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.