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The University of Southampton

BIOL6080 Synaptic Function in Health and Disease

Module Overview

This module provides an understanding of synaptic function in health and disease from the molecular to the neuronal circuit level. The module will be based around analysing key principles of neuronal communication with emphasis on experimental analyses and discussion of seminal primary research papers that have shaped our understanding of synaptic function and synaptic integration in health and disease.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the properties of neurons and synapses.
  • Give specific examples of synaptic specialisations in the mammalian brain.
  • Explain the experimental methods to analyse synapses from the molecular to the circuits level.
  • Identify molecular pathways associated with normal synaptic function and neurological disease.
  • Discuss and summarise data presented in primary research papers.
  • Design experiments to address synaptic function in an experimental model.


- Biological basis of neural function. - Pre and postsynaptic components. - Synaptic specialisations in the mammalian brain. - Synaptic integration: - Synaptic plasticity: from cells to circuits and cognition. - Synaptopathies. - Primary literature: scientific arguments and how to read a research paper - Experimental design.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

- Lectures - Demonstrations - Workshops - Journal club presentations - Mini essays

Independent Study120
Total study time150





MethodPercentage contribution
Computer assisted assessment  (1 hours) 30%
Experiment 30%
Journal 15%
Written scientific abstract 25%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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