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Unit information: Neurological and Psychiatric disorders (Unit 4D) in 2020/21

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Unit name Neurological and Psychiatric disorders (Unit 4D)
Unit code PHPH30013
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Molnar
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


Students will study critical current topics relevant to key neurological and psychiatric disorders. The unit aims to explore and compare different forms of disorders from the molecular to the system level and to identify aspects of the pathophysiology that could form the basis for new clinical treatments. The unit will provide an overview of a wide range on neurological and psychiatric disorders and where research is now headed in the search for answers and better treatment strategies. The seminars will focus on:
• Neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. motor neuron disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other dementias)
• Demyelinating disorders (e.g. multiple sclerosis, periventricular leukomalacia)
• Pathophysiology of epilepsy, stroke, depression and schizophrenia
• Discovering new therapies for neurological and psychiatric disorders

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • Gain understanding of key neurological and psychiatric disorders and where research is headed in the search for answers;
  • Appreciate how various neurotransmitters and their receptors are involved in pathological changes;
  • Discuss the applications and limitations of animal models of disease used for drug discovery and for the better understanding of various human pathological conditions
  • Understand the process which can lead to the identification and validation of a potential new drug target
  • Appreciate methodologies and procedures employed to discover novel drug molecules for clinical use
  • Develop an ability to keep up-to-date with recent developments in the field, gather information from the primary scientific literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories
  • Develop an understanding of the experimental approaches used to study neurological and psychiatric disorders in human patients and in animal models.

Teaching details


Assessment Details

Timed assessment 90%

The unit will be assessed through a timed assessment in May/June, which contributes 90% of the unit mark and consists of two sections. In Section A (50%), students will be expected to answer one essay question from a choice of 3, which will assess their knowledge and critical understanding of the field, and their ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature. In Section B (50%), students will be expected to answer one multi-part compulsory question assessing data handling/data interpretation and experimental design skills.

Coursework 10%

The coursework will be either an essay, data interpretation or experimental design question of a similar format to that used in the timed assessment.

Reading and References

Reviews and key references from the current scientific literature