Study the nervous system and its interactions with other physiological systems in the body. Through courses and independent research, examine the cellular and biochemical activity of the brain that drives cognition and behavior, and how experiences alter the brain to result in learning, emotional responses, and psychiatric disease. You will be trained in a myriad of research and clinically relevant fields.

Student Research

If you are interested in neurobiology, work with Dr. Cassella and learn how psychosocial stressors can influence everything from an individual’s emotional state to their physiology, to their immune function. She is currently working with students on two main projects: investigating how prenatal or adult chronic stress influences anxiety-like behavior, stress physiology, and inflammatory biology.

Loras houses a rodent research colony to facilitate student research projects. The rodent research colony is designed to investigate the central nervous system functioning and behavioral observation techniques. In addition to serving as a research resource, the rodent colony is also utilized as an educational resource to expose students to various testing paradigms in the classroom.

If you are interested in cognition, work with Dr. Kurczek. His research investigates the interactions and interdependencies among numerous cognitive processes, including language and memory within social contexts. The goals of the lab are to understand how these cognitive processes interact with one another to develop interventions in language to help support and improve memory and social interaction. His lab draws from multiple disciplinary and theoretical stances and utilizes converging methodologies to holistically probe the interactions amongst cognitive processes.

Explore Internships & Careers

Internship opportunities offer real-world experiences. You can complete internships for academic credit or non-credit. Many students choose to complete both.

Students are encouraged to pursue opportunities through The National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health summer research experiences for undergraduates at various colleges and universities throughout the country.

Many of our students have completed Summer Research Experiences at the University of Iowa.

Neuroscience is a growing and highly competitive field. Those interested in pursuing specialized training will leave campus well-prepared for graduate or medical school in several related disciplines.

  • Behavioral Science Researcher for a variety of companies/agencies
  • Laboratory Technician at a large research institution – public or private
  • Scientific Educator/Communicator for public education or research agencies OR private tech or pharmaceutical companies
  • Research Scientist in variety of biological fields

Course Highlights

Neuropsychiatric Diseases

This course will explore how translational research applies neuroscience knowledge to inform, prevent, treat, and cure brain diseases. Some topics include how genetic and environmental factors influence susceptibility to psychiatric conditions, how we learn about psychiatric diseases with animal models, and state-of-the-art approaches to treatment. Psychiatric conditions discussed include Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases, anxiety and depressive disorders, and Schizophrenia.

Functional Neuroanatomy

We will study the topography, functional distribution of nerve cell bodies, and ascending and descending tracts in the spinal cord. Brainstem organization and functional components will be covered, to include cranial nerve nuclei, ascending/descending pathways, structure and information flow in the cerebellar and vestibular systems. Once we have identified all of the functional units of the nervous system, we will continue with how these various pieces and parts work together: motor and sensory systems, cortical versus cerebellar systems, and their functional integration.

CBL: Traumatic Brain Injury

It is difficult to fully understand how the brain functions under completely normal working conditions. One technique used to investigate brain functioning through clinical cases where there has been trauma in a specified region of the brain. Thus, in people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) neuroscientists can locate the region of trauma and any change in functioning of the individual. This course is designed to explore the brain through various historical cases and provide a deeper understanding of neuro-functioning from resulting deficits in dissociated brain regions. Clinical cases will be provided as we travel from the frontal lobe to the tempo

School of Science & Health

Majors & Minors

graduate degree Opportunities

Loras offers a variety of graduate, dual degree, and accelerated pathways designed for high-achieving students to earn both their undergraduate and graduate degrees efficiently and economically.

Loras College Student

Clubs & Orgs

We have a variety of opportunities for you to get involved from the moment you set foot on campus.

Neuroscience Club
Nu Rho Psi Honors Society

Straight Talk from a Duhawk

I enjoy the research opportunities and journal presentations the most. It is a great atmosphere and I’ve met many close friends at Loras. The professors care a lot about the students and are always available to help with homework, research, and even life path advice.

— Hannah (’23)

Meet Your Professors

Sarah Cassella, Neuroscience professor smiling

Sarah Cassella  PhD

Associate Professor of Neuroscience

Loras College Crest

Jake Kurczek  PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Neuroscience News