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CODE 98803
ACADEMIC YEAR 2024/2025
CREDITS
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR BIO/06
LANGUAGE English
TEACHING LOCATION
  • GENOVA
SEMESTER 1° Semester
TEACHING MATERIALS AULAWEB

OVERVIEW

The teaching “Developmental Neurobiology (with Laboratory)” addresses some advanced aspects of the development of the nervous system and sensory organs in classical and non-conventional animal models.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Gain insight into the cellular and molecular developmental mechanisms in some experimental models (Drosophila, Caenorhabditis elegans, ascidians, amphioxus, zebrafish, Xenopus, chicken, mouse, human). Knowledge of differentiation processes in both embryos and adults.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

The teaching aims at providing the student with advanced knowledge of Developmental Neurobiology. The tissue, cellular, molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying the differentiation and morphogenesis of nervous tissue in animal group models will be analysed.

To this end, the main basic and advanced methods for the analysis of the organization and development of the nervous system of different animals are discussed.

The expected learning outcomes are:

1. Knowledge and understanding:

a. Knowledge of the terminology of the discipline;

b. Knowledge of research methods in developmental (neuro)biology;

c. Knowledge of the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to the development of the nervous system in different animal models;

2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding:

a. Integrating the notions on the development of the nervous system in the broader framework of embryogenesis and physiology.

b. Understanding how alterations in developmental mechanisms can generate malformations and diseases affecting the nervous system.

3. Soft skills:

  1. The knowledge acquired is an indispensable cultural baggage for the full understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of the nervous system.
  2. The Jornal Clubs will give the student the opportunity to structure a talk and present data to both peers and experts in the field, preparing them for future conferences or similar events.

PREREQUISITES

Basic notions of Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology and Developmental Biology.

TEACHING METHODS

The teaching consists of 48 hours divided between lectures and laboratory activities. The lectures are carried out with the aid of slideshows. Some of the lectures will be conducted in the form of seminars held by experts in the field. Some lessons will be organized in the form of a Journal Club, in which the students will present scientific articles chosen by the teacher.

Due to emergency situations that prevent face-to-face lessons from being held, it is possible that the lessons will be carried out through the Microsoft Teams platform.

Any Student with documented Specific Learning Disorders (SLD), or with any special needs, shall reach out to the Lecturer(s) and to the dedicated SLD Representative in the Department before class begins, in order to liase and arrange the specific teaching methods and ensure proper achievement of the learning aims and outcomes.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

Comparative neuroanatomy of the adult and developing nervous system of different groups of vertebrates and of selected invertebrates.

Drosophila – Development, neurogenesis and patterning

C. elegans – Development, neurogenesis and patterning

Vertebrates – Neural induction, anteroposterior and dorsoventral patterning of the central nervous system, neurogenesis and cortical histogenesis, neuronal and glial differentiation, neuromesodermal precursors and secondary neurulation, cranial placodes and neural crests, adult neurogenesis and neural regeneration

Neural migration, neurite outgrowth and target selection

Synaptogenesis, electrical development of the neuron and the synapses, neurotransmitters as developmental signals, GABA switch

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

The teaching material will be made available on the AulaWeb page of the course, together with scientific articles and reviews. In addition, parts of the following textbooks can be used as a reference for the preparation of the exam:

  • Luo. Principles of Neurobiology (2nd ed.). Garland Science – Italian edition: Luo. Principi di Neurobiologia. Zanichelli
  • Bianchi. The Developing Brain and its Connections. CRC Press
  • Wolpert, Tickle, Martinez Arias. Principles of Development (6th ed.). Oxford University Press – Italian edition: Wolpert, Tickle, Martinez Arias. Biologia dello Sviluppo (2a ed.). Zanichelli
  • Gilbert, Barresi. Developmental Biology (11th ed.). Sinauer Associates Inc. – Italian edition: Gilbert, Barresi. Biologia dello Sviluppo (5a ed.). Zanichelli

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

LESSONS

LESSONS START

For the beginning of the lessons consult the website https://easyacademy.unige.it/portalestudenti/

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy

EXAMS

EXAM DESCRIPTION

Oral exam consisting of 3 or 4 questions spanning the topics of the lessons. The typical duration is 30-45 minutes and English is the language used.

It is possible that emergency situations prevent the exam from being carried out in attendance. In this case, the exam might be conducted online using the Microsoft Teams platform.

For cases with certification of DSA, disability or other special educational needs, the University legislation and regulations on disability and DSA apply (https://unige.it/disabilita-dsa/studenti-disabilit%C3% A0-normative).  See also the "Further information" section of this page.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

The oral exam aims at assessing the acquisition of notions, comprehension of the processes, and appropriate use of scientific jargon. The student must prove to be able to integrate the notions learned during this course with his preexisting knowledge of Biology and Biotechnology. The ability to logically structure an answer and present the arguments plainly will also be evaluated. When the requirements are not met, the student is invited to deepen the study and, eventually, to make use of further explanations from the teacher.