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Sex, Gender, and the Brain: A Non-Majors Course Linking Neuroscience and Women’s Studies

Mead, Kristina S.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2009 EN
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This article describes a non-majors biology class linking neuroscience and women’s studies. The class had 24 students from 13 majors. We met for three classroom hours and three laboratory hours each week. We used animal and human case studies to explore issues of gender, sexuality, hormones, anatomy, biochemistry, behavior and environment to explore the differences and similarities between male and female brains. Reading focused on two major texts, Roughgarden’s Evolution’s Rainbow and Hines’s Brain Gender, and primary literature referenced within. Student performance was assessed through exams, class participation, presentations of primary literature, and independent research projects with oral and written presentations. The cross-listing with women’s studies improved the class because it led to a great richness of majors and experiences. Furthermore, these students were used to vehement discussion and careful analysis, which carried over to assessing the primary literature, to a surprising degree.

Facilities Planning for the Neuroscience Curriculum at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution: St. Olaf College’s Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

Muir, Gary M.; Van Wylen, David G.L.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2009 EN
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Planning for new science facilities at your institution is an exciting, challenging, and rewarding endeavor. Perhaps most significantly, it also embodies a rare opportunity to provide new infrastructure to support a programmatic vision for the future. Here, we describe St. Olaf’s new Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, beginning with an outline of the planning/design process, then an overview of the features of the building - with particular regard to the Neuroscience Program facilities - and finally a discussion of lessons learned. We hope our experiences may benefit those engaged in the facilities planning process at their own institutions.

Incorporating Scientific Publishing into an Undergraduate Neuroscience Course: A Case Study Using IMPULSE

Jones, Leslie Sargent; Allen, Laura; Cronise, Kim; Juneja, Natasha; Kohn, Rebecca; McClellan, Katherine; Miller, Ashley; Nazir, Azka; Patel, Andy; Sweitzer, Sarah M.; Vickery, Erin; Walton, Anna; Young, Robert
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/03/2011 EN
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The journal IMPULSE offers undergraduates worldwide the opportunity to publish research and serve as peer reviewers for the submissions of others. Undergraduate faculty have recognized the journal’s value in engaging students working in their labs in the publication process. However, integration of scientific publication into an undergraduate laboratory classroom setting has been lacking. We report here on a course at Ursinus College where 20 students taking Molecular Neurobiology were required to submit manuscripts to IMPULSE. The syllabus allowed for the laboratory research to coincide with the background research and writing of the manuscript. Students completed their projects on the impact of drugs on the Daphnia magna nervous system while producing manuscripts ready for submission by week 7 of the course. Findings from a survey completed by the students and perceptions of the faculty member teaching the course indicated that students spent much more time writing, were more focused on completing the assays, completed the assays with larger data sets, were more engaged in learning the scientific concepts and were more thorough with their revisions of the paper knowing that it might be published. Further, the professor found she was more thorough in critiquing students’ papers knowing they would be externally reviewed. Incorporating journal submission into the course stimulated an in depth writing experience and allowed for a deeper exploration of the topic than students would have experienced otherwise. This case study provides evidence that IMPULSE can be successfully used as a means of incorporating scientific publication into an undergraduate laboratory science course. This approach to teaching undergraduate neuroscience allows for a larger number of students to have hands-on research and scientific publishing experience than would be possible with the current model of a few students in a faculty member’s laboratory. This report illustrates that IMPULSE can be incorporated as an integral part of an academic curriculum with positive outcomes on student engagement and performance.

Working with your Administration to Garner Support for Neuroscience Programs

Reiness, C. Gary
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2012 EN
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In this article, I discuss the ways that faculty can work with academic administrators to advance neuroscience programs. To be successful in making the case for resources, you should identify the institutional and administrative priorities, and be sure that your proposal aligns well with those. You should demonstrate the need and expected benefits that the additional resources will provide for the students and institution, and you should muster a group of like-minded colleagues who support your proposal. Expect that the process may extend over several years, as resource constraints and proposals from other programs will compete with yours and possibly delay your obtaining the resources you seek. Patience, persistence, and politeness will all come in handy during these potentially prolonged negotiations.

External Reviews, Internal Influences: Consultations and the Undergraduate Neuroscience Curriculum

Wiertelak, Eric P.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2012 EN
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In 2007 FUN established the FUN Program and Department Consultations Service, or FUN-PDCS. Since that founding, the service has provided numerous consultation recommendations to undergraduate programs seeking assistance with external program reviews, designing and improving courses and many other programmatic needs. FUN-PDCS, like FUN, is primarily a grassroots organization and draws on the expertise of the FUN membership to aid programs in their more personalized pursuit of the FUN mission: to promote and improve undergraduate neuroscience education and research.

An Online Multimedia Resource in Behavioral Neuroscience

Lane, David M.; Tang, Zhihua
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2003 EN
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The advance of web-based technology has stimulated innovation in education. This paper discusses the development and evaluation of an online multimedia resource for undergraduate-level behavioral neuroscience education. This resource surveys four major subject areas: language, attention and perception, thinking, and autism. It employs audio and video streaming, online demonstration experiments, computer simulation, and internet links. This online resource has two distinct advantages over a paper textbook. First, a considerable proportion of the content is conveyed using multimedia, thus making the learning experience more vivid and dynamic. Second, its interactive components provide opportunities for students to participate in the various experimental tasks introduced in the text and to compare their own performance with those of others. This hands-on experience not only enables students to gain in-depth procedural knowledge of the tasks but also has positive effects on their motivation. Feedback from three undergraduate classes that used this resource as supplementary material showed that students were highly positive about its pedagogical values. This free resource is available on the web at http://psych.rice.edu/mmtbn/.

Design and Construction of a Two-Temperature Preference Behavioral Assay for Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratories

Daniels, Richard L.; McKemy, David D.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2010 EN
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Behavioral assays in the undergraduate neuroscience laboratory are useful for illustrating a variety of physiological concepts. An example is homeostatic temperature regulation (thermoregulation). Many model organisms, from flies to mice, regulate internal temperatures in part by moving to suitable climates (thermotaxis). A particularly reliable method of quantifying temperature-dependent thermotactic behaviors is the two-temperature preference behavioral assay. In this preparation, an organism is free to move between two temperature-controlled surfaces, thus revealing its preferred thermal environment. Here we present the design and construction of a two-temperature preference assay chamber. The device uses Peltier-based thermoelectric modules (TECs) for heating and cooling, and is capable of precision control of temperatures from −5ºC to 60ºC. Our approach can be easily adapted for use in a variety of physiological and behavioral assays that require precise temperature control over a wide range of temperatures.

Characterizing Mystery Cell Lines: Student-driven Research Projects in an Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratory Course

Lemons, Michele L.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/03/2012 EN
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Inquiry-based projects promote discovery and retention of key concepts, increase student engagement, and stimulate interest in research. Described here are a series of lab exercises within an undergraduate upper level neuroscience course that train students to design, execute and analyze their own hypothesis-driven research project. Prior to developing their own projects, students learn several research techniques including aseptic cell culture, cell line maintenance, immunocytochemistry and fluorescent microscopy. Working in groups, students choose how to use these techniques to characterize and identify a “mystery” cell line. Each lab group is given a unique cell line with either a neural, astrocyte, or Schwann cell origin. Working together, students plan and execute experiments to determine the cellular origin and other unique characteristics of their mystery cell line. Students generate testable hypotheses, design interpretable experiments, generate and analyze data, and report their findings in both oral and written formats. Students receive instructor and peer feedback throughout the entire project. In summary, these labs train students the process of scientific research. This series of lab exercises received very strong positive feedback from the students. Reflections on student feedback and plans for future improvements are discussed.

Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior: A Graduate Student-Run Comprehensive Course in Neuroscience

Ullrich, Lauren E.; Krafnick, Anthony J.; Dumanis, Sonya B.; Forcelli, Patrick A.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/03/2012 EN
Relevância na Pesquisa
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Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior is an interdisciplinary two-semester upper level course at Georgetown University designed to expose undergraduate and graduate students to broad areas of the neurosciences, to promote the development of scientific literacy in these students, and to provide pedagogical experience for Ph.D. students in the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience (IPN) at all stages of training.

Use of Personal EEG Monitors in a Behavioral Neuroscience Course to Investigate Natural Setting Sleep Patterns and the Factors Affecting Them in College Students

Marshall, Jillian C.; Malerba, Julie R.; Schroeder, Joseph A.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2011 EN
Relevância na Pesquisa
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Sleep is often a topic of avid interest to college students, yet it is one that does not yield itself well to hands-on, interactive learning modules. Supplementing classroom learning with interactive “real world” laboratory activities provides students with a deeper understanding of behavior and its neural control. The project described here was designed to supplement the teaching of EEGs, sleep and circadian rhythms and involved students in the empirical process from hypothesizing about the factors that affect sleep, to personal data collection, data analysis and writing in the style of a peer-reviewed manuscript. Students enrolled in Behavioral Neuroscience at Connecticut College were provided with a home-based personal EEG monitor used to collect sleep data in their natural sleep setting. Participants recorded sleep data with the use of the ZEO® Personal Sleep Coach system and completed a nightly sleep journal questionnaire for seven nights. The ZEO® system uses EEG patterns to define sleep stages including wakefulness, light, deep and REM sleep. The journal included questions about factors known to affect sleep such as stress, caffeine, academic activity, exercise and alcohol. A class data set was compiled and used by students to perform univariate correlations examining the relationships between ZEO® variables and sleep journal variables. The data set allowed students to choose specific variables to investigate...

A Conceptual Framework for Interdisciplinary Curriculum Design: A Case Study in Neuroscience

Modo, Michel; Kinchin, Ian
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2011 EN
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Teaching of interdisciplinary fields of study poses a challenge to course organizers. Often interdisciplinary courses are taught by different departments, and hence, at best provide a multidisciplinary overview. Scientific progress in neuroscience, for instance, is thought to depend heavily on interdisciplinary investigations. If students are only taught to think in particular disciplines without integrating these into a coherent framework to study the nervous system, it is unlikely that they will truly develop interdisciplinary thinking. Yet, it is this interdisciplinary thinking that is at the heart of a holistic understanding of the brain. It is, therefore, important to develop a conceptual framework in which students can be taught interdisciplinary, rather than multidisciplinary, thinking. It is also important to recognize that not all teaching needs to be interdisciplinary, but that the type of curriculum design is dependent on the aims of the course, as well as on the background of the students. A rational curriculum design that aligns learning and teaching objectives is, therefore, advocated.

Testing the Relationship Between Levels of Endogenous Testosterone and Physiological Responses to Facial Expressions in Men: An Experiment Conducted by Students in an Undergraduate Behavioral Neuroscience Class

Thompson, Richmond R.; George, Kirsten
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/06/2003 EN
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To determine if endogenous testosterone (T) is related to physiological responses to aggressive stimuli in human males, students in a behavioral neuroscience laboratory class conducted an experiment that determined if levels of salivary T in adult males are correlated with autonomic and/or somatic responses to angry facial expressions. Each student collected a saliva sample from one subject and, within 30 minutes of collecting the sample, measured heart rate (HR), skin conductance (SC), and corrugator supercilii electromyographic (EMG) responses to emotionally neutral, happy, and angry male facial expressions. Salivary T levels were analyzed by an enzyme-linked immunoassay. A significant, positive correlation was found between levels of salivary T and HR responses to angry and happy, but not neutral, male facial expressions. This laboratory experience not only provided students with the opportunity to design and conduct a scientific experiment, but it also generated preliminary data suggesting that levels of salivary T collected within 30 minutes of testing are related to autonomic responses to emotional social stimuli in humans. If verified by future experiments, this finding would be consistent with the hypothesis that fluctuations in circulating T might influence ongoing social behavior in human males by rapidly modulating autonomic responses to emotional social stimuli. The potential significance of such a general mechanism for the regulation of aggressive behavior is discussed.

Adaptive stimulus optimization for sensory systems neuroscience

DiMattina, Christopher; Zhang, Kechen
Fonte: Frontiers Media S.A. Publicador: Frontiers Media S.A.
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 06/06/2013 EN
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In this paper, we review several lines of recent work aimed at developing practical methods for adaptive on-line stimulus generation for sensory neurophysiology. We consider various experimental paradigms where on-line stimulus optimization is utilized, including the classical optimal stimulus paradigm where the goal of experiments is to identify a stimulus which maximizes neural responses, the iso-response paradigm which finds sets of stimuli giving rise to constant responses, and the system identification paradigm where the experimental goal is to estimate and possibly compare sensory processing models. We discuss various theoretical and practical aspects of adaptive firing rate optimization, including optimization with stimulus space constraints, firing rate adaptation, and possible network constraints on the optimal stimulus. We consider the problem of system identification, and show how accurate estimation of non-linear models can be highly dependent on the stimulus set used to probe the network. We suggest that optimizing stimuli for accurate model estimation may make it possible to successfully identify non-linear models which are otherwise intractable, and summarize several recent studies of this type. Finally, we present a two-stage stimulus design procedure which combines the dual goals of model estimation and model comparison and may be especially useful for system identification experiments where the appropriate model is unknown beforehand. We propose that fast...

Essentializing the binary self: individualism and collectivism in cultural neuroscience

Martínez Mateo, M.; Cabanis, M.; Stenmanns, J.; Krach, S.
Fonte: Frontiers Media S.A. Publicador: Frontiers Media S.A.
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 21/06/2013 EN
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Within the emerging field of cultural neuroscience (CN) one branch of research focuses on the neural underpinnings of “individualistic/Western” vs. “collectivistic/Eastern” self-views. These studies uncritically adopt essentialist assumptions from classic cross-cultural research, mainly following the tradition of Markus and Kitayama (1991), into the domain of functional neuroimaging. In this perspective article we analyze recent publications and conference proceedings of the 18th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (2012) and problematize the essentialist and simplistic understanding of “culture” in these studies. Further, we argue against the binary structure of the drawn “cultural” comparisons and their underlying Eurocentrism. Finally we scrutinize whether valuations within the constructed binarities bear the risk of constructing and reproducing a postcolonial, orientalist argumentation pattern.

Using Chick Forebrain Neurons to Model Neurodegeneration and Protection in an Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratory Course

Burdo, Joseph R.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/06/2013 EN
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Since 2009 at Boston College, we have been offering a Research in Neuroscience course using cultured neurons in an in vitro model of stroke. The students work in groups to learn how to perform sterile animal cell culture and run several basic bioassays to assess cell viability. They are then tasked with analyzing the scientific literature in an attempt to identify and predict the intracellular pathways involved in neuronal death, and identify dietary antioxidant compounds that may provide protection based on their known effects in other cells. After each group constructs a hypothesis pertaining to the potential neuroprotection, we purchase one compound per group and the students test their hypotheses using a commonly performed viability assay. The groups generate quantitative data and perform basic statistics on that data to analyze it for statistical significance. Finally, the groups compile their data and other elements of their research experience into a poster for our departmental research celebration at the end of the spring semester.

Tools, methods, and applications for optophysiology in neuroscience

Smedemark-Margulies, Niklas; Trapani, Josef G.
Fonte: Frontiers Media S.A. Publicador: Frontiers Media S.A.
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 17/07/2013 EN
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The advent of optogenetics and genetically encoded photosensors has provided neuroscience researchers with a wealth of new tools and methods for examining and manipulating neuronal function in vivo. There exists now a wide range of experimentally validated protein tools capable of modifying cellular function, including light-gated ion channels, recombinant light-gated G protein-coupled receptors, and even neurotransmitter receptors modified with tethered photo-switchable ligands. A large number of genetically encoded protein sensors have also been developed to optically track cellular activity in real time, including membrane-voltage-sensitive fluorophores and fluorescent calcium and pH indicators. The development of techniques for controlled expression of these proteins has also increased their utility by allowing the study of specific populations of cells. Additionally, recent advances in optics technology have enabled both activation and observation of target proteins with high spatiotemporal fidelity. In combination, these methods have great potential in the study of neural circuits and networks, behavior, animal models of disease, as well as in high-throughput ex vivo studies. This review collects some of these new tools and methods and surveys several current and future applications of the evolving field of optophysiology.

The social and personality neuroscience of empathy for pain and touch

Bufalari, Ilaria; Ionta, Silvio
Fonte: Frontiers Media S.A. Publicador: Frontiers Media S.A.
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 26/07/2013 EN
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First- and third-person experiences of bodily sensations, like pain and touch, recruit overlapping neural networks including sensorimotor, insular, and anterior cingulate cortices. Here we illustrate the peculiar role of these structures in coding the sensory and affective qualities of the observed bodily sensations. Subsequently we show that such neural activity is critically influenced by a range of social, emotional, cognitive factors, and importantly by inter-individual differences in the separate components of empathic traits. Finally we suggest some fundamental issues that social neuroscience has to address for providing a comprehensive knowledge of the behavioral, functional and anatomical brain correlates of empathy.

A new methodical approach in neuroscience: assessing inter-personal brain coupling using functional near-infrared imaging (fNIRI) hyperscanning

Scholkmann, Felix; Holper, Lisa; Wolf, Ursula; Wolf, Martin
Fonte: Frontiers Media S.A. Publicador: Frontiers Media S.A.
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 27/11/2013 EN
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Since the first demonstration of how to simultaneously measure brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on two subjects about 10 years ago, a new paradigm in neuroscience is emerging: measuring brain activity from two or more people simultaneously, termed “hyperscanning”. The hyperscanning approach has the potential to reveal inter-personal brain mechanisms underlying interaction-mediated brain-to-brain coupling. These mechanisms are engaged during real social interactions, and cannot be captured using single-subject recordings. In particular, functional near-infrared imaging (fNIRI) hyperscanning is a promising new method, offering a cost-effective, easy to apply and reliable technology to measure inter-personal interactions in a natural context. In this short review we report on fNIRI hyperscanning studies published so far and summarize opportunities and challenges for future studies.

Engaging Undergraduates in a Unique Neuroscience Research Opportunity: A Collaborative Research Experience Between a Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI) and a Major Research Institution

Kreitzer, Matthew A.; Malchow, Robert P.
Fonte: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Publicador: Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 15/10/2013 EN
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This report describes a unique undergraduate research and teaching collaboration between investigators at two institutions, one a relatively small, primarily undergraduate institution and the other a large, urban research-intensive university. The program incorporates three major facets. First, undergraduates participate in a weekly collaborative lab meeting involving instructors from both institutions and held via remote video. Student-led discussions and presentations dominate these meetings, and the unique format promotes novel interactions between students and instructors. Second, students carry out investigative studies centered on understanding the role extracellular pH dynamics play in regulating neuronal processing. Students carry out studies on isolated neurons and glia throughout the fall and spring semesters, and primarily use a noninvasive electrophysiological technique, termed self-referencing, for extracellular pH measurements. The technique is relatively simple and readily learned and employed by undergraduates, while still being powerful enough to provide novel and meaningful research results. The research component is expanded for several students each summer who are selected to participate in summer research with both PIs and graduate students at the major research institution. Finally results gathered during the year and over the summer are disseminated at institutional symposia...

A framework for streamlining research workflow in neuroscience and psychology

Kubilius, Jonas
Fonte: Frontiers Media S.A. Publicador: Frontiers Media S.A.
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em 17/01/2014 EN
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Successful accumulation of knowledge is critically dependent on the ability to verify and replicate every part of scientific conduct. However, such principles are difficult to enact when researchers continue to resort on ad-hoc workflows and with poorly maintained code base. In this paper I examine the needs of neuroscience and psychology community, and introduce psychopy_ext, a unifying framework that seamlessly integrates popular experiment building, analysis and manuscript preparation tools by choosing reasonable defaults and implementing relatively rigid patterns of workflow. This structure allows for automation of multiple tasks, such as generated user interfaces, unit testing, control analyses of stimuli, single-command access to descriptive statistics, and publication quality plotting. Taken together, psychopy_ext opens an exciting possibility for a faster, more robust code development and collaboration for researchers.