Independent Study

Like all Wooster students, Neuroscience majors complete three semesters of study that culminate in the completion of their Independent Study. In their junior year, students will have the opportunity to narrow their focus to a particular area of interest within the larger field of neuroscience. They will learn to demonstrate a mastery of the available literature and possible laboratory methods related to that topic, and will then work toward identifying a research question to pursue during their senior year. In the senior year, each student will work closely with a faculty member to fully develop, conduct and complete a yearlong research project assessing central nervous system functioning at the organismal, cellular or a combination of these levels.

Recent I.S. projects include:

  • An assessment of a particular cytokine (chemical messenger of the nervous system) and its involvement in the cellular connections within the hippocampus
  • An assessment of the impact of maternal care on offspring learning and memory capabilities
  • The influence of multiple cue types on learning in mice
  • The influence of hormone levels on fear learning and the related cellular processes in rats
  • A measurement of changes in the regulatory subunits of protein kinase during sleep deprivation in flies
  • Whether amphetamine use in the parent generation of rats impacts the offspring’s activity and ability to control impulsivity
  • How intellectual disabilities are influenced by brain development and axonal growth using the fly as a model system
  • An investigation of brain responses to hearing speech sound similarities and differences in native and non-native speakers