012 32(3):911–918

Stellie, Erin R., Ben, Olivia:
Kelava, I., Reillo, I., Murayama, A.Y., Kalinka, A.T., Stenzel, D., Tomancak, P., Matsuzaki, F., Lebrand, C., Sasaki, E., Schwamborn, J.C., et al. (2012). Abundant occurrence of basal radial glia in the subventricular zone of embryonic neocortex of a lissencephalic primate, the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus. Cereb. Cortex 22, 469?481.

Sept. 26 Programmed cell death and trophic factors Rae Nishi
Oct. 1

Student led discussion

Olivia and Brad

Tojima, T., Akiyama, H., Itofusa, R., Li, Y., Katayama, H.,
Miyawaki, A. & Kamiguchi, H. (2007). Attractive axon guidance
involves asymmetric membrane transport and exocytosis in the growth
cone. Nature Neuroscience, 10, 58-66.


Oct. 3


Peles and Salzer 2000. Molecular domains of myelinated axons. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 10:558-65

Emery B., 2010. Regulation of Oligodendrocyte Differentiation and Myelination. Science 330:779


Erin R, Stellie, Ben and Olivia:

Fancy, S. P. J., Harrington, E. P., Yuen, T., Silbereis, J. C., Zhao, C., Baranzini, S. E., Bruce, C. C., Otero, J. J., Huang, E. J., Nusse, R., Franklin, R. J. M., & Rowitch, D. H. (2011). Axin2 as regulatory and therapeutic target in newborn brain injury and remyelination. Nature Neuroscience, 14(8), 1009-1018.


Carson Cornbrooks, PhD
Oct. 8

Student led discussion - HSRF 400

Steven, Erin and Kutibh:

Baas, Legrand, Samarut & Flamant 2002. Persistence of oligodendrocyte precursor cells and altered myelination in optic nerve associated to retina degeneration in mice devoid of all thyroid hormone receptors. Proc natl Acad Sci USA, March 2002 5;99(5): 2907-11.


Oct. 10


Review about development of the neuromuscular junction:

Review about CNS synaptogenesis:


Rae Nishi
Oct. 15

Student led discussion

Erin R, Ben and Stellie:

Kaneko-Goto, T., Yoshihara, S.-I., Miyazaki, H., & Yoshihara, Y. (2008). BIG-2 mediates olfactory axon convergence to target glomeruli. Neuron, 57(6), 834-846.

Olivia and Kutibh:

Golub, J.S., Tong, L., Ngyuen, T.B., Hume, C.R., Palmiter, R.D., Rubel, E.W. & Stone, J.S. (2012). Hair cell replacement in adult mouse utricles after targeted ablation of hair cells with diphtheria toxin. The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(43): 15093-15105.

Steven and Erin:

Carreres, M.I., Escalanta, A., Murillo, B., Chauvin, G., gaspar, P., Vegar, C., & Herrera, E. (2011). Transcription factor Foxd1 is required for the specification of the temporal retina in mammals. J. Neurosci, 31(15):5673-81


Oct. 17

Activity mediated refinement of connections

Visual System (focus on the latter part of the review that covers activity):

Reese BE. 2011. Development of the retina and optic pathway

Activity-dependent specification of neurotransmitter phenotype:

Spitzer NC. 2012. Activity-dependent neurotransmitter respecification. Nat Rev Neurosci. 13(2):94-106. doi: 10.1038/nrn3154.

Rae Nishi
Oct. 22

Student led discussion

Olivia and Ben:

Paola V. Plazas, Xavier Nicol, and Nicholas C. Spitzer. (2012).
Activity-dependent competition regulates motor neuron axon pathfinding via PlexinA3. PNAS, 110 (4), 1524-29.

Kutibh and Erin:


Stellie, Bradley and Erin R:

Dulcis, D., Jamshidi, P., Leutgeb, S., & Spitzer, N.C. (2013).
Neurotransmitter switching in the adult brain regulates behavior.
340 (6131), 449-453. *

Oct. 24

Developmental disorders I: Rett Syndrome

Please read the following articles for class this Thursday. Remember we are meeting in HSRF 400 at 4:30 PM. Dinner will arrive at 5:00 PM.

Chao HT, Zoghbi HY. 2012 MeCP2: only 100% will do. Nat Neurosci. 15:176-7.

Chao HT, et al. 2010 Dysfunction in GABA signalling mediates autism-like stereotypies and Rett syndrome phenotypes. Nature. 468:263-9.

Felix Eckenstein, PhD
Oct. 29

Student led discussion

Stellie, Kutibh and Steven

Mothers of Autistic Children: Lower Plasma Levels of
Oxytocin and Arg-Vasopressin and a Higher Level of

Oct. 31 Developmental Disorders II: Autism Robert Althof, MD, PhD
Nov. 5 Student led discussion  
Nov. 7-13 Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego No class
Nov. 21 Developmental Disorders III: ADHD Alexandra Potter, PhD
Dec. 3 Student led discussion  
Nov. 25-29 Thanksgiving recess No class
Dec 13 Papers due by 5:00 PM in HSRF 406  



Last modified November 06 2013 02:40 PM