Advanced Neuroscience

Module summary

Module code: ANAT1099
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Medway School of Pharmacy
Module Coordinator(s): Alistair Mathie



The aim of this module is to give students a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of current problems and new insights in neuroscience. The module will cover the impact of new research on our understanding of the physiology and pharmacology of the nervous system and diseases of the nervous system. The emphasis of this module will be how science is translated into therapy; past, present and future. The indicative content will include: (a) Molecular Pharmacology: ion channels and drug targets; (b) Cellular Neuroscience: neuronal excitability; (c) Cellular Physiology: neurons to behaviour (biological rhythms); (d) Modern Medicine: drug therapy in psychiatry.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:
an ability to professionally evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in key areas of neuroscience

a comprehensive understanding of the concepts that underpin the drug development cascade and evaluate how these complex issues combine in the development of novel/alternative therapeutics affecting the nervous system
a systematic understanding of new developments in the therapy of important disease states and evaluate how these methodologies may be translated into the clinical environment

an ability to critically appraise experimental strategies

the ability to plan and formulate accurate and concise communications to convey principles of scientific theories and ideas using a range of media

Indicative content

Molecular Pharmacology: Ion Channels as Drug Targets
Review of the structure and function of ion channels
Mutagenesis, molecular modelling and electrophysiology: Methods to study ligand-gated ion channels
Biophysical studies of 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors: The impact of Cys-loop receptor structure on
Neurosteroid action at GABAA receptors: In vitro and in vivo studies

Cellular Neuroscience: Neuronal Excitability
The diversity and importance of ion channels in the nervous system
Voltage-gated ion channels - structure and function
Ion channels in health and disease
Excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission
Quantal transmission at synapses
Regulation of intracellular calcium concentration
Synaptic plasticity, long term potentiation (LTP) and memory

Cellular Physiology: Neurons to Behaviour (Biological rhythms)
Introduction to the mammalian circadian rhythm
Anatomy and neurochemical regulation found within the mammalian biological clock
The role of melanopsin, a novel photopigment, in mediating photic information to the circadian clock
An understanding of advanced molecular mechanisms essential for circadian clock function
New insights in the recent discovery of peripheral clocks and the mechanisms involved in their synchronisation with the master pacemaker
Current advances in the discovery and treatment of circadian related disorders; focusing on chrono-therapy and pharmaceutical interventions

Modern Medicine: Drug Therapy in Psychiatry
Drug Therapy in Psychiatry
Present an overview of the criteria employed by the pharmaceutical industry in selecting, testing and exploiting suitable novel drug targets
Detail the integral stages involved in the flow-chart approach necessary in developing any new drug; i.e.: proof of concept work, application of appropriate disease models, drug screening, lead optimisation and final drug development
Give an overview of which novel drugs are currently emerging in the sub-categories of antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and age associated cognitive decline. Drugs which are currently undergoing clinical trials, and which are likely to emerge into the clinic

Teaching and learning activity

The module comprises approximately 30 scheduled lecture hours and 30 tutorial and workshop hours. Total study hours are 150; the remaining 90 hours being made up of self-directed e-learning tasks (including forums) and self-directed learning.


Critical Appraisal of recent key publication
Grading Mode Numeric
Weighting % 40%
Pass Mark 50%
Word Length 2000
LOs - 1,4,5

Written examination
Grading Mode - Numeric
Weighting % 60%
Pass Mark - 50%
LOs - 2,3