COURSE OUTLINE: BS3001

Course Title

Neurobiology

Course Code

BS3001

Offered Study Year 3, Semester 1
Course Coordinators Carol Tang Soo Leng (Adjunct Assoc Prof) carol.tang@ntu.edu.sg
Ang Beng Ti (Dr) bengti.ang@gmail.com
Pre-requisites BS2001 OR BS1016
AU 3
Contact hours Lectures: 26, Tutorials: 13
Approved for delivery from
Last revised 16 Dec 2022, 13:29

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce components of the nervous system and how they work in humans and other animals. Students will learn how neurons transmit signals within and between them, how neural circuits form and change, how sensory and motor system and higher brain function work.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Apply the concepts of electrochemical gradients and ionic currents to estimate changes in membrane potentials
  2. Apply knowledge of chemical synapse mechanism to explain the mechanism for synaptic plasiticity
  3. Describe basic brain functions in terms of action potentials and synaptic transmission in neural circuits
  4. Review existing literature, formulate testable hypothesis and propose ways to test the hypothesis.

Course Content

Neurons and glia (subtypes, morphology)

Membrane potential (action, resting membrane potential)

Synaptic transmission

Synaptic plasticity (cell biology of learning and memory)

The anatomical organization of the central nervous system

Induction and patterning of the central nervous system

Hippocampus and memory

Neurodevelopment and synaptogenesis

Assembly and organization of neural circuits - spinal cord and cerbellum

Integration of sensory and motor function, Disorders

Assessment

Component Course ILOs tested SBS Graduate Attributes tested Weighting Team / Individual Assessment Rubrics
Continuous Assessment
Tutorials
Presentations, flipped classroom exercise 1, 2, 3, 4 1. b, c
2. f
5. b
7. c
10 both See Appendix for rubric
Mid-semester Quiz
Multiple Choice Questions 1, 2, 3, 4 1. a, b, c, d
2. a
3. c, g
30 individual
Examination (2 hours)
Multiple Choice Questions 1, 2, 3, 4 1. a, b, c, d
2. a, e, f
3. a, c, e, f, g
46 individual
Short Answer Questions 1, 2, 3, 4 1. b, c, d
2. f
14 individual See Appendix for rubric
Total 100%

These are the relevant SBS Graduate Attributes.

1. Recognize the relationship and complexity between structure and function of all forms of life, resulting from an academically rigorous in-depth understanding of biological concepts

a. Possess a conceptual framework that identifies the relationships between the major domains in the field of biology.

b. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the molecular level

c. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the cellular level

d. Explain the relationship between structure and function of all forms of life at the organism level

2. Critically evaluate and analyze biological information by applying the knowledge, scientific methods and technical skills associated with the discipline

a. Identify the assumptions behind scientific problems and issues

e. Analyze the validity of qualitative and quantitative scientific data

f. Evaluate results in primary biological literature

3. Develop and communicate biological ideas and concepts relevant in everyday life for the benefit of society

a. Simplify and explain scientific concepts and results of experiments to a non-biologist (avoiding jargon)

c. Demonstrate an understanding of the recursive nature of science, where new results continually modify previous knowledge

e. Discuss current critical questions in the field of biology

f. Demonstrate an understanding of the social and natural context of knowledge (role of science in society, influence of society on science)

g. Demonstrate an understanding of the history of ideas and development of the major fields of biology

5. Develop communication, creative and critical thinking skills for life-long learning

b. Learn collaboratively and be willing to share expertise with peers

7. Demonstrate information literacy and technological fluency

c. Evaluate and use biological databases (literature and public datasets)

Formative Feedback

Feedback for tutorial questions and exercises will be provided immediately during tutorial sessions. This will directly address learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Additionally, you will receive feedback in person during or after lectures as well as e-mail throughout the semester if requested.

At the end of semester, final feedback will be made through examiner's report.

Learning and Teaching Approach

Lectures
(26 hours)

You will be introduced seminal and current experimental data by leading researchers in the neuroscience field and learn how to interpret the results. The material will be introduced by videos, web-based instructions and interactive learning modules. This will help you to achieve Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3.

You will be asked to read seminal and current research papers and learn how to critically assess the authors' interpretation and conclusions. You will also be asked to propose experiments during some tutorial sessions. This will help you to achieve Learning Outcomes 5 and 6.

Tutorials
(13 hours)

You will work in teams to solve both real life and theoretical problems which pertains to neuroscience principles. This will help you to achieve learning outcomes 2, 3, 5, and 6.

Reading and References

Neuroscience, Sixth Edition by Dale Purves, George Augustine, David Fitzpatrick, William Hall, Anthony LaMantia, Leonard White, Richard Mooney, and Michael Platt, published by Oxford University Press (October, 2018) , ISBN-13: 9781605358413

Course Policies and Student Responsibilities

You are responsible for viewing recommended online teaching materials as well as reading recommended chapters in Principles of Neural Science and Neuroscience.

You should always ask questions if something is not clear during lecture or tutorials. If you can't find an opportunity to ask these questions, please feel free to e-mail the professor responsible for the lecture/tutorial.

Academic Integrity

Good academic work depends on honesty and ethical behaviour. The quality of your work as a student relies on adhering to the principles of academic integrity and to the NTU Honour Code, a set of values shared by the whole university community. Truth, Trust and Justice are at the core of NTU’s shared values.

As a student, it is important that you recognize your responsibilities in understanding and applying the principles of academic integrity in all the work you do at NTU. Not knowing what is involved in maintaining academic integrity does not excuse academic dishonesty. You need to actively equip yourself with strategies to avoid all forms of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, academic fraud, collusion and cheating. If you are uncertain of the definitions of any of these terms, you should go to the Academic Integrity website for more information. Consult your instructor(s) if you need any clarification about the requirements of academic integrity in the course.

Course Instructors

Instructor Office Location Phone Email
Carol Tang Soo Leng (Adjunct Assoc Prof) carol.tang@ntu.edu.sg
Ang Beng Ti (Dr) bengti.ang@gmail.com

Planned Weekly Schedule

Week Topic Course ILO Readings/ Activities
1

Synaptic transmission

1, 2, 3
2

Synaptic plasticity (cell biology of learning and memory)

1, 2, 3
3

The anatomical organization of the central nervous system

1, 4, 5
4

Induction and patterning of the central nervous system

1, 4, 5
5

Hippocampus and memory

1, 3, 4
6

Neurodevelopment and synaptogenesis

1, 3, 4, 5
7

Assembly and organization of neural circuits - spinal cord

1, 4, 5
8

Integration of sensory and motor function, Disorders

1, 4, 5
9

Membrane potential (action, resting membrane potential)

1, 2
10

Neurons and glia (subtypes, morphology)

1, 2
11

Assembly and organization of neural circuits - cerebellum

1, 2, 6
12

Molecular mechanisms underlying assembly and maintenance of neural circuits.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Appendix 1: Assessment Rubrics

Rubric for Tutorials: Presentations, flipped classroom exercise (10%)

Students will be divided into groups. Each group will present a topic decided by the lecturer. Slides will be submitted at least 2 days prior to the tutorial. At least two members of each group will present. The allocated time is 10 minutes presentation, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A. The group score will be decided by the lecturer, in consultation with Dr Carol Tang who will be present. Each group gets the same score; however, individuals who ask good questions on their own group’s work, or another group’s presentation will score bonus points for his/her entire groups score. The presentation format is mainly to encourage group activity, and to allow lecturers to manage the evaluation in a large cohort in the absence of TAs.

In Dr Carol Tang’s tutorial, it will be in be conducted in a flipped classroom format. Thus, from her tutorial, the students will experience the MCQ format using NTULearn, and the results will be graded automatically before the tutorial day. The actual tutorial day will be spent discussing what went wrong or could have had alternate technical interpretations.

Group No: Project Title:

Oral Presentation (For Use by Oral Examiner)

Criteria

Unsatisfactory (1)

Satisfactory (2)

Good (3)

Exemplary (4)

Presentation Skills : Organization

Illogical sequence & irrelevant content. Poor slide design

Adequate content, reasonable depth of explanation. Average slide design

Logical sequence, able to high major design features and offer in-depth explanation. Substantial effort in slide design

Relevant content beyond scope of project, able to correlate key design features with real world needs. Refreshing slide design.

Delivery & Timing

Tends to stutter, unclear and erroneous. Grossly under or over-estimate presentation time

Monotonous but understandable, few errors. Kept to allocated presentation time.

Clear, well prepared, no errors. Kept to allocated presentation time. Reasonable emphasis on own contribution

Captivating, lively & engaging. Kept to allocated presentation time with emphasis on own contribution.

Content : Design Objective & Justification

Design objective not clearly defined. Very weak or no justification to support design decisions.

Attempt to define design objective. Weak justification to support design decisions.

Design objective clearly defined. Good justification to support design decisions.

Design objective clearly defined. Strong justification to support design decisions.

Subject Knowledge

Does not display knowledge of the subject matter.

Displays some knowledge of the subject matter.

Displays good knowledge of the subject matter.

Displays comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter.

Q&A : Reasoning

Unable to justify answers

Able to justify some answers

Able to justify most answers

Able to justify all answers

TOTAL SCORE 20

Rubric for Examination: Short Answer Questions (14%)

The short answer questions will complement the multiple choice questions. These questions will test your understanding of basic concepts and ability to interpret primary research data and/or solve neuroscience problems pertaining to electrophysiology.

Appendix 2: Intended Affective Outcomes

As a result of this course, it is expected you will develop the following "big picture" attributes:

Awareness that mental processes have a biological basis