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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, chemical senses, hearing 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 ¿chemical senses¿ theme will detail the sensory systems that detect smell, taste or respiratory gases. The organisation and function of olfactory, CO2 and O2 receptors and the organisation of the neural networks that mediate responses to chemical stimuli, to shape behaviour and maintain homeostasis of the organism will be described.

The ¿hearing¿ 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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Discuss the structure and function of the visual system in mammalian brains and how experience can modify the activity of cortical neuronal circuits
  2. Discuss the physiology of auditory transduction by the inner ear, and the developmental, cellular, and molecular basis of mechanosensation
  3. Discuss how pain information is processed within the somatosensory nervous system and how this processing is disrupted in chronic pain conditions
  4. Evaluate the challenges in translating basic research to the clinic
  5. Demonstrate the ability to examine in detail, critically appraise and orally present a selected research papercluding any forms
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 secretaryMiss Rachel Allan
Tel: (0131 6)51 1514
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