This Course at MIT

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 9.123/20.203 Neurotechnology in Action as it was taught by associate professors Alan Jasanoff and Ed Boyden and instructor Maxine Jonas in Fall 2014.

This course offered students exposure to cutting-edge neurotechnologies as they are being developed and used by MIT laboratories. The course was designed as a series of modules, each generally consisting of a background lecture given by a faculty member or senior lab member, followed by one to two hands-on lab sessions. During the labs, students witnessed experiments, viewed instrumentation and analysis methods in operation, and interacted with scientists who were experts in the techniques.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

Students were given exceptional face-to-face contact with experts around campus. For each module, students were expected to learn to:

  • understand the basic principles and practical issues,
  • observe where the methods can be best applied,
  • know how to gain more in-depth knowledge if and when necessary.

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

Permission of the instructors

Requirements Satisfied

9.123/20.203 is a core class of the MIT Neurobiological Engineering Training Program (NBETP) and associated Certificate Program (NBECP). Additionally, it can be applied towards a graduate degree from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences or a graduate degree from the Department of Biological Engineering.

Offered

Every fall semester

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by quizzes. 30% In-class quizzes
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by homework assignments. 30% Homework assignments
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by the final project. 30% Final project
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by participation. 10% Participation
 

Student Information

10 students took this course when it was offered in Fall 2014.

Breakdown by Year

Graduate students, Neurobiological Engineering Training & Certificate Program participants 

Breakdown by Major

Neurobiological Engineering Training & Certificate Program participants, along with students from Biological Engineering and Brain & Cognitive Sciences

 

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

Lecture

1.5 hours per week
  • Met 1 time per week for 1.5 hours per session; 15 sessions total; mandatory attendance
  • Lectures were presented by a subject-matter expert
  • 9 sessions included a quiz at the start of the class session on material from the previous lecture/lab material
  • 1 session was used to discuss the final projects
  • 2 sessions were student presentations on final projects
 

Laboratory

1.5 hours per week
  • Met 1 time per week for 1.5 hours per session; 14 sessions total; mandatory attendance
  • 13 sessions met in the laboratory of the guest lecturer to observe or perform experiments with the neurotechnology described in the lecture
  • 1 session was a field trip to the lab of Professor Lichtman at Harvard
 

Out of Class

9 hours per week
  • Completed readings in advance of each lecture
  • Prepared for quizzes on lectures and corresponding reading material
  • Completed homework assignments
  • Prepared final project paper and presentation
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
2 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled. No session scheduled.
3 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; quiz held. No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
4 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; quiz held. No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled. No session scheduled.
5 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; quiz held. No session scheduled. Field trip scheduled. No session scheduled.
6 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; assignment due date; quiz held. No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled. No session scheduled.
7 No classes throughout MIT. Lab session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; lab session scheduled; quiz held. No session scheduled.
8 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; quiz held. No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled. No session scheduled.
9 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; quiz held. No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled. No session scheduled.
10 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled; assignment due date. No session scheduled.
11 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; quiz held. No session scheduled.
12 No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
13 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; assignment due date; quiz held. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
14 No session scheduled. Lab session scheduled. No session scheduled. Student final presentations scheduled. No session scheduled.
15 No session scheduled. Student final presentations scheduled. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lecture sessions are held. Lecture session
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate assignments due dates. Assignment due date
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when quizzes are held. Quiz
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when laboratory sessions are held. Lab
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when field trips are held. Field trip
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when student final presentations are held. Student final presentations
 

 

Instructor Insights

9.123/20.203 Neurotechnology in Action takes advantage of the resources on campus to build a unique course that delivers exceptional instruction on cutting-edge neurotechnology.

—Professor Jasanoff

Below, Professor Jasanoff describes various aspects of how he, Associate Professor Boyden and Doctor Jonas designed and taught 9.123/20.203 Neurotechnology in Action.

This course is a core component of the training curriculum for MIT’s recently inaugurated Center for Neurobiological Engineering. The Center’s mission includes the advancement of education at the interfaces between neuroscience and engineering through providing students with leading edge instruction on the theoretical and practical aspects of neurotechnology.

MIT is well known for its development and use of ground-breaking neurotechnologies as well as an abundance of subject-matter experts, both faculty and senior lab members. 9.123/20.203 Neurotechnology in Action takes advantage of the resources on campus to build a unique course that delivers exceptional instruction on cutting-edge neurotechnology. The module design of the course, with a background lecture and 1-2 lab sessions for each neurotechnology, offers students opportunities to study optical imaging, optogenetics, high throughput neurobiology, MRI/fMRI, neuronal tissue engineering, viral and genetic tools, and connectomics or ex vivo neuroimaging. In addition, there are other modules that may be substituted or used in future semesters including advanced electrophysiological tools, neuronal data analysis, and automated approaches to neural experimentation. The course is also viewed as an opportunity to facilitate collaboration and “technology transfer” among diverse MIT laboratories.