2022 Advanced Neuroscience

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Life Science and Technology
Ichinose Hiroshi  Suzuki Takashi  Miyashita Eizo  Akama Hiroyuki  Nonomura Keiko 
Class Format
Lecture    (Livestream)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon1-2()  Thr1-2()  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

The topics covered in this course will include: molecular mechanisms underlying the development of the brain, axonal growth, neuronal circuit formation which are the bases for the high cognitive function of the neuronal circuit; molecular/neuronal mechanisms of perception, especially specialized receptors detecting specific type of stimuli and information processing in vision, hearing, touch/pain, smell or taste: brain processing of coordination of movements, voluntary and involuntary movements; language acquisition and brain areas, non-invasive functional imaging methods of the brain; pathology and symptoms of mental diseases, physiological mechanisms that triggers the onset of the neuronal diseases.
The aim of the course is to provide a comprehensive overview of the high cognitive function of the brain and its breakdown. This course is an advanced development of the course, "Basic Neuroscience", which also referred to the book, Kandel's 'Principles of Neural Science'.
The course will demonstrate that, in the developmental neurobiology field, numerous molecular and cellular mechanisms have been found in the past two decades, and the findings have profoundly advanced our knowledge of neuronal differentiation and circuit formation as a common principle that is well conserved among species.
Next, we will discuss the molecular/neuronal basis of perception, including vision, touch and smell. Those and other senses are the origins of human experience and knowledge of the world. The classes will cover the molecular features of receptors specialized to detect specific type of stimuli and mechanisms of signal transduction/transmission among sensory organs, sensory neurons and the brain.
The feedback mechanisms that underlie the control of the sensory inputs and motoneurons will be also discussed, taking eye movement and locomotion as familiar examples. We also provide an overview of the language acquisition, and discuss the underlying complex neuronal processing that enables us to speak. Application of fMRI machine as a non-invasive brain functional imaging tool, will be discussed. The last part of the series will focus on a 'sick' brain, which overall results from the breakdown of the high cognitive function of the 'normal' brain. We discuss their pathology and symptoms of the mental diseases which leads to an comprehensive understanding. This will provide an opportunity for the students to tackle this problem in future, which is recognized as one of the major social problems.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) understand the molecular mechanisms of the development and higher order cognitive skills of our brain.
2) understand the molecular/neuronal mechanisms of perception, including detection of stimuli by specialized receptors, signal transduction/transmission among sensory organs, sensory neurons and the brain.
3) understand that learning about our brain leads to the understanding of the basis of consciousness and volition of ourselves.
4) understand that the brain science will be able to contribute to the public society.

In concrete, the students will be able to explain:
1) Neuronal differentiation, Neuronal circuit formation, Formation and refinement of the synapse, regeneration of the central nervous system.
2) Variety of specialized receptors employed by sensory systems, the features of sensory neurons and neuronal processing of in the brain.
3) Control of the movement such as spinal reflexes, the control of gaze, locomotion, Postural equilibrium and orientation, voluntary movement.
4) Language acquisition, non-invasive functional imaging of the brain by fMRI and its further applications
5) The etiology of neuro-developmental disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease.
As a result, students will create an 'index cabinet', which will be useful when confronted by neuron related problems in future.


Brain, Nervous system, Neuronal Circuit formation, Synaptic Plasticity, Central nervous system regeneration, Sensory neurons, Receptors, Vision, Auditory system, Touch/Pain sensation, Smell, Taste, Reflection, Gaze movement, Locomotion, Voluntary movement, Involuntary movement, Language circuits, Neuronal disease, Learning and memory, Mental disorders

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

This class is a live-class provided by Zoom. In the first half of the class, a summary of the previous lecture will be provided followed by questions to emphasize the take-home message. In the last part, the main points will be discussed in detail. Students are asked to prepare for the class and review.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Neuronal development and behaviour1 - Pattern formation and differentiation of neurons Understand the processes of neuronal differentiation, considering the types of proteins and cellular processes. Will be able to explain the cell fate lineage by introducing transcription, asymmetric cell division and cell-cell communication. (Refer to the chapters 52, 53 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 2 Neuronal development and behaviour2 - Axonal growth and synapse formation Understand how neuron can grow its axons, can recognize that it reached the target and form synapses, by introducing a number of proteins. (Refer to the chapters 54, 55 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 3 Neuronal development and behaviour3 - Refinement of synapses During development, synapses undergo refinement, which involves an activity-dependent competition and pruning. Explain the underlying mechanisms by molecular terms. (Refer to the chapters 56 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 4 Perception 1 – Sensory neurons, receptors and touch/pain sensation Understand the features of sensory neurons and receptors, and the underlying mechanisms of touch/pain sensation.
Class 5 Perception 2 - Vision Understand how visual processing happens on the retina (low-level processing) and in the brain (intermediate and high-level processing)
Class 6 Perception 3- Auditory system, Smell and Taste Understand the molecular and neuronal mechanisms of hearing (auditory system), smell and taste.
Class 7 Recent advances in the etiology of Parkinson's disease and neurodegenerative disorders Understanding the pathology and etiology of Parkinson's disease, familial Parkinson's disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Class 8 Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, the etiology of familial Alzheimer's disease. Understand the pathology of Alzheimer's disease and the etiology of familial Alzheimer's disease.
Class 9 Pathology and drug action for mood disorders, schizophrenia, pervasive developmental disorder Understanding the drugs used for treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Class 10 Motion control 1: the organization of movement and spinal reflexes Understand the organization of movement as elements of input, output, and feedback, and the neural mechanism of spinal reflexes. (Refer to chapters 33 and 35 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 11 Motion control 3: locomotion and posture control Understand the central pattern generator controlling locomotion and the mechanism of posture control in view of integration of multimodal sensory information. (Refer to chapters 36 and 41 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 12 Motion control 4: voluntary movement Understand the neural mechanism of adaptive voluntary movement. (Refer to chapters 37 and 38 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 13 Language and brain 1: language center and distributed processing Understand multiple functional levels that language has as its fundamental categories, several brain regions involved in language processing, especially the structure and function of language areas of Broca and Wernicke (Refer to chapter 60)
Class 14 Language and brain 2: language acquisition and loss Understand the patterns of child language acquisition, the organization of language processing in bilinguals, and the mechanisms of aphasia, impairment of language functions (Refer to chapter 60)

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Not required

Reference books, course materials, etc.

-Eric R. Kandel et al., Principles of Neural Science, Mc Graw Hill
-Bear MF, Connors BW, and Paradiso MA, "Neuroscience -Exploring the Brain-", Wolters Kluwer
-Liqun Luo, Principle of Neurobiology, CRC Press

Assessment criteria and methods

Assessment is based on the exams and/or assignments at each class.

Related courses

  • LAH.T309 : Linguistics C
  • LST.A346 : Basic Neuroscience
  • HCB.M461 : Laboratory Training on Human Brain Functions and Their Measurements
  • LST.A362 : Evolution and Developmental Biology
  • LST.A406 : Molecular Developmental Biology and Evolution

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Students must have successfully completed Basic Neuroscience (LST.A346), or have equivalent knowledge.

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