Full course description
This course provides an in-depth description of biopsychological concepts of brain function. It will cover elements from functional neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and psychopharmacology as they are applied to brain and behaviour research. The students will first review the macro- and microanatomy of the brain, and also neurochemical and neurobiological mechanisms related to neurotransmission. Special attention will be paid to basic cellular processes leading to disturbances in the brain. The students will discuss questions such as: How do the chemicals in our brain influence neurons? How do they potentially affect the brain and leads to Alzheimer’s disease? What is the specific role of second messengers in these processes? Additionally, the students will deal with sexual differentiation and which biological processes determine sexual or gender differences. In the fourth task the students will learn more about the neurobiological changes that lead to addiction.
Students are able to:
- explain the basic mechanisms of neuronal communication within a neuron and between neurons;
- explain the principles and mechanisms of neurotransmission and receptor binding;
- explain the consequences of receptor activation (metabotropic or ionotropic) on intracellular events, i.e, second messenger signaling cascades;
- explain the biological factors that lead to sexual differentiation and which factors udnerlie gender identity;
- explain how addiction can be explained on basis of the biological changes in the mesolimbic system. The students will learn that dopamine and endorphins play an essential role. The students will learn the concepts of wanting and liking as different properties of addiction, each with a different neuronal substrate;
- write a short research proposal on a biological oriented topic of their choice;
- present a biological topic of their choice to a peer group in an understandable manner.