• Semester Offered: Fall, Spring
  • Credits: 3


Prerequisites are Fundamentals of Neurobiology (01:146:245) or Essentials in Cell Biology & Neuroscience (01:146: 295).

Course Description

This course is offered Spring semester, and is intended primarily for students majoring in Cell Biology & Neuroscience. It counts as an Advanced course towards the CBN major (R10) or a Life Science Elective (R11). Other students with background knowledge in neuroscience can also register for this course.

The opioid epidemic highlights how chronic pain may result in addiction to pain killers. Understanding the fundamental underpinnings of the debilitating sensations of pain and addictive behaviors provides potential therapeutic avenues for treatment and intervention. The course will focus on the molecular, cellular and neuroanatomical correlates of pain and addiction. The course consists of three modules. The first module will delve into how different ion channels sense temperature, mechanical stimulus, or pain. The second module will cover the neural circuitries that convey, integrate, and combine these percepts. Finally, students will learn the neuroanatomy and circuits that participate in addictive behavior.  Students must have a strong background in cell biology or neurobiology.

Topics: This course will address the fundamental neurobiology of pain and addiction. After completing this course, students should have a solid grasp of the following:

  1. The ion channels and receptors involved in detecting different sensory modalities and pain.
  2. The neural circuits underlying pain and somatosensation
  3. Addiction mechanisms including circuits, neuroanatomy and behavior

Course Syllabus
Fall 2024 Syllabus (Formerly 01:146:464 Topics in Cell Biology and Neuroscience:Neurobiology of Pain and Addiction)

Course Site

There will be a Canvas course site.

Course Satisfies Learning Goals

Learning Goals: The learning goals for this course are consistent with general goals set by the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience are listed here, as well as the Division of Life Sciences.

1. Obtain factual and conceptual knowledge in fundamentals of cell biology and development (with a hint of neuroscience) that will provide a strong foundation for success in advanced training and professional careers.

2. Develop an ability to summarize, integrate and organize information.

3. Use scientific reasoning to evaluate the potential for current research and new discoveries to improve our understanding of cell biology and its relevance to human health and out society.

The mission in the Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences (CBN) is to give students a first-rate educational experience in modern biology.   Our graduates will have a solid foundation for any career opportunities that use biology as a foundation.  Furthermore, they will be inspired to become life-long learners in the ever-evolving world of biological sciences. The overarching goal of CBN is to prepare our students for successful entry into the workforce with a career in a health professions field or in a biomedical research area.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

The three exams will count for the remaining 80%. Three quizzes will account for the remaining 20% of the total grade. Exam will be given at the end of each module and quizzes will be given in the middle of each module. There will not be a cumulative final exam. Attendance will be taken in class and provide up to 10% extra credit.

Course Closed?

If this course is closed, please use the following link to add your name to the appropriate wait list: Wait List Sign Up . If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Life Sciences-Office of Undergraduate at 848-445-2075 or visit the office at Nelson Biological Laboratories Room B112, Busch Campus.


Professor Kelvin Kwan, Ph.D., Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professor Victoria Abraira, Ph.D., Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prof. Santiago Cuesta, Ph.D., Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


** All information is subject to change at the discretion of the course coordinator.