After successfully finishing this course you should be able to:
- Describe the compartments of a neuron. How would one create a calculator out of a neuron?
- Discuss the smallest computational unit in the brain? What a single neuron can and cannot do?
- Mechanistically explain how does a synapse work? How to generate electricity from molecular interactions. How the electrical signals integrate, sum and cancel out each other.
- Speculate on how to connect neurons? And shape their connectivity at will!
- Discuss ions, channels, and proteins in the brain? Have a three minute elevator talk on how table salt and potassium in banana allow neurones to communicate with each other?
- Explain fundamentals of brain plasticity? How to remedy phantom limb pain? How critical is the critical period of developmental plasticity.
- Link brain plasticity to learning and memory? Discuss if one can store artificial memories?
- Explain, based on neuronal data, how to discriminate a pen from a pencil when ones eyes shut? Neurobiology of touch, vision, audition, olfaction and gustatory sensing
- Explain the cellular, structural, synaptic, network and functional organisation of the brain from a biological perspective.
- Critically discuss the neurobiology of a cell/sensory receptor, independent from its location in the peripheral or central nervous system.
The students have enough background to read, understand and critique majority of the neurobiology, sensory biology, circuit biology literature based on experimental methods commonly applied in modern neurobiology.
|The course focuses on the fundamentals of neurobiology with a particular interest in synaptic, cellular and circuit level organisation of the nervous system to help understand how behavioural function is generated from these elementary levels of the brain organisation.
The course includes four distinct but complementary modules:
- Classroom lectures are given in the traditional format and aim to involve the students in the learning process actively.
- As Neurobiology is a vast and a fast-moving field, being able to read the primary literature is a crucial component of lifelong learning. Therefore we prepared a critical reading and reading comprehension (CRRC) module that aims to help you gain experience in reading primary research articles and writing an Abstract (or also known as the Summary section of the manuscript). For this module module, you are expected to write an abstract for a research paper already published in a peer-reviewed journal or available as a preprint on archive servers (e.g. arxiv, bioarxiv).
- Paper presentations will help you use the knowledge you have acquired in the classroom in a more advanced context. As a part of a small team that consists of ~6 students, you will study a research article and present it in the class.
- Computer practicals will help you implement concepts and knowledge you learn in the classroom and experiment with model neurons and networks. The simulation environment that we will deploy is the NEURONIFY, a cross platform freeware.