Neuromodulation & Synaptic Plasticity 4C option BIOL4279

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will build on the fundamentals of neuronal signalling and network signalling and introduce students to the concept of the flexible nature of synapses and neural networks under different behavioural, developmental or pathological circumstances. The course will explore the diverse range of neuromodulatory and synaptic plasticity mechanisms, outlining their importance for future neuroscience research.


This option is assigned to block S2-C. There is normally one 3-hour session on Thursdays.

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year School of Life Sciences students in a Neuroscience programme. Visiting students may be allowed to enrol, at the discretion of the School of Life Sciences Chief Adviser and the Course Coordinator. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by in-course assessment consisting of 2 components: a research/grant proposal (60%) and a video blog designed to support and justify the grant proposal (40%).

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of this option are: 

1. To enable students to develop an understanding of the flexible and plastic nature of the nervous system in the context of both physiological and pathophysiological function. 

2. To develop in students the ability to assimilate current knowledge in intrinsic neuromodulation and be able to apply that knowledge to future experimental and research design involving extrinsic neuromodulatory methods.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Discuss the basis of neuromodulation and synaptic plasticity through a detailed knowledge of the underlying cellular mechanisms;

■ Evaluate mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and neuromodulation; 

■ Critically evaluate contemporary literature in this field and assimilate for the purpose of future experimental/research design;

■ Assess current experimental techniques and strategies in this area and evaluate approaches to experimental design;

■ Develop, discuss and justify novel research questions around the themes of neuromodulation and plasticity.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.