The Department of Psychology, one of the largest and most productive departments in the nation, is housed in Franz Hall. Its state-of-the-art facilities, numerous resources and renowned faculty provide ample opportunity for innovative research. Many departmental faculty and researchers are recipients of over $14 million in annual extramural funding, and are acknowledged leaders in their fields. Their scientific contributions, combined with the campus' remarkable growth and Los Angeles' cultural vibrancy, have hastened the University's emergence as a world-class research institution--the anchor of Southern California's intellectual and scientific achievement.
This completely computer-based module’s purpose is to introduce students to bioinformatics resources. We present an easy-to-adopt module that weaves together
several important bioinformatic tools so students can grasp how these tools are used in answering research questions. This module integrates information gathered from websites dealing with anatomy (Mouse Brain Library), Quantitative Trait Locus analysis
(WebQTL from GeneNetwork), bioinformatics and gene expression analyses (University of California, Santa Cruz Genome Browser, NCBI Entrez Gene, and the Allen Brain Atlas), and information resources (PubMed).
This module provides for teaching genetics from the phenotypic level to the molecular level, some neuroanatomy, some aspects of histology, statistics, Quantitaive Trait Locus analysis, molecular biology including in situ hybridization and microarray analysis in addition to introducing bioinformatic resources. Students use these resources to discover 1) the region(s) of chromosome(s) influencing the trait, 2) a list of candidate genes—narrowed by expression data, 3) the in situ pattern of a given gene in the region of
interest, 4) the nucleotide sequence of the candidate gene, and 5) articles describing the gene. Teaching materials such as a detailed instructor’s manual, powerpoints, sample exams, and links to free web resources can be found at http://mdcune.psych.ucla.edu/modules/bioinformatics.
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This article describes a laboratory module taught at UCLA and offers digitized microscope images that will allow instructors to recreate this module at their home institutions with only a computer required. This module allows for 1) an exploration of the effects of hormones on neural development, 2) the demonstration of sex differences in the nervous system, 3) the production of robust and statistically significant data by novice undergraduates, 4) the discussion of sophisticated statistical analyses (ANOVAs with significant main effects and an interaction), and 5) the understanding of at least some of the neuroanatomy of the spinal cord. Specifically, this module both replicates and extends a previously published experiment on sexually dimorphic neurons in the spinal cord of rats (Grisham et al., 1992), which examined the effect of antiandrogen exposure (Flutamide) in utero on sexually dimorphic spinal motoneurons in male and female rats.
Previous research on cross-situational word learning has demonstrated that learners are able to reduce ambiguity in mapping words to referents by tracking co-occurrence probabilities across learning events. In the current experiments, we examined whether learners are able to retain mappings over time. The results revealed that learners are able to retain mappings for up to 1 week later. However, there were interactions between the amount of retention and the different learning conditions. Interestingly, the strongest retention was associated with a learning condition that engendered retrieval dynamics that initially challenged the learner but eventually led to more successful retrieval toward the end of learning. The ease/difficulty of retrieval is a critical process underlying cross-situational word learning and is a powerful example of how learning dynamics affect long-term learning outcomes.
Interparental conflict and child HPA-axis responses to acute stress: Insights using intensive repeated measures.
Interparental conflict is a common source of psychosocial stress in the lives of children. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between recent interparental conflict and one component of the physiological stress response system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis. Parents of 42 children (ages 8-13 years) completed daily diaries of interparental conflict for 8 weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks, youth participated in the Trier Social Stress Test for Children (TSST-C) while providing 2 pre- and 4 poststress salivary cortisol samples. Youth whose fathers reported a pattern of increasing interparental conflict over the past 8 weeks demonstrated an exaggerated HPA-axis response to acute stress. Mother-reported interparental conflict was not associated with children's HPA-axis responses without accounting for fathers' reports. When accounting for fathers' reports, the offspring of mothers reporting higher average daily interparental conflict demonstrated an attenuated HPA-axis response to the stressor. By estimating both average exposure and recent patterns of change in exposure to conflict, we address the circumstances that may prompt attenuation versus sensitization of the HPA-axis in the context of interparental conflict. We conclude that the HPA-axis is sensitive to proximal increases in interparental conflict which may be one pathway through which stress affects health across development, and that incorporating father's reports is important to understanding the role of the family environment in stress responses. This study further demonstrates the value of using intensive repeated measures and multiple reporters to characterize children's psychosocial environment. (PsycINFO Database Record