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Advanced Topics in Neuroscience - BIO00070H

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sangeeta Chawla
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

Learning and memory are fundamental processes that are essential to organismal survival, and for higher organisms like humans these processes define who we are. This module will study and critique the scientific literature to understand the molecular, cellular and behavioural mechanisms that underpin normal learning and memory and those that drive the pathogenesis of neurological disorders.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The aim of this module is to explore the cutting edge of neuroscience research at the level of the synapse, neurons, circuits and behaviour. First, you will study how synaptic transmission is modified in learning and memory and how scientific techniques and methodologies have shaped our undertsanding of the mechanisms by which the brain encodes and stores memories. You will then learn about the genetic, cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying several cognitive and neurological disorders; and explore how new scientific research is challenging our current understanding of nervous system disorders. Moreover, your participation in journal club workshops throughout the year will allow you to analyse, interpret and critique neuroscience research. Together, these lectures and workshops will prepare you for the module assessment during which you will be examined on your comprehension and criticism of a research paper.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Explain the molecular, cellular and circuit basis of learning and memory.

Compare and contrast the ways in which synaptic transmission can be altered in learning and disease.

Evaluate how neuroscience methodologies and animal models have enhanced our understanding of learning and memory, and cognitive dysfunction.

Relate the molecular function of neuronal proteins to their role in synaptic plasticity and animal behaviour.

Evaluate the causal role of neuronal proteins in the pathogenesis of neurological and cognitive disorders.

Comprehend, criticise, design and communicate scientific studies into learning and memory and disease models.


Task Length % of module mark
Comprehension & Criticism
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Comprehension & Criticism
N/A 100

Module feedback

Marks for all summative assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Feedback will be either individual or cohort-level, depending on the assessment format. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

For exam-style summative assessment, model answers will be provided for all questions along with cohort-level feedback indicating how students answered questions in general. Marks achieved per question will be added to your script.

For coursework assessments (eg. reports or essays) you will receive individual feedback on your work. This will usually be in the form of a feedback sheet that will include suggestions for further improvement.

During the teaching of the module you will receive formative feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Such feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.