Miranda Karson, PhD

Lab Manager
UC Box 
Douglas C. Strain Science Center 211 (Forest Grove)
Areas I Teach 

Course Information

Below I have listed some of the courses that I teach. We are always developing and trying out new classes, so the list may change now and then.

Biology 200L | Intro Bio:  Flow of Energy Lab

Biology 201L | Intro Bio:  Flow of Info Lab


B.A. in Biology,  Earlham College, Richmond, IN. in 1997

M.S. in Zoology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. in 2000

Ph.D. in Zoology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. in 2003

Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Research Associate, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore MD, 2003-2012.

Teaching Philosophy

My goal is to help students develop into scientifically literate, critical thinkers that will pull from their educational experiences to transform communities around them in positive and meaningful ways. I have been strongly influenced by the Vision and Changein Undergraduate Biology Education (http://visionandchange.org/) which specifically focuses on student-centered classrooms that are interactive, inquiry driven, cooperative, and collaborative. Classroom activities focus on making connections between the biology being learned and students’ lives.  I am passionate about making biology accessible and engaging to students of all levels.


Nagode DA, Tang AH, Karson MA, Klugmann M, Alger BE. 2011. Optogenetic release of ACh induces rhythmic bursts of perisomatic IPSCs in hippocampus.  PLoS One, 6(11):e27691.

Tang AH, Karson MA, Nagode DA, McIntosh JM, Uebele VN, Renger JJ, Klugmann M, Milner TA, Alger BE. 2011. Nerve terminal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors initiate quantal GABA release from perisomatic interneurons by activating axonal T-type (Cav3) Ca²⁺ channels and Ca²⁺ release from stores.  Journal of Neuroscience, 31:13546-61.

Karson MA, Tang AH, Milner TA, Alger BE. 2009. Synaptic cross talk between perisomatic-targeting interneuron classes expressing cholecystokinin and parvalbumin in hippocampus.  Journal of Neuroscience, 29:4140-54.

Karson MA, Whittington KC, Alger BE.  2008.  Cholecystokinin inhibits endocannabinoid-sensitive hippocampal IPSPs and stimulates others.  Neuropharmacology. 54:117-28.

Hvorecny LM, Grudowski JL, Blakeslee CJ, Simmons TL, Roy PR, Brooks JA, Hanner RM, Beigel ME, Karson MA, Nichols RH, Holm JB, Boal JG.  2007.  Octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides) and cuttlefishes (Sepia pharaonis, S. officinalis) can conditionally discriminate.  Animal Cognition, 10:449-459.

Reich CG, Karson MA, Karnup SV, Jones LM, Alger BE.  2005.  Regulation of IPSP theta rhythm by muscarinic receptors and endocannabinoids in hippocampus.  Journal of Neurophysiology, 94:4290-9.

Karson MA, Jean GB, Hanlon RT.  2003.  Experimental evidence for spatial learning in cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis).  Journal of Comparative Psychology, 117:149-55.