SHUA11015U  Neuronal Signaling

Volume 2013/2014
Education
MSc Programme in Human Biology
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 analyse neuronal function at different levels of organization.

Learning Outcome

At the end of the course, the student should be able to demonstrate understanding of:

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 of proteins
  • Demonstration of mRNA and proteins in neurons and glia cells.

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 strenght and implications for learning.

The use of animal models to study normal and pathological neuronal signaling

  • Small genetic model systems
  • Mammalian genetic models
  • Models based on other principles (e.g. lesioning of specific brain areas)
  • Possibilities and limitations in modeling human neurological and psychiatric disease

Layout and Function of the monoaminergic systems

  • Anatomy of the dopaminergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic systems
  • 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 micro-, mesoscale-circuits and systems

  • Principles of sensory processing and motor control.
  • Circuit design by synaptic properties, intrinsic neuronal membrane properties and connections, 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
  • Principles of macro-structural cortical organization with an emphasis on the visual system.
  • Brain mechanisms of emotion, memory and attention Brain Plasticity
  • Brain Plasticity
A completed Bachelor degree within the Biomedical and Natural Sciences
Lectures, article discussions, and laboratory exercises.
Credit
5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes
Oral exam based on a primary research article, which is send to the student by email at least 48 h prior to the exam, together with 3 guiding questions. The student prepares a 10-minute presentation. The presentation is followed by questions/discussion. The examination uses the presentation and the associated course objectives as a starting point, but questions will be asked within all subject areas of the course.
Exam registration requirements
Course attestation attained by participation in article discussions and exercises, including approved presentation of an article.
Aid
Only certain aids allowed

None, except for the necessary presentation aid (for instance labtop computer, overheads).

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examiner
Exam period
Week 4, 2014
Criteria for exam assesment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12 the student shall be able to satisfactory analyze primary research literature on the basis of an understanding of:

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 of proteins
  • Demonstration of mRNA and proteins in neurons and glia cells.

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 strenght and implications for learning.

The use of animal models to study normal and pathological neuronal signaling

  • Small genetic model systems
  • Mammalian genetic models
  • Models based on other principles (e.g. lesioning of specific brain areas)
  • Possibilities and limitations in modeling human neurological and psychiatric disease

Layout and Function of the monoaminergic systems

  • Anatomy of the dopaminergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic systems
  • 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 micro-, mesoscale-circuits and systems

  • Principles of sensory processing and motor control.
  • Circuit design by synaptic properties, intrinsic neuronal membrane properties and connections, 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
  • Principles of macro-structural cortical organization with an emphasis on the visual system.
  • Brain mechanisms of emotion, memory and attention Brain Plasticity
  • Brain Plasticity
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 22
  • Class Instruction
  • 13
  • Practical exercises
  • 9
  • Preparation
  • 93
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 138