PSL1050H - Advanced Topics: The Hippocampus from Cell to Behaviour

Course Coordinators:

Z. Jia and J. Taxidis


Some of the most important advances in neuroscience have resulted from the study of the brain structure known as the hippocampus.  This brain region is critical for navigation and for learning and memory.  It is the brain region where Place Cells were discovered by Dostrovsky and O’Keefe and where long-term potentiation (LTP) was discovered by Bliss and Lomo.  This course will provide an introduction to the physiology of the hippocampus via a multidisciplinary approach that spans molecules and cells through to systems and behaviour.  Multiple ways of studying the hippocampus will be explored, including electrophysiology, molecular biology, imaging and behaviour.  A major focus will be on learning and memory processes and the underlying synaptic and neuronal mechanisms.  The first part of the course will cover LTP and long-term depression (LTD), since these are considered the most important forms of synaptic plasticity that are necessary for normal learning and memory.  This section will focus on glutamatergic synaptic transmission and plasticity.  The second part of the course will focus on the neural correlates of learning and memory (engram cells) as well as spatial navigation (place cells).  The course mainly consists of student presentations of recently published papers within these areas. 


Individual Presentation - 30%.  Each student will present one research paper.
Written Presentation – 20%. The presenter will produce a succinct (Nature News and Views Style) critique of the paper they have presented to class.
Written Presentation - 30%. Students will prepare News and Views style critiques of a paper (15% each). Each student receives two assignments.
Class participation – 10%. Students will be assigned papers for questions and required to participate in discussions (Two students per paper).
Attendance - 10% (1% per class attended).


Some neuroscience background is beneficial.


Course Enrollment is limited to 18 students. Graduate students are invited to enroll in this course on ROSI; final registration approval will be made by the course coordinator.  All students will be notified of their registration status by the Physiology Graduate Office.

Other Teaching Faculty: