Undergraduate Course: Ion channels and electrical signalling in the brain: power cuts and disease (MSBM10017)
|School||School of Biomedical Sciences
||College||College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||Tarantulas, scorpions and the puffer fish all recognise the importance of the appropriate function of voltage-gated sodium channels for nervous system function. Tarantula-toxin, scorpion-toxin, and tetrodotoxin all bind with high affinity to voltage-gated sodium channels altering their function and resulting in life-threatening changes in neuronal activity. In a similar way, naturally-occurring mutations in the genes encoding for some voltage-gated ion channels have revealed important patho-physiological consequences of abnormal channel function.
The course will discuss at the molecular and cellular level our growing understanding of the function and modulation of voltage-gated ion channels; how, through changes in membrane potential, the generation and propagation of action potentials, and calcium ion entry, these channels allow electrically excitable cells to integrate and relay synaptically-transmitted information. Importantly, by analysing hypothesis-driven experimental approaches, the course will also examine how disruption of these intricate signalling processes can and does lead to human disease and how our expanding knowledge might help deliver on the potential of ion channels as targets for drug development.
The course will be delivered through a coordinated programme of lectures, tutorials, discussion groups and student-led problem solving sessions. Computer simulations and laboratory work will support the material and learning outcomes of other sessions.
Lectures will provide important core information on; methodologies used in the field; ion channel structure and function; ion channel modulation; channelopathies resulting from genetic mutation; drugs that target ion channels and their uses; the potential for future therapeutic development. All sessions will direct further reading in areas that will form the focus of student-led discussion groups later in the semester.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
|| Students MUST have passed:
Neuroscience with Pharmacology 2 (BIME08001)
||Other requirements|| Pharmacology 3 and Physiology 3 are strongly recommended.
|Additional Costs|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
| Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
Different models proposed to explain the relationship between molecular structure and function of voltage-gated ion channels
how different ion channels act in concert to define the profile of neuronal excitability
how changes in channel function (neuromodulation, toxin action, mutation) result in abnormal neuronal activity and disease states
how drugs interact with ion channels and the potential of these interactions for therapeutic benefit
Demonstrate an ability to:
discuss and critically evaluate the advantages and limitations of different methodologies that have expanded our knowledge of ion channel function
interpret and evaluate information in original articles and figures
draw together information from different approaches to identify the underlying mechanisms of a particular disorder
plan an experimental approach with an aim to characterising the mechanisms associated with toxin- or mutation-induced abnormal channel function.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Philip Larkman
Tel: (0131 6)50 3517
|Course secretary||Ms Lisa Ketchion
Tel: (0131 6)51 1629