Amanda Crocker
Office
McCardell Bicen Hall 353
Tel
(802) 443-3638
Email
acrocker@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Tue 11:00 - 12:00 pm, Thu 1:00 - 2:00 pm, Fri 1:30 - 2:30 pm

Amanda Crocker is an Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Middlebury College. She arrived at Middlebury in 2015 after working as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University in Dr. Mala Murthy’s Lab. Amanda received her Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania under the guidance of Dr. Amita Sehgal. Amanda received both a B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University.

The Crocker Lab focuses on understanding the molecular underpinnings of complex behavior. The lab is specifically interested in understanding the physical changes that occur in the brain following different types of physically painful stimuli. Physically painful memories are very often the hardest to forget for many organisms. We use the fruit fly to understand what happens at a molecular level when a painful memory is formed, and to understand how the brain interprets different types of painful stimuli.

The lab is also interested in the role that genes play in the diversity of responses to painful stimuli. Pain induced by mechanical stress is one modality that the lab has become very interested in because of its close ties to concussions and traumatic brain injury.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Senior Independent Research
Seniors conducting independent research in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry under the guidance of a faculty mentor should register for MBBC 0700 unless they are completing a thesis project (in which case they should register for MBBC 0701). Additional requirements include attendance at all MBBC-sponsored seminars and seminars sponsored by the faculty mentor’s department, and participation in any scheduled meetings and disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. (Approval required).

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis
This course is for seniors completing independent thesis research in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry that was initiated in BIOL 0500, CHEM 0400, MBBC 0500, or MBBC 0700. Students will attend weekly meetings with their designated research group and engage in one-on-one meetings with their research mentor to foster understanding in their specialized research area. Students will also practice the stylistic and technical aspects of scientific writing needed to write their thesis. (BIOL 0500, CHEM 0400, MBBC 0500, MBBC 0700) (Approval required).

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Evolution and Development of the Brain
Our brains are complex in both structure and function. But why? Why did we evolve to have a nervous system? What cellular and molecular events during development produce this complexity? Students will gain a deep understanding of the structures of the brain, selection factors during evolution, and how the nervous system develops. Through introductory lectures, readings, and discussions, students will discover the fascinating evolutionary history of the human brain. (PSYC 0105 and BIOL 0145 or BIOL 0140) (not open to students who have taken NSCI 0325) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Fundamentals of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Neurons are the building blocks of complex circuits that underlie perception and behavior. In this course we will examine the molecular and cellular basis of neuron structure and function. The topics include the molecular and cellular basis of action potential propagation, the molecular biology of synaptic transmission, the molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, and the molecular mechanisms of sensory transduction. Laboratory exercises will train students in commonly used neurobiology techniques and engage students in novel investigations. (BIOL 0145 (Note: AP credit in biology cannot be used to satisfy this requirement) Open to neuroscience majors, nonmajors by waiver; Not open to seniors). 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Neural Coding: Visualizing How the Brain Computes
How does the brain go from an electrical signal to recognizing friends? In this course we will learn to use MATLAB to explore visually how the brain uses electrical signals to compute information. By using MATLAB as the frame for the class, students will gain skills in using a fundamental tool in neuroscience. In addition, through the use of introductory lectures, readings, in class programming activities, and discussion, students will deepen their understanding of how sensory information is encoded and then decoded. No experience using MATLAB necessary. (NSCI 0251 and NSCI 252; Open to junior and senior neuroscience majors by instructor approval). Due to restricted capacity, neuroscience seniors needing a senior seminar in order to fulfill their senior work requirement will be given priority.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

The Dynamic Brain
From its structural organization, to changes in neuronal connectivity associated with learning, to transient modulation associated with cognitive processes like attention and emotion, the brain relies on multiple processes to generate dynamic patterns of brain activity. These brain activity patterns, in turn, form the basis for diverse brain functions and even our conscious experience. In this course, through background lectures and class discussion of primary scientific literature, we will explore the underpinnings of dynamic brain activity and work towards developing an overall model of how the brain functions. (PSYC 0226 or PSYC 0303 or NSCI 0251; open to junior/senior psychology and neuroscience majors; others by waiver) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

Requirements

SCI

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Independent Research
Students enrolled in NSCI 0500 complete individual research projects involving laboratory or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and approved in advance by a NSCI faculty advisor. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in NSCI 0700. (Approval required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Research
This course is for senior NSCI majors who plan to conduct one or more semesters of independent research, or who plan to complete preparatory work toward a senior thesis, such as researching and writing a thesis proposal as well as, if appropriate, collecting data that will form the basis for a senior thesis. Senior NSCI majors who plan to complete a senior thesis should register initially for NSCI 0700. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (Approval required, open to seniors only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog

Course Description

Senior Thesis
Senior NSCI majors who have completed one or more terms of NSCI 0700, who have a GPA of 3.3 in their major courses, and who plan to complete a senior thesis should register for NSCI 0701 for the final semester of the senior thesis process. Students enrolled in NSCI 0701 write a thesis, give a public presentation of their research, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least two Neuroscience faculty members. Faculty may recommend High honors in Neuroscience after considering the quality of these components of a student’s thesis and the student’s GPA in major courses. Additional requirements may include participation in weekly meetings with advisors and/or lab groups and attending neuroscience seminars. (NSCI 0700, Approval required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

View in Course Catalog