MCDB 452 - The Visual System
Winter 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Department: LSA Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
Enforced Prerequisites:
BIOLOGY 222; or BIOLOGY 225 and (MCDB 310, BIOLCHEM 415, or CHEM 351); or NEUROSCI 614; or graduate standing.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/5/22 - 4/19/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Vision is our most important sense, and nearly half of our cerebral cortex is devoted to vision. This course focuses on understanding how the cellular properties of neurons and the pattern of synaptic connections among neurons allow the visual system to decipher incoming information. The course will begin with a review of fundamental neurobiology concepts and methods, before concentrating on photoreception and synaptic processing in the retina, which is arguably the best understood part of the brain. The rest of the course will survey visual processing beyond the retina, with an emphasis on the primary visual cortex. A major focus of the lectures and paper discussions will be to help students understand the experiments that led to the development of current views.

Course Requirements:

PowerPoint slides will be uploaded to the course web site at least several days before each relevant lecture, while all 12 journal papers will be posted on the site at the beginning of the semester. It is essential that you come to class having already studied the lecture slides or the assigned paper so that you will be ready for that day’s discussion. There will be a multiple-choice quiz about each lecture or paper, and all quizzes will be due on Canvas by the end of the semester.

Intended Audience:

Undergrads, grad students, postdocs

Class Format:

An 80-min lecture and an 80-min paper discussion each week.


MCDB 452 - The Visual System
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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