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Course details 2012-2013  
Advanced Molecular Neuroscience
Course Code :2019FBDBIC
Study domain:Biomedical Sciences
Semester:Semester: 2nd semester
Contact hours:20
Study load (hours):112
Contract restrictions: No contract restriction
Language of instruction :English
Exam period:exam in the 2nd semester
Lecturer(s)Albena Jordanova


1. Prerequisites

At the start of this course the student should have acquired the following competences:
Specific prerequisites for this course:
Basic knowledge of molecular and cell biology of eukaryotes.

2. Learning outcomes

Molecular neuroscience is advancing at a spectacular rate, revealing important clues to the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of neurological diseases. This course aims to review unifying ideas and concepts and to relate this information to disease examples that reflect our current knowledge in molecular neurology. The students will learn in a research- and disease-oriented manner how neurons are organized and maintained, and how they communicate by means of synapses. The course will examine numerous neurological disorders sharing apparently common features and will discuss to what extent these features reflect common patho-mechanisms. Examples of recent research breakthroughs of the Department of Molecular Genetics in the domain of neurodegenerative disorders will be presented. The course will further explore how the underlying mechanisms in these disparate disorders may be targeted for potential diagnostic and therapeutic gain. Participation in the course will provide an essential conceptual framework for students intending to pursue research.

3. Course contents

  1. Molecular and cellular architectonics of the nervous tissue. Cellular components. The role of neuron-glia interaction. Sub-cellular organization – organelles and their function in health and disease;
    -        cytoskeleton dynamics;
    -        mitochondrial function and dysfunction in the nervous system.
  2. Synthesis, turnover and trafficking of neuronal proteins and RNA. Neuronal defects related to protein and RNA metabolism;
    -        Axonal transport mechanics; fast vs. slow, retrograde vs. anterograde transport; axonal transport defects as a cause of neurodegeneration;
    -        Protein synthesis – cell body vs. extrasomatic protein synthesis;
    -        Protein misfolding, chaperone networks and the heat shock response in the nervous system;
    -        Polyglutamine disorders.
  3. Principles of excitation and transmission in the NS
    -        Neuronal channels and receptors; Inherited epilepsies;
    -        Neurotransmitters – types, metabolism, role in neuropsychiatry disorders and pharmacotherapy;
    -        Signal transmission at the neuromuscular junction and related disorders.
  4. Programmed cell death: genetics and role in neurodegenerative disorders.

    5.   Oxidative stress in neurodegeneration and stroke.

    6.   Approaches in molecular neuroscience research. Genetics as a tool in neurology. Cellular and animal models – advantages and disadvantages.

4. Teaching method

Class contact teaching:
  • Lectures

  • 5. Assessment method and criteria


    6. Study material

    Required reading

    Handouts and review articles from the lector.
    Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM, Principles of Neural Science, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2000
    Waxman S, Molecular Neurology, Elsevier, ISBN: 978-0-12-369509-3

    Optional reading

    The following study material can be studied on a voluntary basis:
    Squire LR, Roberts JL, Spitzer NC, Zigmond MJ, McConnell SK, Bloom FE, Fundamental Neuroscience, 3rd ed., Academic Press, 2007, ISBN 0123740193

    7. Contact information

    (+)last update: 02/12/2009 12:39 albena.jordanova