Introductory Neuroscience

The course covers the fundamentals of neuroscience with specific emphasis on the properties of key parts/features of neural circuits: neurons (and glia), ion channels, membrane excitability, synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity. Why highlight these topics? To illustrate, synaptic plasticity is crucial for a variety of cognitive functions of the brain. To understand synaptic plasticity, one must appreciate the intricacies of synaptic transmission. Synaptic transmission, in turn, requires a knowledge of membrane excitability, to which ion channels play a key role. Therefore, by building an understanding of these key components, it is hoped to facilitate each student to further deepen his/her view about the basis of communication in the nervous system and to apply the knowledge gained to their own PhD projects. The course topics will be introduced logically from bottom up (cf. course content section). The course will also involve discussion of research papers highlighting key concepts covered in lectures, where students are expected to present and lead the discussion.

Prerequisites or Prior Knowledge

Undergraduate biochemistry, biology, and chemistry