This course is a collaboration between several different biological departments (Psychology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience, and Zoology) reflecting the pervasive reach and relevance of this field. It aims to provide a unified approach to the teaching of neurobiology at Part IB level.
The lecture course begins at the cellular and molecular level and proceeds to consider the major sensory and motor systems.
- electrical and chemical properties of individual neurons
- Visual System
- Auditory System (hearing)
- olfaction and taste
- somatosensation and pain
- The motor system
It then moves on to consider neuronal development and embryology. This includes the origin of neuronal types and neuronal architecture, and the way that connections between neurons develop and are regulated. The modulation of synaptic activity is then discussed, followed by motivation, emotion and the handling of language by the brain, at the end of the Lent term. Easter term lectures are devoted to learning, memory and higher functions of the nervous system including language.
- neuronal development
- neuronal architecture
- Synapses and LTP
- Higher Function/ Cognitive neuroscience – motivation, emotion, language
- Learning & Memory
|Part Ib NeuroBIOLOGY|
At the end of the course students should:
|Teaching and learning methods:These include lectures, practical classes and supervisions.Assessment for this course is through:
|Part II NeuroSCIENCE|
At the end of the course students should:
|Teaching and learning methods include lectures and associated seminars, supervisions, a research project and technical workshops.Assessment for this course is through:
A wide range of experimental techniques and approaches is explored in the practical classes which have proved educationally very useful and thoroughly enjoyable – including:
- neural activity in frog nerve and synapse
- cockroach sensory nerves
- computer simulation of neural activity
- neural development in zebrafish
- the genetic basis of neural function in the nematode C. elegans
- human sensory and motor function
- brain anatomy and histology
- brain imaging
- neuropsychological assessment.
One aim of the practical classes is to provide hands on experience of a variety of the experimental techniques that are used in modern neurobiology: from microscopy, through single-neuron recordings, to stimulation and extracellular recordings from your own nerves and muscles, and finally to psychophysical measurements of human sensory and cognitive performance.
Neurosciences are noted for the breadth of their theoretical base in diverse areas of modern biology and in the range of their medical and social applications. In particular, neuroscience draws its creativity from the integration of different levels of analysis that transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines and individual departments: from the molecular events taking place within cells, through the electrical and chemical interactions between cells in the nervous system, to the integrated behaviour of the whole organism. This course provides an integrated treatment of the neurosciences, and is built around lectures, workshops and a research project. The lectures are organised in eight modules of 24 lectures. Four modules – Developmental Neurobiology, Cellular Neuroscience, Control of Action, and Sensory Transduction – are given in the first term. The remaining four – Neural Degeneration and Regeneration, Central Mechanisms of Sensation and Behaviour, Local Circuits and Neural Networks, Memory and Higher Functions – are delivered in the second term. These modules are also taken by students taking Part II Physiology Development and Neuroscience. The technical workshops in the first term will provide practical experience of a wide choice of techniques used in modern neuroscience. In the second term each student will do an experimental project in the laboratory of an individual supervisor. To achieve its inter-disciplinary aim the course is interdepartmental, being organised jointly by the Departments of Physiology Development and Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology and Zoology, with each contributing equally to the integrated lecture modules, workshops and projects. Additional input from other Departments is included as appropriate. The examination will be based on four written papers, requiring answers from at least two first term lecture modules and two second term modules, a written analysis of a research paper, the research project report and a viva at the discretion of the examiners. The course is designed to be suitable for both Natural Sciences and Medical and Veterinary students and will provide a basis for future careers in research, and neuroscience-based disciplines such as the pharmaceutical industry and the emerging biotechnologies.