SHUA13015U  Neuronal Signaling

Volume 2017/2018
Education

MSc Programme in Human Biology - elective

Content

To give students an understanding of the function and complexity of normal and pathological signaling in the nervous system, and an overview of the main methods used to analyze neuronal function at different levels of organization. In particular, the focus will be on:

The morphology and functions of neurons and glia cells

  • The techniques for mapping neuronal connections and networks
  • Neuronal transcriptional and translation activity, and axonal transport ofproteins

 

The passive and active electrical properties of neurons

  • The origin of the resting membrane potential
  • The molecular and electrical basis for the action potential

 

The properties of synaptic transmission and plasticity

  • Transmission at the chemical and electrical synapse
  • The basis for excitation and inhibition, and their interaction
  • Short-term synaptic plasticity: facilitation and depression
  • Long-term changes in synaptic strength and implications for learning (Long-Term Potentiation, Spike-Timing Dependent Plasticity)

 

The genetics of human brain disease

  • Familial aggregation studies, Twin studies.
  • Heritability, concordance, mapping studies.

 

Layout and Function of the monoaminergic systems

  • Anatomy of the dopaminergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic systems
  • Basal ganglia; Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease.
  • What does dopamine signal: hedonia, learning, and incentive salience?
  • Molecular composition of dopaminergic signalling
  • Drugs of abuse: mechanisms of action
  • Serotonine and motor control, mood disorders etc.

 

The physiology of neuronal circuits and systems

  • Principles of sensory processing and motor control.
  • Circuit design by synaptic properties, intrinsic neuronal membrane properties andconnections, examplified by, e.g., CPGs and cortical circuits.
  • methods for behavioral and physiological analysis of small circuits and brains, e.g. optical recordings, optogenetics, EEG, connectomics, genetics.
  • Physiological analysis of integrated behavior such as: active sensing; motor planning and execution; navigation; ensemble behavior of neurons, neuronal synchronization and rhythmicity.

 

The higher cortical functions

  • Techniques for assessing higher cognitive processes: NMR, PET, fMRI.
  • Principles of macro-structural cortical organization with an emphasis on the visual system.
  • Brain mechanisms of emotion, memory and attention
  • Brain Plasticity
Learning Outcome

After completing the course the student is expected to:

Knowledge

  • Describe contemporary experimental methods used to analyze the nervous system.
  • Demonstrate insight into the anatomy and function of the nervous system
  • Explain the different levels of organization of the nervous system and their characteristics.
  • Explain the normal and pathological signaling in the nervous system.

 

Skills

  • Analyze and discuss contemporary neuroscience literature
  • Argue for or against a particular choice of methods used to analyze a function in the nervous system.

 

Competencies

  • Evaluate new literature or methods within the context of contemporary neuroscience

Bears, Connors & Paradiso: Neuroscience. Exploring the brain. 4th ed.

A completed Bachelor degree within the Biomedical and Natural Sciences
Lectures, article discussions, and laboratory exercises.
Credit
5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Course participation
Other
Approval of the course requires participation in at least 80% of the teaching (all categories, lectures, seminars, exercises) and an approved presentation of a research article.

The presentation of a research article will be evaluated according to the following criteria: 1. Did the student demonstrate knowledge of the general field of study? 2. Did the student understand the methods used in the article? 3. Did the student adequately assess and discuss the results reached in the article? 4. Was the student able to convey the content of the article – and his/her knowledge, understanding, and assessment – to the audience?
Exam registration requirements

None

Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examiner
Exam period

Week 2

Criteria for exam assesment

To achieve a course certificate, the student must be able to:

Knowledge

  • Describe contemporary experimental methods used to analyze the nervous system.
  • Demonstrate insight into the anatomy and function of the nervous system
  • Explain the different levels of organization of the nervous system and their characteristics.
  • Explain the normal and pathological signaling in the nervous system.

 

Skills

  • Analyze and discuss contemporary neuroscience literature
  • Argue for or against a particular choice of methods used to analyze a function in the nervous system.

 

Competencies

  • Evaluate new literature or methods within the context of contemporary neuroscience
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 22
  • Class Instruction
  • 13
  • Practical exercises
  • 9
  • Preparation
  • 92
  • Total
  • 136