The NeuroPracticum laboratory course provides first-year Neuroscience Graduate Program students with a hands-on and in-depth opportunity to learn essential techniques at the bench, including electrophysiology, molecular biology, imaging, and behavior. The course is held at the Marine Biological Laboratories for 8 days in January each year and provides unique training for these students in a informal, and intense format. Before coming to MBL, students complete a semester of didactic course work. At MBL, they can put their new knowledge into practice and work side-by-side at the bench with Brown University and MBL faculty.
Why does this differ from “lab rotations” that Brown Neuroscience students undertake during the regular academic year? A student can only rotate in a few laboratories and learn a few techniques in the first year of graduate school. And, a given laboratory can only handle a few rotation students per year. The NeuroPracticum course allows Brown University NSGP and GPP students to have an intense and practical experience at the bench with techniques that are the basis of modern neuroscience,- working side by side with professors who are expert in the techniques and systems. This intense experience integrates the practical with the theoretical; students understand both the strengths and limitations of techniques discussed in the classroom only when they use these techniques. The intense format of the course creates remarkable bonding among the faculty and students.