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Unit information: Synaptic Cell Biology in 2021/22

Unit name Synaptic Cell Biology
Unit code PHPH30022
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
Pre-requisites

None.

Co-requisites

None.

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

Description

This Unit will concentrate on molecular and cell biological research approaches to neuroscience, and how this has contributed to important advances in the field. The topics covered will focus on cell signalling mechanisms in the central nervous system (CNS). These processes will be studied in the contexts of synaptic plasticity and neurological disorders. The unit aims to develop an understanding of molecular and cellular events involved in dynamic regulation of information transfer in the CNS:
• classification, structure, function and regulation of neurotransmitter receptors
• glutamate receptor trafficking, with a focus on receptor subunit assembly, phosphorylation/de-phosphorylation and interacting regulatory proteins
• structural plasticity of synapses
• genetic aspects of synaptic function.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • An in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of selected aspects of neuronal molecular cell biology, with an ability to keep up-to-date with recent developments in the field.
  • The ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories.
  • An understanding of the experimental tools used to study synaptic plasticity at the molecular cell biology level.

Teaching details

Seminars

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.

Resources

If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHPH30022).

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