BIOC40060 Advanced Neurochemistry

Academic Year 2019/2020

This course is a core module for Stage 4 of the BSc honours degree programmes in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Neuroscience. The following topics are included: molecular basis of neurotransmitter release, neurotransmitter biosynthesis and metabolisms, brain energy metabolisms, structure, function and regulation of neurotransmitter transporters, molecular mechanisms of depression and drug addiction.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:1. Describe in details the molecular basis of neurotransmitter release and transport; 2. Be able to critically evaluate current research relating to neurotransmitter metabolism, transport and neuronal signaling; 3. Discuss the relationship between neurotransmitter systems and psychiatric disorders

Indicative Module Content:

Module structure:

Week 1, lectures 1-3: Introduction to Neurochemistry, basics of neurotransmission, neurotransmitters and their receptors, gliotransmission, energy metabolism in the brain

Week 2*: Neurotransmitter transporters: vesicular transporters, plasma membrane transporters, structure-function relationship, neurotransmitter transporters as drug targets, relevance to disease

Week 3*: Depression and other mood disorders, classical and novel antidepressant

Week 4*: Addiction and drug abuse

* Weeks 2-4: 2 lectures each week, 1 tutorial/class discussion based on original research publications

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module will be delivered over a 4-week period, with 3 contact hours each week.

All contact hours in week 1 and two contact hours each week in weeks 2-4 will be delivered as standard lectures.

In weeks 2-4 one contact hour will be dedicated to a class discussion related to that week's lecture topic in form of a tutorial/class discussion based on one or two original research publications. In preparation of these tutorial sessions students are required to independently read and critically analyse selected research publications.

Throughout the module, students are required to read and critically analyse advanced text book material and research articles related to and complementing the lecture material.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

It is recommended that students taking this module will have successfully completed BMOL30040 or other modules with equivalent learning outcomes

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
PATH30060 - Genetics,perinatal,paediatric

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: open book (take away) exam, essay question with longer time period to complete Unspecified Yes Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be given to students through VLE following grading of the exam outlining expected answers (bullet point model answers) and criteria for different grade categories (e.g. rubrics). If requested, individual feedback will be given to students post-assessment.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Kathy O'Boyle Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.  
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22 Fri 10:00 - 10:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 23 Fri 10:00 - 11:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23 Mon 09:00 - 09:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23 Wed 09:00 - 09:50