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Module

MMB8019 : Sensory Systems

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Evelyne Sernagor
  • Lecturer: Professor Marcus Kaiser, Professor Patrick Degenaar, Professor Andrew Blamire, Professor Alexander Thiele, Dr Abhishek Banerjee, Professor Adrian Rees, Professor Tim Griffiths, Dr Gabriele Jordan, Professor Stuart Baker, Professor Anya Hurlbert
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The module aims are:

1. introduce the principles and practice of modern methods (primarily neurophysiology, imaging, and computational techniques) for investigating sensory systems (vision, audition and somatosensation).

2. explore sensory physiology at an advanced level from single neuron function to complex neuronal networks in the visual, auditory and somatosensory systems.

3. gain an understanding of how basic experimental studies and clinical investigations reveal the neuronal mechanisms underlying function of sensory systems in health and disease.

4. acquire basic knowledge in neural implant devices to regain lost senses.

5. gain specific knowledge on:

• neuronal signalling mechanisms
• cellular neurophysiology
• invasive and non-invasive techniques for studying the nervous system in humans and experimental animals
• computational approaches for interpreting neural network function
• gross sensory neuroanatomy (in primates and simpler animals)
• development of neural function and structure
• genetics and neuroanatomy of specific sensory disorders and their relationship to normal brain function
• multisensory integration
• functional links between sensory systems, and disorders thereof
• higher brain functions that build on sensory function, such as visual memory and attention, reading, music perception.

6. learn how to acquire scientific knowledge through independent reading, deductive and inductive reasoning.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will introduce the principles and practice of modern methods (primarily neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and computational techniques) for investigating sensory systems including the visual, auditory and somatosensory systems, chemical senses through a series of sessions;

Topics will include:

1. Essential neuroanatomy

2. Essential cellular neurophysiology

3. Neuroimaging techniques

4. Retinal structure and function

5. Visual system development

6. Colour vision (retinal processing, genetic disorders, central processing)

7. Visual cortical function (modularity, cognitive aspects, visual attention)

8. Neural prosthetics for the restoration of sight

9. Somatosensation (touch, pressure, vibration, pain, temperature, position and movement)

10. Cellular principles of somatosensory plasticity

11. The auditory pathway

12. Auditory neurophysiology and neuropharmacology

13. Cortical basis and disorders of human auditory cognition

14. Multisensory integration

15. Computational approaches to understanding neuroanatomical networks and behaviour

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00MCQ, time limited take home
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Preparation of oral presentation
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials241:0024:00Non-synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00Present in person: Oral presentation (Groups of 8 students per 2 hour session)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Present in person: Anatomy labs
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00Present in person: Computer cluster
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Present in person: Journal Club
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity119:0019:00Additional Reading and Reflective Learning
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study18:008:00Additional Reading & Reflective learning
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study198:0098:00Preparation of Notes; preparing answer to take home paper; completing the MCQ paper
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Practicals will include:

1. Fundamental neuroanatomy - Gross anatomy of the human brain. Cellular staining techniques. Comparative neuroanatomy.

2. Spike train analysis – to analyse and quantify spiking activity in neural networks.

Students will also prepare 10-minute powerpoint presentations on in-depth topics related to the lecture materials, preferably based on one or more recent journal articles. Presentations will be assessed on content, organisation, style, and visual clarity.

To help consolidate factual information learned throughout the course, students will have a multiple-choice-question exam during the last session of the module. The MCQ exam mark will contribute 20% to the final mark. Only lecture material will be covered in the MCQ exam.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Computer assessment1M20MCQs take home online time-limited (69 questions)
Prof skill assessmnt1M20Oral presentation 10 minutes
Essay1M60Choice of 1 from 3 options (2000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will test students' detailed knowledge and critical understanding of a selected area of sensory neuroscience.
The in-course MCQ test will test students' knowledge across the breadth of the course, based on the content of all lectures.

Reading Lists

Timetable