Comparative Nervous Systems Bi 157

Bi/CNS 157
Fridays 2-4 pm, 200 Broad

(Lab and midterm in 107 Kerckhoff)

Professor:  John Allman (

Teaching Assistant:  Zhannetta Gugel ()

Textbook:  Evolving Brains (Download PDF)

Classes will be held in 200 Broad except for the brain dissection lab on April 21 and the midterm exam on May 5, which will be in 107 Kerckhoff. The midterm exam will comprise 30% of the grade.

Homework problems based on projects involving the Allen Brain and Comparative Brain Atlases. 30% of the grade.

Final exam for seniors and graduate students will be emailed to you on Wednesday, June 7th and will be due at 11:59 PM on Friday, June 9th. The final exam is 40% of the grade.

Final exam for other students will be emailed to you on Wednesday, June 14 and will be due at 11:59 PM on Friday, June 16. May be taken during the earlier exam period if preferred.

April 7: Organizational Meeting and demonstration of the use of the Comparative Brain and Allen Brain Atlas

April 14: Methods, Development, Evolution

Readings: Evolving Brains, Chapters 1, 2, and 3.

Piao X et al (2004) G protein-coupled receptor-dependent development of human frontal cortex. Science. 303:2033-2036.

Bae B-L et al (2014) Evolutionarily dynamic alternative splicing of GPR56 regulates regional cerebral cortical patterning. Science. 343:764-768.

Olson EC, Walsh CA (2002) Smooth, rough, and upside-down neocortical development. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 12:320-327.

Rakic P (2004) Genetic control of cortical convolutions. Science. 303:1983-1984.

April 21: Dissection of Sheep Brains in 107 Kerckhoff.

There are several guides for dissecting sheep brains:

The Sheep Brain: A Basic Guide by Richard K. Cooley and C. H. Vanderwolf can be purchased from

There is an online guide at

For registration of the sheep brain dissection with histological sections see

April 28: The Visual System
Readings: Evolving Brains, Chapters 4 and 6.

May 5: Midterm Exam in 107 Kerckhoff Identify brain structures and short essays.

May 8: Bees, Spiders and Cephalopods

Farris S.M. et al (2001) Experience- and Age-Related Outgrowth of Intrinsic Neurons in the Mushroom Bodies of the Adult Worker Honeybee. The Journal of Neuroscience. 21(16):6395–6404.

Land M.F. et al (1969) Structure of the Retinae of The Principal Eyes of Jumping Spiders (Salticidae: Dendryphantinae) in Relations to Visual Optics. J. Exp. Bid. 51. 443-47.

Albertin C.B. et al (2015) The Octopus Genomeand the Evolution of Cephalopod Neural and Morphological Novelties. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature14668

May 15: Cerebellum

Buckner R.L. et al (2013) The Cerebellum and Cognitive Function: 25 Years of Insight from Anatomy and Neuroimaging. Neuron 80.

May 22: Emotion and Cognition

May 29: Alzheimer's Disease and the other Dementias

June 7: Final Examination for Graduate Students and Seniors due June 9th @ 11:59 PM

June 14: Final Examination for other students due June 16th @ 11:59 PM