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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Sensory Physiology and Dysfunction (BIME10014)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis is a senior honours course which explores the development, function and pathophysiology of sensory systems. From the molecular basis of sensory transduction to systems level sensory integration, this course encompasses the wide range of sensory mechanisms that are essential in order to perceive and interact with our environment. To critically appreciate in detail the complexity of sensory systems we will focus on three main research themes; mechanosensation and hearing, pain and vestibular function.

The ┐mechanosensation┐ theme will introduce molecular mechanisms of mechanosensory transduction in hearing and proprioception in different model systems and explore current research approaches to investigate these mechanisms. We shall then concentrate on hearing by looking at the physiology of inner ear hair cells and their dysfunction in deafness, and then how basic research on the control of hair cell development might inform regenerative medicine strategies for therapeutic intervention to reverse deafness.

The ┐pain┐ theme will a) introduce the transduction apparatus and neural pathways that mediate pain; b) explore the plasticity that can occur within pain pathways that leads to debilitating chronic pain conditions and how these manifest in the clinic; c) discuss the challenges in translating basic pain research to the clinic and d) outline how this system develops and the consequences for somatosensation in the newborn.

The ┐vestibular┐ theme will discuss the organisation and function of hair cell mechanoreceptors in the vestibular system of the inner ear; their role in signalling head orientation and movement; the organisation of the brainstem networks that mediate vestibular reflexes, and the mechanisms of neuronal and synaptic plasticity which bring about recovery of function after damage to the inner ear (vestibular compensation).
Course description Contributors: Andrew Jarman, Mayank Dutia, Sutherland Maciver
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 24, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 5, Formative Assessment Hours 3, Summative Assessment Hours 4, Other Study Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) presentation preparation
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) In course assessment - Oral presentation 30%
Degree examination - 70%
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Sensory Physiology and Dysfunction1:30
Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course students should be able to:
- Understand molecular mechanisms of mechanosensation in hearing and proprioception.
- Understand how pain information is processed within the somatosensory nervous system and how this processing is disrupted in chronic pain conditions
- Understand how somatosensation develops in the newborn.
- Understand the mechanisms of vestibular function and the adaptive plasticity that promotes recovery from inner ear damage.
- Appreciate the challenges of translating basic research to the clinic
- Demonstrate the ability to examine in detail, critically appraise and orally present a selected research paper related to one of the main themes of the course
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsTransduction, sensory integration, plasticity, pain, somatosensation, vestibular, senses, hearing
Course organiserDr Carole Torsney
Tel: (0131 6)51 9881
Course secretaryMs Lisa Ketchion
Tel: (0131 6)51 1629
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