A.Y. 2015/2016
Overall hours
BIO/09 BIO/14 BIO/16 INF/01
Learning objectives
The course of Neurobiology is intended to offer an integrated view of the nervous system, from the cellular and molecular basis of neural excitability and synaptic transmission, to the neuronal networks and the complex hierarchical organization of the brain and behaviour. The molecular understanding at the cellular level is integrated to higher brain functions such as mechanisms of sensory perception, reflexes and motor function, learning, memory, and biorhythms. Students will be introduced to the insights, methods, and questions of neurobiology, offering the theoretical background to study the brain and its pathologies.
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
Third trimester
Electric signals of the nerve cells. Membrane potential. Excitable membranes and voltage-dependent ion channels. Different kinds of action potentials. Long distance conduction of the nerve impulses. Integrative functions of the neurons.
Sensation. Receptors and receptive fields. Peripheral and central processing of somatic sensation.
Pain perception and analgesia: nociceptors, structures and pathways of nociceptive sensations, hyperalgesia and sensitization, noxious inhibitory system, placebo effect.
Vision. Physiology of the retina, photo transduction, colour vision, perception of light intensity and light adaptation, visual acuity. Parallel Streams of Information from Retina to Cortex, visual field, geniculate neurons, Striate Cortex and Extrastriate Visual Areas, information processing in the cortical neurons, Columnar Organization, binocular convergence, deepness, colours, and pattern recognition.
Auditory system. Sound, The audible spectrum Audiogram. Functional organization of the ear. Cochlea and ear cells. Central processing of acoustic and vestibular signals.
The Chemical Senses and adaptive behavioural responses to chemical stimulation.
Movement and hierarchical organisation of motor control. Reflexes and automatisms in human. Control of posture. The Vestibular System: The Otoliths sense Accelerations, central pathways. Nervous mechanisms of the posture control, spinal vestibular and visual components of the spinal control. Control Eye Movements. Voluntary movements. The cerebellum and its functions.
Emotion and limbic system. Hypothalamus and hypophysis.
Formation of cerebral circuits. Modification of the cerebral circuits as a result of experience.
Learning and memory: habituation, sensitization, Classic conditioning and operant conditioning, cellular bases and animal models. Learning and memory in human.
Sleep-wakefulness rhythms.
Anatomia umana
Embryology of the nervous system. Macroscopic features.
Proliferation, migration and differentiation of glial and neuronal elements.
Organization of the nervous system.
Organization of white and gray matter.
Blood-brain barrier.
Artificial intelligence, neural networks and genetic algorithms.
Farmacologia cellulare
Formation and structure of synapses. Synaptic mechanisms.
Organization of the presynaptic compartment.
Structure and functions of glutamate receptors.
Postsynaptic molecular organization: proteic complexes associated to glutamate receptors. (NMDAR, AMPAR, KAR e mGluRs)
Dendritic spines: structure, modulation and function.
Mechanisms of synaptic plasticity.
Anatomia umana
BIO/16 - HUMAN ANATOMY - University credits: 1
Lessons: 8 hours
Professor: Gagliano Nicoletta
Farmacologia cellulare
BIO/14 - PHARMACOLOGY - University credits: 1
Lessons: 8 hours
Professor: Sala Carlo
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 24 hours
INF/01 - INFORMATICS - University credits: 1
Lessons: 8 hours
Professor: Campadelli Paola