Neuroscience and Mental Health

July 15-17th, 2013



The Conte Center teamed up with the Life Sciences Outreach Program at Harvard to offer teachers an opportunity to explore Neuroscience and Mental Health.

The three day workshop featured lectures on basic and clinical neuroscience, including a focus on: (1) using electron microscopy and super-resolution light microscopy to map brain connectivity, (2) leveraging studies on the genetics of mental illness to improve drug discovery, and (3) clinical presentation of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

In addition to these lectures, the workshop included an opportunity to discuss the popular science book on mental health, "The Other Side of Normal" with author Dr. Jordan Smoller. The teachers also participated in a brain image reconstruction lab to accompany the electron microscopy lecture, went on tours of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, and participated in an expert-led discussion on enhancing diversity in STEM education and careers.

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Background Articles for “Introduction to Connectomics” Lecture by Dr. Bobby Kasthuri

Lichtman JW, Denk W. The big and the small: challenges of imaging the brain's circuits. Science. 2011 Nov 4;334(6056):618-23. )

Kasthuri N, Lichtman JW. Neurocartography. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 Jan;35(1):342-3.

Book for Meet-the-Author Discussion with Dr. Jordan Smoller

Smoller J. The Other Side of Normal: How Biology Is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2012.

Background Articles for Stanley Center Visit led by Dr. Steven Hyman

Hyman SE. Revolution stalled. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Oct 10;4(155):155cm11.

Weintraub K. Learning how to treat mental disorders. Boston Globe. Interview with Dr. Steven E. Hyman, August 6, 2012.

Background Articles for “Zoom into Life on the Nano Scale” Lecture by Dr. Xiaowei Zhuang

Xu K, Zhong G, Zhuang X. Actin, spectrin, and associated proteins form a periodic cytoskeletal structure in axons. Science. 2013 Jan 25;339(6118):452-6. [Related Conte Web Feature: Surprises in the skeletons of neurons]

Huang B, Wang W, Bates M, Zhuang X. Three-dimensional super-resolution imaging by stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy. Science. 2008 Feb 8;319(5864):810-3.

Background Articles for C. elegans laboratory activity with Dr. Jacqueline Brooks

Jones AK, Buckingham SD, Sattelle DB.Chemistry-to-gene screens in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2005 Apr;4(4):321-30.

Timmons L, Court DL, Fire A. Ingestion of bacterially expressed dsRNAs can produce specific and potent genetic interference in Caenorhabditis elegans. Gene. 2001 Jan 24;263(1-2):103-12.