2017 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 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon1-2(J221,W831)  Thr1-2(J221,W831)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
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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; 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. 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 that learning about our brain leads to the understanding of the basis of consciousness and volition of ourselves.
3) 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) Control of the movement such as spinal reflexes, the control of gaze, locomotion, Postural equilibrium and orientation, voluntary movement.
3) language acquisition, non-invasive functional imaging of the brain by fMRI and its further applications
4) Schizophrenia, anxiety and mood disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and mechanisms of learning and memory.
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, 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

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 Neuronal development and behaviour4 - Repairing the damaged brain The central nervous system is not able to regenerate after injury. Why is it so? Explain the recently found molecular mechanism. (Refer to the chapter 57 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 5 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 6 Motion control 2: eye movements Understand the neural mechanism of gaze control by eye movements. (Refer to the chapter 39 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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)
Class 11 Language and brain 3:brain functional neuroimaging (fMRI) Understand the mechanism and the device of functional neuroimaging (fMRI), its effectiveness and limits. Understand the mecahnism and the device of functional neuroimaging (fMRI), its effectiveness and limits. Students should get the knowledge of how to use the fMRI Facility of the School of Life Science and Technology.(Refer to chapter 20)
Class 12 Mechanisms of our mind and mental diseases - Neurodegenerative diseases Understand the pathological and molecular-biological knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases. Understand the strength, success and limitations of the animal models. Explain the novel treatment development based on recent findings from the molecular mechanisms of disease onset.
Class 13 Mechanisms of our mind and mental diseases - Schizophrenia Understand the diagnosis for Schizophrenia, and its genetic and non-genetic risk factors. Understand the recent advance in the knowledge for the cause of the disease, such as a theory that shows neuroanatomical defects may be one of the factors. (Refer to the chapter 62 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 14 Mechanisms of our mind and mental diseases - Disorders of mood and anxiety The disorders in mood and anxiety will be explained taking unipolar depression and bipolar disorder as examples. There are genetic and non-genetic risk factors here as well, and there is a common tendency that patients are not capable of treating fear properly. Understand the logic of chemical treatments to face the disease. (Refer to the chapter 63 in Principles of Neural Science.)
Class 15 Mechanisms of our mind and mental diseases -Learning and memory Understand the principles of learning and memory. Explain what is short-term, long-term, explicit and implicit, episodic or semantic, working and spatial memories? Understand varieties of memory forms and their difference in the mechanisms of memorizing and recalling procedures.(Refer to the chapter 65 in Principles of Neural Science.)


Not required

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Eric R. Kandel et al., Principles of Neural Science, Mc Graw Hill

Assessment criteria and methods

Assessment is based on the exams and/or reports at the end of 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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