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MMB8020 : Scientific Basis of Neurological Disorders

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Daniel Erskine
  • Demonstrator: Dr Gavin Clowry
  • Lecturer: Dr Lauren Walker, Dr Hugo De Sao Jose Martinho De Oliveira, Professor Robert Lightowlers, Professor Andrew Trevelyan, Dr Sarah Pickett, Dr Bas Olthof, Dr Timothy Williams, Professor Bobby McFarland, Professor Evelyne Sernagor, Dr Amy Vincent, Professor Andrew Blamire, Professor Nicola Pavese, Professor Raj Kalaria
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims to:

1. introduce students to neuroanatomy with a focus on regions vulnerable in neurological disorders

2. develop understanding of fundamental aspects of molecular biology and cellular physiology implicated in neurological disorders

3. provide students with a detailed introduction to common methods used to study neurological dysfunction in patients, tissues and model systems

4. examine a range of exemplar neurological disorders with a focus on disease aetiology, enabling students to explore the anatomy and biological processes they have previously studied

5. explore the latest hypotheses and on-going research in exemplar neurological disorders with a view to discussing future research trends

Original Summary:

This module introduces fundamental processes underlying neurological dysfunction, with an aim of bridging fundamental neuroscientific study with applied studies into disease aetiology. On completing this module, students will have a solid grounding in basis tenets of translational neuroscience as it is applied to the study of neurological disorder, an overview of the rationale underlying key methods used to study neurological disorders, and an overview of the clinical features and molecular aetiology of a range of key neurological disorders.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module introduces the student to the scientific basis of neurological disorders by initially providing an overview of neuroanatomy, with a focus on regions relevant to common neurological disorders, and fundamental mechanisms implicated in neurological dysfunction, such as mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired autophagy-lysosomal function, synaptic dysfunction and inflammation. In addition to the molecular aetiology of neurological disorders, students will also receive teaching on the principles underlying common methods used to study neurological disorders, from behavioural and imaging studies in patients, to interrogation of processes in modal systems. The module then focusses on a number of exemplar neurological disorders, initially with an overview of clinical features, and then discussion of molecular aetiology and current research, providing applied examples of the anatomy, molecular biology, neurophysiology and methodological development outlined in the first half of the module.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion137:0037:00Produce a poster to summarise a scientific research publication
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00Present in Person (PIP): Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Formative Online MCQ
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion129:0029:00Preparation for formative online MCQ test
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Present in person (PIP): Anatomy lab
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Present in person (PIP): Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00Present in Person (PIP) Oral presentation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:002:00Present in person (PIP) Workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching129:0029:0024-hour essay preparation
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity125:0025:00Additional Reading & Reflective Learning
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00Preparing Notes from Lecture materials, Seminars & Reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Many neurological disorders diseases have dramatic debilitating effects and cause major stress within the family. Understanding of these diseases and their causes requires knowledge of the basic principle of nerve cell biology. This module will introduce students to these principles in the context of several clinically important neurological disorders and will show how defects at the cellular and molecular levels can give rise to the features of the disorders at clinical presentation. The diseases selected for study will include both inherited and acquired conditions that affect both nerve cell function and survival. The module takes advantage of the wealth of neuroscience experience in Newcastle at both scientific and clinical levels.

This will be a module split between lectures, small group teaching and seminars, with students being introduced to neurological disorders in man and the associated defects in cells and molecules. In addition to the formal teaching, students will be expected to spend considerable time on independent learning following the guidelines identified in the lecture materials and taught sessions.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster1M50Online submission of a poster (size A0): assessment of a scientific publication
Essay1M5024 hours to write an essay (choice of one of three)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment1M1 hour Online MCQs (50 questions)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative essay will allow students to demonstrate an awareness of the latest concepts, and critically evaluate the molecular aetiology, of neurological disorders.

The summative poster allows the students to demonstrate critical analysis and communication of a key piece of published neuroscience research.

The formative MCQ will help students assess their knowledge and understanding of the module content and provide feedback to support them in their summative assessments.

Reading Lists