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This subject is an intensive 5 consecutive day overview of a range of research methodologies used in contemporary basic neuroscience. The premise of this subject is to take the student through the most common cellular neuroscience experimental methods. Several themes are explored extending from the molecular level through to cellular function and ultimately neuronal network characterisation. Specific themes include:
- A brief introduction to bioinformatics and an overview of the on-line tools available.
- Methods used to probe gene and protein expression and function.
- Static and dynamic imaging methods used in neuroscience.
- The basics of single cell electrophysiology.
- Computational approaches used in neuroscience.
A series of 19 one-hour lectures, 8 hours group tutorials and 5 and-a-half hours practical demonstrations (totalling 32.5 contact hours) will be used to illustrate the various methodologies and approaches. This includes a tour of the Brain Bank and imaging suite facilities. A group project asks students to develop a virtual set of experiments that use the various methodologies introduced. This will be done in the context of a specific protein and how the students may probe dysfunction of this protein in a disease state (eg sodium channels in epilepsy). Class presentations reporting each group’s virtual experiments will be discussed in front of a panel of research experts at the end of the week.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students will be able to:
- Develop an awareness of the range of research methods and various approaches used in basic neuroscience to be able to read the literature more easily and critically.
- Develop an understanding at a basic to intermediate level of laboratory and computational techniques utilised in neuroscience.
- Develop a basic understanding of neuronal function at individual cell and system levels.
- Acquire basic skills in bioinformatics to facilitate efficient neuroscience research.
- Appreciate the role of human brain tissue work in neuroscience.
- Appreciate the need for computational modelling in contemporary neuroscience.
- Demonstrate the application of the principles learned in the subject to their research project.
On completion of this subject, students will have developed the following generic skills:
- An understanding of and critical reading skills in a wide range of research methodologies.
- Oral communication skills ranging from public speaking to interpersonal communication.
High-level written communication skills.
- Team work skills and awareness of the need to collaborate with other disciplines.
- High organization and time management skills in the short and longer term.
- The capacity to apply concepts learned in their own area of research.
Last updated: 6 December 2019