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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Undergraduate Course: Mechanisms of Brain Development 3 (BIME09005)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryMechanisms of Development of the Nervous System from neural tube formation to adulthood. Genetic regulation of neuronal differentiation: cell proliferation, cell death, cell migration, neurite extension, synaptogenesis. Activity-dependent regulation of gene expression, neural anatomy, physiology and behaviour. Conservation of mechanisms from invertebrates to mammals: techniques employed for studying neural development.
Course description Mechanisms of Brain Development 3 is a Junior Honours course designed to prepare you for Honours courses in Anatomy and Development, and Physiology, as well as allied courses such as Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience, Pharmacology. This course will investigate the mechanisms by which the nervous system develops from neural tube formation in early embryogenesis to adulthood. It will examine the genetic regulation of neuronal differentiation including cell proliferation, cell death, cell migration, neurite extension and synaptogenesis. More specifically, it will examine the role of transcription factors and signalling molecules in regulating the formation of the brain areas and cellular identity. We will examine the regulatory mechanisms by which axon tracts and dendrites form including genetic control of axon extension and later activity-dependent processes of target selection. Finally, we will investigate the activity-dependent regulation of gene expression, neural anatomy, physiology and behaviour with special focus on the mechanisms of neuronal plasticity that underlie developmental sensitive periods that culminate in a mature functioning nervous system. Since the main goal of this class is to focus on the mechanisms of nervous system development we will draw on information gleaned from a wide range of animals from invertebrates to mammals focusing on conserved mechanisms throughout evolution.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Biomedical Sciences 2 (BIME08007)
It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Genes and Gene Action 2 (BILG08003)
Co-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students also take Physiology 3 (BIME09004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students should provide a lab coat, notebook and marker pen.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 26, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Other Study Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 158 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) learning skills session
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 65 %, Coursework 35 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One item of in-course assessment plus an exam consisting of MCQ and SAQ.
Feedback Formative:
Class exam - Multiple Choice Questions to act as a good indicator to revision and feedback will be provided during the test.

Course essay - feedback will be provided within 15 working days of the submission deadline.
Degree exam - feedback is available from the course organiser on request.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Mechanisms of Brain Development 32:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)Mechanisms of Brain Development 32:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding the mechanisms of neural development, at a level appropriate for a third year undergraduate course.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to understand, critically appraise, integrate and interpret information from multiple sources and then communicate by writing in a clear and well-organised ┬┐scientific┬┐ manner.
  3. Detailed knowledge (or information on where to find it) on the main mechanisms by which nervous systems are formed.
  4. Knowledge about how changes to the normal development of cells and systems can underlie human diseases and disorders.
  5. Knowledge of data mining and its powerful role in modern neuroscience.
Reading List
Building Brains. Price, Jarman, Mason & Kind, (2017). 2nd edition. John Wiley & Son Ltd

In addition, the following textbooks contain information on much of the course and are available in the library in multiple copies.

Development of the Nervous System: Sanes, DH., Reh, TA. and Harris, WA. 4th edition (2019). Academic Press

Neuroscience: Bear, Connors & Paradiso, 4th edition (2015). Williams & Wilkins
This is an excellent textbook written by experts which covers several aspects of the course. It is also in the RESERVE section of the Library.

Price, DJ. and Willshaw, D. (2000) Mechanisms of Cortical Development. Oxford University Press

Individual lecturers will also recommend parts of other textbooks, general reviews or interesting articles for you to consult for more specific detail.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Thomas Theil
Tel: (0131 6)50 3721
Course secretaryMr Christopher French
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