BSc Neuroscience / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
How to Make a Brain

Unit code BIOL21451
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Initial lectures will cover comparative anatomy of nervous systems in model organisms before focussing on the human. The ascending (spinothalamic) and descending (corticospinal) pathways will be explained before moving on to anatomy of the brain. This will lead on to lectures that provide a step-by-step explanation as to how these structures are constructed from neural induction through to the formation of functional circuits. Later lectures will cover the importance of plasticity in relation to early sensory experience and the role of stress in epigenetic shaping of post-natal brain.

 

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Excitable Cells: the Foundations of Neuroscience BIOL10832 Pre-Requisite Compulsory

Aims

The unit aims to: teach students about basic neuroanatomy in model organisms and humans. The majority of lectures will focus on how the anatomy of the nervous system is established during development and will include the latest knowledge on neural stem cells and how they might be used to help fix the brain when it is broken. The unit will also explain the relationship between the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems and the many roles that astrocytes play in helping to maintain a healthy brain.

 

Learning outcomes

 

Category of outcome

Students should/will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Explain the main anatomical divisions of the brain.
  • Understand how different regions of the brain are formed.
  • Explain the main mechanisms that shape brain development.
  • Describe the main steps involved in generating a functional human brain from initial induction through to the generation of functional circuits.
  • Explain the role of glial cells in brain function and maintenance.
  • Appreciate the role of stem cells during brain development and in brain research and therapy.
  • Explain the role of perinatal environmental stimuli in shaping the developing brain.

 

 

Intellectual skills

The study of brain development led to the discovery of many of the basic cellular mechanisms known to operate throughout the body. This unit will therefore provide students with knowledge of key mechanisms that have wider application throughout biology and beyond. They should therefore be able to apply knowledge from this unit to other biological systems.

 

Practical skills

N/A

 

 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Components of this unit are designed to test the student’s ability to quickly locate information (both alone and in groups) and participate in group discussions to formulate a consensus opinion. Students will therefore gain confidence in using evidence to support self-constructed arguments: skills that are essential in any job setting.

 

Teaching and learning methods

Most of the learning will be in the form of lectures that follow a linear-learning model. However, three sessions will adopt a different approach. In session 5, a brief introduction will lead to a group-based exercise where students use active learning to complete a summary diagram related to brain development. Session 9 will be a flip-session where students come prepared for a class discussion on neurogenesis. Session 12 is the mid-point of the unit, so this will focus on an interactive quiz to enable students to gauge their progress. Students will also have access to four tests that come online after lectures 5, 10, 15 and 20. Each test will contain short answer and short note questions that reflect the exam format and give instant feedback. These tests will remain open through to the exam for students to re-assess and consolidate their knowledge of the material.

 

 

Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to: 

-          Explain the main anatomical divisions of the brain.

-          Understand how the different regions of the brain develop.

-          Explain the main mechanisms that shape the brain.

-          Describe the main steps involved in generating a functional human brain from initial induction through to the        generation of functional circuits.

-          Explain the role of glial cells in brain function and maintenance.

-          Appreciate the role of stem cells during brain development and in brain research and therapy.

-          Explain the role of perinatal environmental stimuli in shaping the developing brain.

 

Intellectual skills

The study of brain development led to the discovery of many of the basic cellular mechanisms that are now known to operate throughout the body. This unit will therefore provide students with knowledge of mechanisms that have wider application throughout biology and beyond. They should therefore be able to apply knowledge from this unit to other biological systems.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Components of this unit are designed to test a student’s ability to locate information and participate in group discussion to formulate a consensus opinion. Students will therefore gain confidence in using evidence to support self-directed learning.

 

Assessment methods

 

Assessment task

Length

How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)

 

1) Online Formative Tests

    i) Test 1 (Lectures 1-5)

   ii) Test 2 (Lectures 6-10)

  iii) Test 3 (Lectures 11-15)

  iv) Test 4 (Lectures 16-20)

 

2) End of Semester Examination

        i) section A – MCQs

       ii) section B – SNQs

 

 

L05 to exam

L10 to exam

L15 to exam

L20 to exam

 

 

 

 

 

1hr - 40 questions

1hr - 5 questions 

Each test will consist of 20 MCQs and 2 SAQs.

Feedback will be via BB.

Once open, each assessment will remain open to provide formative feedback up until the exam. For SAQs this feedback will include a break-down of a typical mark scheme. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100%

  1. 50%
  2. 50%

 

Feedback methods

Feedback for the online tests is automated and will be provided immediately after completion of each test. The blackboard online discussion board will be used for specific questions so that all students and staff can view and comment on these. Alternatively, students can e-mail staff directly and the question will be transferred to the discussion board, anonymously, along with the answer. There will be a feedback session after the exam. The format of this session will be dependent on the current covid-19 sotuation.

 

Recommended reading

 

  1. Neuroscience Exploring the Brain – 3rd edition (2007) Bear, Conners and Paradiso (Eds), Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia
  2. Building Brains: An Introduction to Neural Development (2017) Price, Jarman, Mason and Kind (Eds), Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester

 

For Information and advice on Link2Lists reading list software, see:

http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/academicsupport/informationandadviceonlink2listsreadinglistsoftware/

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 78

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicholas Glossop Unit coordinator

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