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Subject Summary:

The neurosciences are one of the most exciting and fast moving areas in biology and these features are well represented in this interdepartmental course. Neurosciences are noted for the breadth of their theoretical base in diverse areas of modern biology and in the range of their medical and social applications. In particular, neuroscience draws its creativity from the integration of different levels of analysis that transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines and individual departments: from the molecular events taking place within cells, through the electrical and chemical interactions between cells in the nervous system, to the integrated behaviour of the whole organism, including humans. This course provides an integrated treatment of the neurosciences, and is built around lectures and a research project.

Lectures are organised in modules of 24 lectures drawn from existing Part II modules offered by Psychology, PDN and Zoology, sometimes with additional input from other Departments. Each module will be delivered within a single term (either Michaelmas or Lent) at a rate of three lectures per week for each module. Students must attend four modules in total. There are no restrictions on choice of modules because they will be timetabled to ensure no clashes between them.

In addition, students complete a two term experimental project in the laboratory of an individual supervisor based in one of the contributing departments or elsewhere in the Cambridge Neuroscience Community.

The course is best suited for students who have studied some neurobiology in Part IB, either in MVST or in NST, but others will be able to take it if they are prepared to do some background reading.

For 2022-23, the planned modules are as follows. These may be subject to change.

  • N2: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (PDN)
  • N6: Central Mechanisms of Reward, Punishment and Emotion (PDN)
  • N7: Neural Circuits and Behaviour (PDN)
  • N9: Neuronal Plasticity, Modulation and Behaviour (PDN)
  • PS2: Memory (Psychology)
  • PS3: Brain Mechanisms of Motivation and Emotion Regulation (Psychology)
  • ZL3: Evolution and Behaviour: Populations and Societies (Zoology)
  • ZM5: Evolution and Behaviour: Genes and individuals (Zoology)

Please see the Psychology website for more information (timetable, current course handbook etc.).