The University of Southampton
Courses

BIOL6034 Systems Neuroscience

Module Overview

This module seeks to expose students to research level studies in a number of areas related to the function of the nervous system, necessary to understand the pathophysiology of neurological conditions. The course will describe CNS development, and the structure and functions of neural cell populations; research into the mechanisms underlying learning & memory; and analyses of neural circuits controlling behaviour. Following this module, students will be expected to be able to integrate their understanding of cellular properties into coherent concepts of system level functions and be able to evaluate examples of current research in this field.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To expose students to research level studies in a number of areas related to the function of the nervous system, necessary to understand the pathophysiology of neurological conditions. The course will describe CNS development, and the structure and functions of neural cell populations; research into the mechanisms underlying learning & memory; and analyses of neural circuits controlling behaviour. Following this module, students will be expected to be able to integrate their understanding of cellular properties into coherent concepts of system level functions and be able to evaluate examples of current research in this field.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Outline the overall development and mature structure of the CNS;
  • Describe the structural and functional properties of the different neural cell types and their interactions and dependencies, including different classes of neurones, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia;
  • Describe the organisation and function of neural circuits underlying defined behaviours;
  • Describe the processes underlying the circadian rhythm of CNS activity;
  • Describe the molecular mechanisms underlying long term changes in synaptic function in learning and memory in mammals and other organisms;
  • Discuss the implications of a sample of current research in this field for our understanding of nervous system function.

Syllabus

• Nervous system development • Structure and function of neural cell populations • Learning and memory • Neural Control circuits • Circadian rhythms

Special Features

Students will attend scheduled seminars based around selected research papers, these seminars will be chaired by an academic. Students will be required to study the papers in detail beforehand and will be assigned papers to present to the group for discussion. Following the seminars the student will prepare their written critical evaluation of an assigned paper and submit it via Turnitin. In the final seminar session the student will make a formal presentation of their evaluation to a peer group and academic assessor. Students are also encouraged to enter into informal discussions with teaching staff.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal lectures, research paper seminars and independent study of selected reference materials

TypeHours
Independent Study122
Lecture24
Seminar4
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Literature review with presentation  (2000 words) 35%
Written exam  (2 hours) 65%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Literature review with presentation 35%
Written exam  (2 hours) 65%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: BIOL2014 or MEDI2046. Resources: Organisational, lecture and background materials will be provided through the course pages on Blackboard.

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