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The University of Southampton

BIOL2014 Neuroscience

Module Overview

This module conveys the concept of neuroscience as an integrative discipline by providing a description of mammalian brain function from molecular aspects of synaptic signalling to higher cognitive function that regulates behaviour.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the process of mammalian brain development and the formation of neural circuits and synapse formation
  • Describe molecular aspects of synaptic function
  • Describe functioning of excitatory and inhibitory neurones, synaptic potentials, integration of synaptic information, and action potential coding
  • Be able to analyse quantitative aspects of neural function, including the use of the Nernst equation to calculate reversal potentials and to predict the effects of changes in membrane permeability on neuronal excitability.
  • Describe the hierarchy of neuronal circuitry involved in the motor and sensory systems, from cortex to periphery and the principles of information integration in the mammalian central nervous system at the cellular level, including the role of spinal reflexes and the cerebellum in control of movement.
  • Describe the peripheral mechanisms of 'pain' detection - nociception- and the transfer of this information to the higher levels of the CNS via processing in the spinal cord.
  • Describe the specialised sense organs involved in hearing, taste and smell at a cellular level and the processing of sensory information in the CNS.
  • Describe the structure of the eye at a cellular level, the process of photo transduction, retinal function, transmission of visual information to the cortex and visual processing within the CNS.
  • Describe the concepts of the higher functions of the brain and their spatial localisation, drawing data from physiological and disease states.


- Introduction and review of basic neurophysiology - Brain development - Molecular aspects of synaptic function - Synaptic integration and plasticity - Systems neuroscience: Sensory/Motor systems, spinal reflexes and control of movement; touch and pain; hearing; chemo sensation; vision and visual processing - Integrative neuroscience, molecular through to systems aspects of neurological disorders utilising vision, visual processing and perception as a particular example

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, lab based practicals, e-resources and workshops

Practical classes and workshops12
Independent Study113
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Purves, Augustine et al. (eds.). Neuroscience. 




MethodPercentage contribution
Class practicals 20%
Examination  (2 hours) 60%
Library project 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 20%
Examination  (2 hours) 60%
Library project 20%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: (BIOL1011 or BIOL1012) and (BIOL1013 or BIOL1014) and (BIOL1008 or BIOL1022) and (CHEM1039 or CHEM1012 or A Level Chemistry)

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