20308 Nerve Cells: Introduction to Neurobiology

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Life Sciences

Prerequisites: Students must fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Required: General Biology I, General Biology II, Cell Structure and Function (single-semester format or year-long format), Biochemistry I, General Chemistry1 (or General Chemistry I + General Chemistry II, for Biology Students; or General Chemistry I + General Chemistry II), Differential and Integral Calculus I

The course, based on chapters in From Neuron to Brain (4th ed.), by J.G. Nicholls, A. R. Martin, B.G. Wallace, and P.A. Fuchs (Sinauer, 2001), was developed by Simona Ginsburg and Revital Lavy. The course is offered in a year-long format.

The behavior of animals depends to a large extent on excitable tissues. The nerve cells in these tissues neurons maintain regular life activities, like all other cells. In addition, neurons perform the unique functions of sensing, processing and transmitting information. Information is relayed over long distances in the body, electrically, along the axons of individual neurons; between different neurons, transmission is carried out chemically. Processing and deciphering information is, for the most part, based on the organization of cells into complex but defined networks.

Chapters: (1) Principles of signaling and organization; (2) Ion channels and signaling; (3) Structure of ion channels; (4) Transport across cell membranes; (5) Ionic basis of the resting potential; (6) Ionic basis of the action potential; (7) Neurons as conductors of electricity; (8) Properties and functions of neuroglial cells; (9) Principles of direct synaptic transmission; (10) Indirect mechanisms of synaptic transmission; (11) Transmitter release; (12) Synaptic plasticity; (13) Cellular and molecular biochemistry of synaptic transmission; (14) Neurotransmitters in the central nervous system; (15) Cellular mechanisms of integration and behavior: From neurons to behavior and vice versa; (16) Autonomic nervous system; (17) Transduction of mechanical and chemical stimuli; (18) Processing of somatosensory and auditory signals; (19) Transduction and signaling in the retina; (20) Analysis of form in primary visual cortex; (21) Functional architecture of the visual cortex; (22) Cellular mechanisms of motor control.


1or General Chemistry (20477 or 20487), which is no longer offered.