BIOL 514 (Winter)

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

(Cross-listed with PSYC 514)

3 credits (3-0-6)
BIOL 306 or NEUR 310 or NSCI 201 or PHGY 311 or permission of instructor. Enrolment limited to 10 students
PSYC 514      
Properties of nerve cells that are responsible for learning and memory. Recent advances in the understanding of neurophysiological, biochemical and structural processes relevant to neural plasticity in adult animals.  Emphasis on a few selected model systems involving both vertebrate and invertebrate species. 

Topics to be covered include the following:

1) Electrophysiology of synaptic plasticity, principally long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD).  Events that induce synaptic modifications; hebbian synapses; mechanisms that change synaptic strength; metaplasticity.

2) Intracellular signaling pathways. Ions, kinases, transcription factors and other molecules that mediate changes in synaptic transmission.

3) Memory consolidation and reconsolidation. Why some memories quickly fade and other memories can last a lifetime.  Gene expression; receptor trafficking

4) Morphological plasticity. Do memories require the growth of existing synapses, the generation of new synapses, changes in dendritic structure or the appearance of new neurons?

5) Specificity of learning. How certain synapses can be modified by stimuli while other synapses on the same postsynaptic cell remain unaffected.

6) Memory deficits, memory changes and memory enhancement; commercial and medical applications.

Students are expected to have read the articles before class and to be prepared for a critical discussion in class.
There is no text. Articles for discussion are posted on Web CT.

Participation in discussion, written assignment, final presentation

Last update: March 25, 2019

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