NEUR30010 Principles of Nervous System Development

Academic Year 2024/2025

This module forms part of the core curriculum for the BSc degree in Neuroscience. The course introduces the development of the nervous system at a molecular, cellular and systems level along with core underlying principles. We outline the anatomical growth and division of the brain and its driving forces such as gene expression, developmental signalling and cell population expansion, and consider questions such as neural induction, polarity/segmentation, differentiation, cell migration, axon growth/guidance, target selection, synapse formation/maturation and neuronal maintenance. Also, general properties of inter- and intra- cellular signaling and communication relevant to neurons will be outlined. The course also contains a number of practicals, where students will be introduced to brain anatomy as well as a 2-day animal development practial where students will follow the development of frog embryos from fertilisation to neurulation.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to: (1) Explain the anatomical development of the nervous system from flies to man. (2) Describe fundamental molecular and cellular processes underling nervous system and brain development. (3) Explain in detail the development and connectivity of systems such as the cortex. (4) Possess a good understanding of cellular signaling and communication processes relevant to neurons. (5) Acquire laboratory skills in the anatomy and development of the central nervous system. (6) Acquire skills in the writing up of practical reports in a clear and scientific manner.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Conversation Class




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures; home essay; 1 day lab practical on zebrafish development 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students must have taken NEUR20050 or equivalent

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Principles of nervous system (BMOL20040), Nervous System Development (NEUR20040)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Quizzes/Short Exercises: Spot MCQ at the end of 3 random lectures throughout the course (note that the week timings shown are solely indicative and not fixed). n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Group Work Assignment: Research a topic related to the course, provide notes and deliver a group presentation n/a Graded No


Exam (In-person): Exit exam. n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment(Including Essay): Write up of laboratory practical on animal development n/a Graded No


Exam (In-person): Mid term MCQ n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Carmel Hensey Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Niamh O'Sullivan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer