2023-2024 University Catalog 
    Jul 21, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog archived

Neuroscience (NEUR)


An interdisciplinary major in neuroscience leading to a Bachelor of Science degree is available to interested students. The central theme of neuroscience is an understanding of the structure and function of the brain and how it is involved in controlling behavior. Thus, the area draws heavily from biology, chemistry, cognitive and behavioral science, mathematics and the computational sciences. The major in neuroscience is intended to prepare students to pursue graduate studies in the biomedical sciences, including graduate training in neuroscience, biology and cognitive and behavioral science, as well as the health professions.

The requirements for a major in neuroscience are described in “Neuroscience major leading to BS degree ”, but generally involve courses from the departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, physics and engineering, and cognitive and behavioral science. An essential element of the neuroscience program at Washington and Lee is the opportunity for the student to become involved in laboratory research with a faculty member. While the areas of research may differ from year to year, they generally include neurochemical research on development and function of sensory systems, involvement of the brain in learning, attention and memory, effects of teratogenic agents on vertebrate brain development, reproductive neuroendocrinology, evaluation of electrical activity recorded from human brains, axonal regeneration, sleep, gut-brain microbiome, computer modeling, artificial intelligence and animal behavior.

The core neuroscience faculty come from biology, cognitive and behavioral science, and physics and engineering, with affiliate faculty in biology and computer science. Further information concerning the major can be obtained from the website at www.wlu.edu/neuroscience-program.

Students contemplating application to medical school should note that CHEM 241 (or 241S) (Organic Chemistry I), 242 (Organic Chemistry II), 341 (Biochemistry I), MATH 102 (Calculus II), and PHYS 112 and 114 (General Physics II) are either required or highly recommended by most admissions committees. Students contemplating graduate school should discuss specific courses with the head of the major.

HONORS: An Honors Program in neuroscience is offered for qualified students; see program head for details.

Head of the Major: Sarah Blythe

Core Faculty

First date is the year in which the faculty member began service as regular faculty at the University. Second date is the year of appointment to the present rank.

Sarah N. Blythe, Ph.D.—(2010)-2018
Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Northwestern University

Ryan C. Brindle, Ph.D.—(2018)-2018
Assistant Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science and Neuroscience
Ph.D., University of Birmingham

Jonathan C. Erickson, Ph.D.—(2009)-2021
Professor of Engineering
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

Helen I’Anson, Ph.D.—(1995)-2004
Professor of Biology
Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Dan R. Johnson, Ph.D.—(2009)-2021
Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

Robert E. Stewart, Ph.D.—(1997)-2015
Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Ph.D., University of Virginia

Natalia Toporikova, Ph.D.—(2012)-2018
Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Florida State University

Fiona Watson, Ph.D.—(2008)-2014
Associate Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Harvard University

Wythe L Whiting IV, Ph.D.—(2003)-2008
Associate Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Science
Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology

Neuroscience courses are as follows:


Interdisciplinary Major