NEUR30080 Neuromuscular and Membrane Biology

Academic Year 2024/2025

This module forms part of the core curriculum for the B.Sc. Neuroscience degree. This module is designed to give an in-depth knowledge of structure and function of neurons, neuronal communication and muscle. Major topics include a) The detailed structure of neurones and muscle cells, b) The biophysical membrane properties of these cells, c) Ion fluxes and permeabilities, d) Synaptic transmission, e) Excitation/contraction coupling and cell signaling. Parallel computer simulated assignments will complement the lecture material in addition to an assignment on muscle function and EMG measurements.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to understand:1. Ion fluxes that generate the resting membrane potential of neurones and muscle cells. 2. The electrical properties of nerve and muscle cells and cannabinoid signalling. 3. Synaptic communication between neurones and muscle cells. 4. The physiology of excitation contraction coupling. 5. Provide experience of computer aided learning, basic physiological experimentation and writing assignment reports in a clear and scientific manner.

Indicative Module Content:

Properties of Ion Channels; Electrical properties of nerve cells; Neural homeostasis; Electrical signalling in neurons; The neuromuscular junction; Synaptic transmission; Mechanisms of smooth and striated muscle contractility; Neurotransmitter release mechanisms; Snare complexes; Myesthemia gravis, tetanus and botulism; Cannabinoid modulation of synaptic transmission, Protein Synthesis in the Nervous system; Microtubules and molecular motors; signaling with in neurons; Signaling within the neuron; Principles of patch clamping

Assignment on measurements of EMG,
Assignments Meta neuron (simulating electrical and synaptic activity in nerve cells.
MCQ mid term examination

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours






Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The course is delivered via a series of lectures. Within lectures there are links to learning tools and animations that students are encouraged to study at home. On-line assignments are provided to compliment the lectures. Data from recordings of experiments using the EMG will be provided for analysis and discussion. Meta Neuron is a computer based practical which can also be accessed off the campus. Some examples from Meta neuron will be presented during lectures to demonstrate how the program works and how measurements of the properties of neurones can be made and the significance of these measurements for neuronal activity..

There are also tutorials in class which are problem based. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Students should have prior learning in modules such as PHYS10020 or equivalent.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Membrane biology (BMOL30080), Membrane biology (PHYS30130)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Report(s): Report on practical conducted on the electromyograph or Meta Neuron in the laboratory n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Exam (In-person): In person, 2 hour examination during the examination period. Students should answer 3 questions from the list provided. n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Practical Skills Assessment: Write up of laboratory work on either Electromyograph or Meta Neuron n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Group Work Assignment: Oral presentation of power point related to a specific topic. This is group work, each group member participates in the presentation and also the answer session n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Exam (In-person): Mid Term Multiple choice examination n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Report(s): Write up of laboratory conducted on Electromyograph or Meta Neuron n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring 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?

Reports are handed in, graded and available to look at when graded. There will be comments made on the graded report.. MCQ: No feed back is provided.

Neuroscience 5th Edition. Editors: Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, Hall, LaMantia and White. Publisher Sinauer

Essentials of Neural Science and Behaviour Editors: Kandel, Schwartz and Jessell Publisher Appelton and Lange
Name Role
Dr Derek Costello Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor John O'Connor Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Niamh O'Sullivan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor John Baugh Tutor
Dr Paula Ventura da Silva Tutor