Syllabus

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Course Description

This course considers the process of neurotransmission, especially chemicals used in the brain and elsewhere to carry signals from nerve terminals to the structures they innervate. We focus on monoamine transmitters (acetylcholine; serotonin; dopamine and norepinephrine); we also examine amino acid and peptide transmitters and neuromodulators like adenosine. Macromolecules that mediate neurotransmitter synthesis, release, inactivation and receptor-mediated actions are discussed, as well as factors that regulate their activity and the second-messenger systems and ion fluxes that they control. The involvement of particular neurotransmitters in human diseases is considered.

Required Text

Amazon logo Cooper, Jack R., Floyd E. Bloom, and Robert H. Roth. The Biochemical Basis of Neuropharmacology. 8th ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780195140088.

Grading

  1. Undergraduate Students: The first exam will count for 50% of the final grade, and the second exam will count for the other 50% of the final grade.

  2. Graduate Students: The first exam will count as 1/3 of the final grade, and the second exam will be 1/3 of the final grade, and the term paper will count as the last 1/3 of the course grade.

  3. Undergraduate students who are less than satisfied with their performance on the first exam can write a term paper and if the grade on the paper is higher than that earned on the exam then it will be substituted for the first exam grade.

  4. All students must prepare to take the second test. There will be no make-up tests for the second test. If a student is in the infirmary on the date of that test, it can be administered at the infirmary.

  5. Any student who misses both tests will fail the course.

Calendar


SES # TOPICS KEY DATES
1 Neurotransmitters, receptors, and actions
2 Membranes and the blood brain barrier
3 Acetylcholine: biochemistry
4 Acetylcholine: Alzheimer's disease Student meeting deadline
5 Dopamine: biochemistry and Parkinson's disease
6 Norepinephrine and epinephrine
7 Serotonin: biochemistry
8 Serotonin: behavior, and obesity
9 Review
10 Hour examination - midterm
11 Melatonin
12 Glutamate: biochemistry
13 Glutamate: learning and toxicity
14 Gaba
15 Glycine and histamine
16 Cannabinoids and adenosine
17 Peptides New paper due date
18 Drug development and review
19 Hour examination - final