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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BMSC2124 Neurotransmitters and Disease

10 creditsClass Size: 29

Module manager: Dr Clare Tweedy

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

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 micro and macroscopic structure of the human nervous system and explains the central nervous system control of a range of physiological processes. Following a fundamental exploration of neuroanatomy and biophysics, the module will explore the process of neurotransmission and the role of major neurotransmitters. Many aspects of this module will be framed in the context of diseases and disorders of the human nervous system.


The aim of this module is to gain an understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system followed by exploration of 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 visualize neurotransmitters, and record neurotransmission electrophysiologically will be introduced.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the micro and macroscopic structure of the human nervous system;
- describe and explain the central nervous system control of a range of physiological processes through the study of CNS anatomy and physiology;
- describe the process of neurotransmission; understand and explain the criteria for molecules to be considered neurotransmitters;
- compare and contrast the synthesis, release and reuptake of a range of neurotransmitters in the body;
- describe the techniques used to visualize neurotransmitters, and the techniques available for recording neurotransmission electrophysiologically.

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.


BMSC2124 students take Unit 1 and Unit 2 of BMSC2118.

Unit 1:
- Organisation and anatomy of the brain and spinal cord;
- Anatomy and physiology of the cerebral cortex, midbrain and diencephalon, spinal cord and hindbrain, and the hippocampus;
- Neuroimaging techniques to investigate function and pathology;
- Fundamental biophysics including the resting membrane potential and electrophysiology techniques.

Unit 2:
- Synaptic communication including neurotransmitter synthesis, storage, release, transporters, and synaptic connections;
- Neurotransmitter receptors; ligand gated ion channels and G-protein coupled receptors;
- Neurotransmitters; Acetylcholine, Excitatory amino acids, catecholamines, Peptides, Serotonin, Inhibitory amino acids, Gasotransmitters;
- Neuroplasticity on the level of molecular, synaptic, and dendritic changes and neurogenesis.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning101.0010.00
Independent online learning hours2.00
Private study hours62.00
Total Contact hours36.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Independent online learning: a range of resources will be provided as well as formative MCQ tests based on each unit. 62 hours designated for private study (including reading before and after lectures, preparation for tutorials, and exam preparation).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students have the opportunity to gain feedback by completion of formative MCQ exams available throughout the module. Students will also practice case study work in the introductory session.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins80.00
Online MCQ0 hr 30 mins20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

BMSC2118 and BMSC2123 currently have overlapping papers.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 22/09/2023 14:03:51


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