Course Objective

Upon successful completion of this course the student:
- knows the anatomical parts of the central and peripheral nervous
system and can explain their primary functions.
- can explain how electrical pulses are generated, propagated and
transmitted by neurons.
- can explain how neurotransmission is mediated and can analyse how
toxins and drugs can affect synaptic transmission.
- can explain how the nervous system evolved and how neuron-glia
interaction can modulate synaptic plasticity.
- can explain the neuronal processing of the somatosensory system and
can explain how the senses (sight, smell, taste and hearing) translate
external input into electrical stimulation of neurons.
- can explain how the nervous system and endocrine system affect
- can explain how the brain mediates the circadian rhythm.
- knows the brain areas involved in speech and language and can analyse
which areas might be affected in patients with a speech/language

Course Content

Have you always wondered how your brain actually works? How cells can
pass on information and how you actually register that food is salty or
sweet? These questions, and many more, will be covered in the course

In this course comprises three parts:

1: Brain anatomy
Here you will learn about various different parts of the central and
peripheral nervous system. This part consists of lectures, a homework
assignment where you work with a digital atlas of the human brain and
two practicals in which you will dissect the human and calf brain.
Finally, you can test your knowledge in a "power-repeat" quiz-based

2: Action potentials and synaptic transmission
In this part we will study brain function on the cellular level, how
neurons transmit information. You will learn how fundamental ions like
sodium and potassium carry much of our highly complex thoughts and
emotions and you will learn how signals between cells can be
transmitted and modulated. Furthermore, you will record real action
potentials from the axon of a worm and here you can also test your
knowledge in a quiz-based "power-repeat".

3. Brain as part of the organism
The third part zooms out and couples brain function to everyday
functions such as speaking, seeing, feeling pain or stress and your
day-night cycle, the circadian rhythm. You will learn in different
lectures how the cellular principles of part 2 underlie complex
behaviour that you experience everywhere around you.

Teaching Methods

Lectures: 33 hours
Practicals: 7 hours (mandatory)
Homework assignment: 4 hours (mandatory)

Method of Assessment

Exam: multiple choice test (100% of final grade)
Participation and contribution to the practicals and homework assignment
are mandatory and need be completed to sufficient standard to receive a
final grade. When you can not make it to the practical due to an
emergency/medical reason, report this to the tutor in advance.


Neuroscience, International 6th edition by Purves et al. Oxford
University Press, ISBN: 9781605358413

Target Audience

2nd year BSc students of the Biomedical Sciences and Biology curriculum

Custom Course Registration

Standard registration through VUnet.

Explanation Canvas

All communication, including the organisation of the practicals, will be
handled through Canvas.

General Information

Course Code AB_1200
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator J.R.T. van Weering BSc
Examiner dr. J.R.T. van Weering
Teaching Staff dr. H.K.E. Vervaeke
dr. M.H.G. Verheijen
dr. K. Linkenkaer Hansen
dr. C.P.J. de Kock
dr. J.R.T. van Weering

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Computer lab, Practical, Education
Target audiences

This course is also available as: