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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BMSC2124 Neurotransmitters and Disease

10 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Samit Chakrabarty

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Satisfactory completion of level 1 of a BMS programme, or equivalent.


BMSC1210Biology of the Mind

This module is mutually exclusive with

BMSC2123Sensory and Motor Neuroscience

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces the basic anatomy and structure of the brain and spinal cord and describes the process of neurotransmission, the criteria for molecules to be considered neurotransmitters and the synthesis, release and reuptake of a range of neurotransmitters in the body. Techniques used to visualise neurotransmitters, and record neurotransmission using electrophysiology will be introduced. The causes and pathologies of various neurodegenerative diseases will be introduced.


On completion of this module students will know:
- The basic anatomy of the spinal cord and brain;
- The process of neurotransmission;
- The mechanisms of synthesis and role of a range of neurotransmitters;
- The techniques used to study neurotransmitter function;
- The core elements of a range of neurodegenerative diseases.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the basic anatomy of the spinal cord and brain;
2. Describe the process of neurotransmission; understand and explain the criteria for molecules to be considered neurotransmitters;
3. Describe the synthesis, release and reuptake of a range of neurotransmitters in the body;
4. Describe the techniques used to visualize neurotransmitters, and the techniques available for recording neurotransmission using electrophysiology;
5. Describe the basis of a range of neurodegenerative diseases.

Skills outcomes
This module will allow students to develop their understanding of neurotransmission, and the CNS and its role in our interactions with the outside world. It will provide a foundation level understanding of neurodegenerative diseases which will allow students to study these topics at a higher level later in the year.


- Organisation of the brain and spinal cord
- Cell types and synapses;
- Synaptic communication - Chemical neurotransmission, synthesis, storage release, transporters synaptic connections;
- Resting membrane potential and electrophysiology techniques;
- Neurotransmitter receptors; ligand gated ion channels and G protein-coupled receptors;
- Neurotransmitters; Acetylcholine, Excitatory amino acids, Biogenic amines, Peptides, Serotonin, Inhibitory amino acids;
- Neuronal disease.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment11.001.00
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Students will be expected to spend time reading around the subject of lectures using textbooks, review articles and research papers. The in-course assessment essay will require extensive reading and preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored by an in-course MCQ.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQin class25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)25.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S1)1 hr 15 mins75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)75.00

BMSC2118 and BMSC2123 currently have overlapping papers.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 06/12/2019


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