BSc Pharmacology with Industrial/Professional Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Advanced Ion Transport (E)

Unit code BIOL31591
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Ion channels and transporters are crucial to cellular definition and function. This unit will explore how these proteins are studied, explain their structural diversity and illustrate their importance in electrically active and non-electrically active cells using specific physiological examples. You will develop transferable skills in evaluating published material and in information gathering whilst also gaining knowledge in how the architecture of ion channels and transporters enables control of discrete cellular functions.

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Excitable Cells BIOL10832 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Membrane Excitability: Ion Channels & Transporters in Action BIOL21321 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Any ONE of the following RSM units is strongly recommended:

  • BIOL 20922 Neuroscience RSM
  • BIOL 20932 Pharmacology RSM
  • BIOL 20942 Physiology RSM

Aims

Ion channels and transporters are ubiquitous membrane proteins that transport ions and other small molecules in cells. They are crucial to cellular definition and function. This unit will explore how these proteins are studied, explain their structural diversity and illustrate their importance in electrically active and non-electrically active cells, using specific physiological examples.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course it is expected students will

  • understand how ion channels and transporters are assembled into unique complexes to enable control of discrete cellular functions.
  • have developed transferable skills in evaluating published material and, information gathering.

Syllabus

  • Transporters and aquaporins: Structures, functions and regulation of acid-base transporters, solute transporters and aquaporins in physiological systems. Co-operative interactions of channels and transporters in epithelial ion transport.
  • Ion channel trafficking: Advanced principles of ion channel biosynthesis, assembly, trafficking, degradation and targeting/distribution, described using specific examples.
  • Voltage-gated ion channels: Basic structures of membrane potential sensitive channels exemplified by review of voltage-gated K+ and Ca2+ channels. Their roles in controlling neuronal, cardiovascular and endocrine cell function.
  • Ligand-gated ion channels: Review of ligand-gated channel families, their physiological roles and pharmacological regulation.
  • Ion channel integration and cell function: How channels work together to regulate cell function e.g. excitation-contraction coupling in muscle.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Critical evaluation of published material
Problem solving
Online problem solving and questions relating to lecture material
Research
Self-directed reading of additional materials, development of information gathering skills.
Written communication
Essay questions in exam

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 5%
Written exam 95%

2 hour Examination (95%),

Other - completion of online feedback questions (5%)

Feedback methods

  • Online problem solving and questions related to lecture material (5% of final mark).
  • Discussion Board (Unit Blackboard site).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 80

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elizabeth Fitzgerald Unit coordinator

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