Neuroscience

  • By studying how cells manipulate proteins, Professor Shubhik DebBurman and his students hope to better understand why some proteins change shape and cause incurable neurological diseases like Parkinson’s. Many of Professor DebBurman’s students have had the opportunity to co-author publications with him on this research and to turn their lab work into research projects and senior theses.

Neuroscience is one of the fastest growing science majors. It seeks to explain the biological basis of behavior, by integrating natural and social sciences with humanities and performing arts.  Our students explore brain function in depth and address current ideas regarding sensation and perception, affect, thought, behavior, and psychiatry and neurology. The program’s vibrant and intellectually engaged student culture particularly attracts research-driven majors interested in making such interdisciplinary connections with a high level of rigor.

  • First-year neuroscience students conduct brain outreach with North Chicago fifth graders.
    First-year neuroscience students conduct brain outreach with North Chicago fifth graders.

Neuroscience students pursue independent original research with faculty on topics as diverse as neurophilosophy, ethics, neural plasticity, human memory, applied cognitive psychology, child development, pharmacology, evolution of animal behavior, addiction, neurodegenerative disease, cellular physiology, clinical studies, and the genetics of organ development.
 
While this research-rich and practical interdisciplinary training provides an excellent background for launching into the graduate health professions, including medical school, it also prepares graduates for diverse scientific and other professions.

The program supports a strong student community of peer learners and leaders. The 2014 Lake Forest College Student-Organization-of-the-Year SYNAPSE fosters a vibrant student and faculty community focused on public education and outreach on neuroscience issues. Academic excellence is rewarded by selection into the national neuroscience honorary Nu Rho Psi. In 2013, our college chapter was awarded the National-Chapter-of-the-Year at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting. Majors enjoy a strong focus on critical writing and persuasive communication by participating in the award-winning student research journal EUKARYON

Many neuroscience majors study abroad at the University of Auckland in New Zealand (where they take neuroscience courses and can engage in neuroscience research); other sites include France, ChinaTanzania, Denmark, or Costa Rica. Some pursue off-campus study in Chicago, many conduct research at nearby Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and most engage in community outreach, and partner with North Chicago elementary schools for K-6 education.

The program sponsors a robust seminar series that features national experts in neuroscience and neurology/psychiatry. Our majors regularly receive recognition from professional societies, at the local and national level, for their scholarship and educational outreach activities, and many have become published scholars. They annually interact with scientific professionals and the research community at the Chicago Society for Neuroscience conference. In 2011-2016 alone, they have won eight research prizes at Chicago area conferences and the Brain Awareness Week Award from the international Society for Neuroscience (SfN)

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Department News

  • Emily Ong ’17, Rosemary Thomas ’18, and Paul Jones ’18 presented their neuroscience research at the annual American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) meeting held in Chicago, Illinois on April 25.
  • Noted University of Chicago neuroscientist Dr. Ellie Hecksher and several Lake Forest College alumni will be the highlight of the 15th NeuroFrontiers Workshop on April 29 at Lake Forest College. This workshop celebrates the capstone research projects of four biology and neuroscience courses and the induction of new members of the college’s chapter of Nu Rho Psi, the national neuroscience honorary.

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