Mark your calendar, Spring '20 Splash will be on March 8, 2020!


Splash Biography



VANESSA TRAVIESO, ESP Teacher




Major: Integrative Biology

College/Employer: UC Berkeley

Year of Graduation: 2019

Picture of Vanessa Travieso

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Not Available.



Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

S560: Drugs & The Brain in Splash Spring 19 (Mar. 16, 2019)
Psychoactive drugs – stimulants, sedatives, psychedelics, analgesics, antidepressant and antipsychotic pharmaceuticals, and others – powerfully impact the human brain and mind. Understanding these substances and their effects vividly illustrates connections between botany, chemistry, cell biology, physiology, psychology, sociology, public policy, and constitutional law. This class will explore this territory, emphasizing the complex nature of drugs as both medicines and poisons emanating from plants and fungi that have enjoyed deep historical relationships with humankind.


S400: Drugs & the Brain in Splash Fall 18 (Nov. 04, 2018)
Psychoactive drugs – stimulants, sedatives, psychedelics, analgesics, antidepressant and antipsychotic pharmaceuticals, and others – powerfully impact the human brain and mind. Understanding these substances and their effects vividly illustrates connections between botany, chemistry, cell biology, physiology, psychology, sociology, public policy, and constitutional law. This class will explore this territory, emphasizing the complex nature of drugs as both medicines and poisons emanating from plants and fungi that have enjoyed deep historical relationships with humankind.


S318: Drugs and the Brain in Splash Spring 18 (Mar. 04, 2018)
In this course, we investigate how psychoactive substances work in the brain, at the receptor and neurotransmitter level, then follow from this foundation to teach about the effects, dangers, and health risks associated with each one of the most common drugs in modern society (as well as some less common ones), especially those that have become more popular with young people today. A. Introduction: 1. What is a drug? 2. Discuss LD50's and therapeutic indices B. Neurobiology foundation 1. Explain the lock-and-key model of receptors 2. Discuss endogenous neurotransmitters (ex. dopamine, GABA, etc.) and their respective receptors and functions 3. Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic nervous system 4. Different types of agonism (partial, reverse, full, and antagonism) C. Specific drug classes 1. Alcohol, cannabis, caffeine, tobacco, hallucinogens, stimulants, opioids 2. For each class, discuss their specific: a. Neuro-/cardio-/hepatotoxicity risks, among others b. Mental/neurological dangers from both acute and chronic use c. Mechanisms of action and routes of administrations D. Q&A Basic knowledge of neurobiology might make section B easier to digest, but is definitely not required. The course is designed to be completely accessible to someone with no background in chemistry or biology.