Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Gender equality

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

This course is a survey of the cellular and molecular biology of the nervous system and is designed to introduce the cell and molecular mechanisms underlying the structure and function of the nervous system.  The course is divided into three general topic areas:  cell biology of the nervous system, molecular mechanisms in the nervous system and their pathological alterations in neurodegenerative diseases. In particular the student will be able to: understand and discuss properly main aspects of nerve physiopathology; use this knowledge for experimental purposes.

Course contents

1. Brief outline of brain anatomy and bioinformatics tools for neuroanatomic study: Brain Atlas.

2. In vitro and in vivo techniques and models in neurobiology: from neuroimaging to cellular models (cell lines, primary cultures, co-cultures, organotypic and IPs cultures) and animal models.

3. Introduction to ethics and communication of science;

4. Cellular neurobiology: cells of the nervous system and their interaction and communication. Biology and physiology of neurons. Oligodendrocytes and myelin sheath. Astrocytes and microglia.

5. Molecular Neurobiology: biochemical, molecular and epigenetic mechanisms of cerebral physiological processes, such as synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. Studies in model systems, such as Aplysia, Drosophila and mammals.

6. Cellular and molecular neurobiology of chronic neurodegenerative diseases: cellular, biochemical, molecular, genetic and epigenetic bases of Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and polyQ diseases and lateral amyotrophic sclerosis (ALS).


Purves D, et al., Neurosciences, 5° ed.

Luo L., Principles of Neurobiology, 1st ed.

Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM. Principle of neurosciences, 4° ed.

Articles and reviews will be provided to supplement these texts.

Teaching methods

The course is organized in groups of lessons of 6 hours/week, 4 of which are frontal lectures on the different topics of cellular and molecular Neurobiology, as indicated in course contents and 2 hours which consist on reading and discussion of scientific papers on the topics covered in the previous week's frontal lessons, when the PDF of the same articles will also be provided to students.

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of an oral interview, divided into two parts, which will be held consecutively in the same day. The first part will consist of the presentation and critical discussion of one of the scientific paperes examined during the course, at student's choice, with the use of support materials. The second part is aimed at the evaluation of the acquisition of knowledge on all the topics covered during the course. The final evaluation will be the average of the marks obtained by the student in the two parts of the exam.

Teaching tools

Power-point presentations for lectures and scientific papers presentation will be used as teaching supports. All teaching material presented in class will be made available to students in electronic format.

Office hours

See the website of Barbara Monti