A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
BIO/09 BIO/10 BIO/14 MED/26
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 behavior. 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.
Expected learning outcomes
Students will know the methods, the insights, and the questions of the neurobiology, achieving a theoretical background to study the brain and its pathologies.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Third trimester
All classes planned during the third trimester of the first year of the Master Degree Medical Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, will be given as frontal teaching and distance synchronous learning. In case of a new suspension of frontal lectures, all students will be asked to move to distance synchronous learning.
Each hour of lesson will be divided into 45' of formal teaching followed by 15' of discussion/interaction/question time. All lessons will be recorded and made available for students on the indicated platforms (i.e. Ariel, TEAMS, etc).
Unless otherwise specified, exams will be organized in classroom but if the student is unable to reach the building for COVID-related issues, other forms will be considered (this apply for exams scheduled until the 31st July - 2021).
Course syllabus
Wiring of the nervous system. Neurogenesis, migration, specificity. Signals from target cells. How 20.000 genes specify 10^14 connections?
When the nerve meets the muscle: architecture, assembly, remodeling, and signaling of the neuromuscular junction. Dysfunction of the neuromuscular junction.
Wiring of the visual system.
Functional relevance of glycoconjugates in the physiology and pathology of the nervous system.
Metabolism, traffic and cellular topology of glycoconjugates in neural cells. Glycoconjugates in synaptic function, in neuron-glia communication, in myelin formation and stabilization. Altered glycoconjugates metabolism and functions in neurogenerative and demyelinating diseases.
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
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, color 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, colors, and pattern recognition.
Movement and hierarchical organization of motor control. Reflexes and automatisms in human. Control of posture. Voluntary movements.
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.
Prerequisites for admission
Being a first year, first semester exam, there are no specific prerequisites other than those required for admission to the degree course.
Teaching methods
Teaching Resources
Assessment methods and Criteria
methods (oral test with the teachers of the course);
- type of test (oral questioning)
- evaluation parameters (knowledge acquired, critical reasoning skills on the study carried out; quality of the exposure);
- type of assessment used (rating in thirtieths);
- method of communication: immediate at the end of the test
BIO/10 - BIOCHEMISTRY - University credits: 1
Lessons: 7 hours
MED/26 - NEUROLOGY - University credits: 1
Lessons: 7 hours
Professor: Ratti Antonia
BIO/14 - PHARMACOLOGY - University credits: 1
Lessons: 7 hours
Professor: Antonucci Flavia
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 21 hours
Educational website(s)