University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Sensory Physiology and Dysfunction (BIME10014)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery 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.
Course description Our aim is to detail the complexity of sensory systems by focussing on four main research themes; vision, vestibular function, mechanosensation and pain.

The 'vision' theme will detail the anatomy and physiology of the visual system in mammals. The neuronal circuits that process visual information in the primary visual cortex will be introduced and recent scientific advances enabled by new imaging and genetic tools will be highlighted. Experience-dependent plasticity of neurons in the primary visual cortex will also be described.
The ┐vestibular┐ theme will detail the organisation and function of hair cell mechanoreceptors in the vestibular system of the inner ear; 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).

The ┐mechanosensation┐ theme, will introduce molecular mechanisms of mechanosensory transduction in hearing and proprioception. It will focus on hearing by looking at the physiology of inner ear hair cells and their dysfunction in deafness, and how basic research is informing regenerative medicine strategies for therapeutic intervention to reverse deafness.

The ┐pain┐ theme will introduce the transduction apparatus and neural pathways that mediate pain, explore the plasticity that can occur within pain pathways that leads to debilitating chronic pain conditions and how these manifest in patients in the clinic.
This course will comprise a combination of lectures (basic background & detailed lectures on the main themes), student led sessions (reviewing background material for the main themes) and student led oral paper presentations (research papers related to the main themes).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 24, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 4, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Formative Assessment Hours 4, Summative Assessment Hours 6, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 70 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) In course assessment - Oral presentation 30%
Degree examination - 70%
Feedback Feedback will be available throughout the course in many forms:
- Formative assessment - Feedback from the paper presentation sessions (wk3) to facilitate preparation for the ICA paper presentations in wk 9.
- Feedback from lecturers on ICA paper presentations is timetabled for wk 10
- Feedback from the exam will be made available - will be arranged by the course administrator
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Sensory Physiology and Dysfunction1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand how visual information is processed within neural circuits in the brain and how experience can induce plasticity within this circuitry
  2. Understand the mechanisms of vestibular function and the adaptive plasticity that promotes recovery from inner ear damage.
  3. Understand the developmental, cellular, and molecular basis of mechanosensation in hearing and proprioception
  4. Understand how pain information is processed within the somatosensory nervous system and how this processing is disrupted in chronic pain conditions
  5. 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
Specific reference lists and suggested readings will be provided for each of the lectures.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Carole Torsney
Tel: (0131 6)51 9881
Course secretaryMs Sarah Larios
Tel: (0131 6)51 1514
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2016 The University of Edinburgh - 3 February 2017 3:25 am