JYG1555H - Advanced Topics: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

Course Coordinators:  L-Y Wang, M Salter

Description:
This course is jointly sponsored by the departments of Physiology, Medical Genetics & Pharmacology. Medical Genetics students taking JYG1555 are required to participate for an appropriately shorter period as required by their department and are evaluated accordingly.

Objectives:
To provide graduate students with a broad exposure to a range of research areas in molecular neurobiology. However, this course is not simply a general review. Students from various backgrounds in neurobiology will be exposed to a critical understanding of current research objectives in a number of major areas of study. For example, a student with expertise in ion channels will have the opportunity to explore areas of development and plasticity as well as be exposed to techniques in molecular biology and genetics within this context. Students need not have extensive background in all areas of neurobiology.

Format:
Three student presentations (30 mins plus 15-30 mins of discussion) based upon current research papers in selected areas for each class (2-2.5 hrs). Original papers and reviews will be used for student presentations and discussion. Active participation in discussions will be an absolute requirement. For each presentation, two student discussants in addition to the presenter will be assigned to review the paper and asked to come to class with prepared questions. .

Content:
This course will focus upon selected topics in molecular genetics and cellular neurobiology. Students will be expected to make presentations based upon appropriate literature listed by the teaching faculty. Participation in discussions will also be required. There will be no didactic lectures. Presentaiton topics will be chosen from the following topics:

  • Topic 1: Signaling in cells a=of the nervous systen (eg. molecular biology transmitter receptors and ion channels, second messenger regulation, signal transduction systems).
  • Topic 2: Development of Cells of the Nervous System (eg. cytoskeleton; genetics of neural development; nerve guidance and synapse formation; the ontogeny of neural cells; myelin).
  • Topic 3: Plasticity of the Nervous System (eg. long term potentiation; glutamate receptors; learning and memory).
  • Topic 4: Molecular Genetics of Neural Diseases (eg. Type II neurofibramatosis as a casestudy; Alzheimers, Huntingtons, MS, ALS).

Prerequisite:
None.

Evaluation:

  • Oral presentation: 40% - Each student is expected to present twice or three times, and each presentation will be assessed by all faculty members in the classroom.
  • Written reports: 40% - A written report (5-10 pages mini review) will also be required for each student presentation within a week after the presentation (estimated to be two or three reports in total for the entire course) and will be marked by the faculty who has directed that particular topic. This review should not only provide student's own critique but also incorporate the comments of discussion in the classroom following a presentation.
  • Participation in discussions: 20% - Student participation in discussions will be assessed on the basis of his/her roles as discussants and general contribution to the in-class discussions.

Recommended Text:
Molecular Neurobiology: Zach Hall, Sinauer Assoc.1992.

Remarks: 
This class requires minimum enrolment of 15, maximun enrolment of 20 students.

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