Summer Abroad Romania - Instructor

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Neurobiology in Romania

This unique Summer Abroad program will be taught by faculty members from UC Davis and the University of Bucharest. 


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Dr. Earl Carstens (Instructor and Faculty of Record, UC Davis)

Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior

The UC Davis instructor of record, Prof. Earl Carstens, is a senior professor and neuroscientist.  He has taught introductory neuroscience courses at UC Davis for many years and enjoys the challenges of this constantly progressing field. Prof. Carstens is interested in the somatic senses, and particularly itch, temperature and pain perception. His lab is currently investigating how the brain can modulate the transmission of neural itch and pain signals with the goal of identifying targets to develop treatments that relieve chronic itch and pain. Department website.

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Dr. Alexandru Babes (Course Instructor, University of Bucharest)

Department of Anatomy, Animal Biology, Animal Physiology and Biophysics

Dr. Alexandru Babes graduated from the University of Bucharest with a BS in Biophysics, MS in Neurobiology, and a PhD in Biology. He has been teaching undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Bucharest for the last 22 years.  He teaches practical sessions in Physics, Biophysics and Animal Physiology, Physics for Life Sciences and Neurosciences, an Ion Channel Course for the MSc program in Neurobiology, and a Human Physiology course. In 2005, he became a group leader at the University of Bucharest within the Department of Physiology and Biophysics.  He was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral fellowship in 2006, allowing him to work for 1 year in collaboration with Prof. Peter Reeh at the Institute for Physiology in Erlangen, Germany.  His current research interests focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying painful photosensitivity.

A Message to Students and Parents

"I love to travel with my wife, who is originally Romanian, and we have visited Romania many times. Romania is a beautiful country and the Romanians are famously friendly, hospitable and pro-US. We recently spent a sabbatical year (2014-15) in Bucharest where I worked at the University of Bucharest and greatly enjoyed both the scientific and the cultural experiences. The University is an eclectic combination of old and ultra-modern, where we used state-of-the-art techniques to study sensory biology in a in a brand-new lab building directly adjacent to an older lab building from the late 1800s. The biology curriculum is modern with excellent facilities for the study abroad course. Life in Bucharest is safe; there is a low crime rate.  Local public transportation is cheap and convenient. Food and lodging are also very affordable, representing a huge advantage for students to enjoy the culture and excellent local cuisine. We have traveled extensively throughout Romania and have prepared an excursion to visit many of the cultural highlights, including the Castle Bran which inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, Castle Peles, the painted monasteries of Moldavia, and the Merry Cemetery of Sapanta in Maramures, where the old traditions of country life are maintained. I believe that the study abroad course in Bucharest offers a unique opportunity for students to learn some neuroscience, while at the same time being exposed to Eastern Europe in a safe and friendly environment. Being in Bucharest affords numerous opportunities to visit the many cultural and natural treasures within Romania and throughout greater Europe that are easily accessible from Bucharest."