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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Neuroscience (Biomedical Sciences)

Postgraduate Course: Developmental Neurobiology (NEBM11015)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis is an elective course for the MSc by Research in Integrative Neuroscience. Students learn about key areas of Developmental Neurobiology and current research.

Course description The course is designed for students with a background in developmental neurobiology and for newcomers to the field. Introductory lectures are designed to give students a foundation in the principles of Developmental Neurobiology. These are whole class sessions each based around a chapter from 'Building Brains 2' to be read by students in preparation for the class. Lecturers may also post additional preparation material on Learn in advance of sessions as the basis for discussion.

The next whole class sessions are research lectures giving insight into each lecturer's own research area. Lecturers may post additional material on Learn to be read by students in preparation for the class.

The final sessions aim to help students prepare the assessed 'paper review' essay in which each student writes an illustrated essay reviewing a recent primary research paper. Each student chooses a research paper as the subject for their essay and prepares a presentation on the research paper to be delivered to the class. They then work on an advanced draft of their paper review essay and receive feedback before submitting their final paper review essay for assessment.

Students are given two pieces of formative feedback on their essay as it progresses before the final essay is marked.

1. A short powerpoint presentation is prepared by each student summarising the background and motivation for the study, key results, and next steps followed by a class discussion of the presentation and oral feedback.
2. Each student will be given written and oral feedback on an advanced draft of their essay.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, 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 33, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 6, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 8, Formative Assessment Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 145 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) In-course assessment : 100%

The elective is assessed by a 'paper review' essay in which students write a short illustrated 2000-word review article about a current developmental neurobiology primary research paper.

The essay should be aimed at a reader who is a developmental neurobiologist but has not read the primary research paper and is not familiar with the specific research area in detail. The essay should include original illustrations. The essay should place the research paper in the context of the work within the wider literature and clearly introduce the background and motivation for the study. The key research questions/hypotheses addressed in the paper should be summarised and the experimental design, results and interpretation critically evaluated, before ending by identifying open questions directly arising from the paper and suggestions for how the research could be (or was) developed.

An important aspect of the review is to critically evaluate the research paper, that is to provide a balanced discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the motivation, hypotheses, experimental design, and interpretation of results.

(Learning outcomes 1-4)

Feedback Formative feedback:
1 - oral feedback on oral presentation of paper chosen for review essay
2 - written and oral feedback on draft review essay

Summative feedback on final illustrated paper review essay
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of Developmental Neurobiology.
  2. Demonstrate awareness of the current state of research in the field.
  3. Demonstrate ability to critically evaluate primary research.
  4. Demonstrate ability to communicate information effectively using different methods (e.g. oral, written, illustration).
Reading List
Recommended reading or other learning resources will be discussed with the Supervisor/Elective Organiser at the time of establishing the project.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop a critical understanding of the principal theories and concepts in their chosen elective field of interest. They will learn to apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront issues in their elective field of interest. They will learn to critically evaluate primary research papers. Students will learn to communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.
Special Arrangements Course is restricted to MSc Integrative Neuroscience students only
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Thomas Pratt
Tel: (0131 6)51 1707
Course secretaryMiss Debbie Grahames
Tel: (0131 6)50 3160
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