L&S Curricular Connections

L&S Discovery Courses

LS C30T / Neuroscience C62

Drugs and the Brain

Biological Science

Nowhere are the connections between chemistry, cell biology, physiology, psychology, sociology, public policy, and constitutional law more vividly illustrated than in understanding the effects of drugs on the human brain and human behavior. This L&S Discovery Course will deal with just that: the biology, chemistry, psychology, and sociology of psychoactive drugs. Such substances—which include stimulants, sedatives, psychedelics, analgesics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and others—have powerful effects on the human brain and on human behavior. The origins of drugs as components of plants that have enjoyed deep historical relationships with humankind will be emphasized. The necessary biological, chemical, and psychological background material for understanding the content of this course will be contained within the course itself.

David Presti faculty profile
David Presti (Neuroscience)

Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching

Terms Offered

  • Fall 2024
  • Fall 2022
  • Fall 2020
  • Fall 2019
  • Fall 2018
  • Fall 2017
  • Fall 2015
  • Fall 2014
  • Fall 2013
  • Fall 2012
  • Fall 2011
  • Fall 2010
  • Spring 2010
  • Fall 2008
  • Fall 2007
  • Fall 2006
  • Fall 2005
"Dr. Presti's passion for the material is infectious: I now regularly annoy my friends by outlining lecture points that I found interesting and pointing out Brugmansia trees I see around Berkeley. This class was consistently the highlight of my week: I think he has a true gift for teaching in an engaging and clear way. As a freshman, this class was a lovely introduction to Berkeley, and I am incredibly grateful for the learning experience he facilitated."
— Fall 2022 Student
“This was my favorite course at Berkeley. It had such interesting subject material! I loved the varied nature of the course and how it covered many different aspects of drugs and drug action in the brain from more science and mechanism-based concepts to social justice effects. It was highly engaging and made me think a lot!”
— Fall 2022 Student
“Professor Presti is amazing at teaching with passion and drawing personal connections to the content. He makes me excited to learn because it is clear that he believes the subject is extremely important. His use of personal photographs and anecdotes make me feel like I am learning from somebody who is particularly involved in the field!”
— Fall 2022 Student