First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP8085065, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC2445, Degree course structure A.Y. 2018/19, A.Y. 2018/19
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Degree course track Common track
Number of ECTS credits allocated 10.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination NEUROBIOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge DANIELA PIETROBON BIO/09
Other lecturers RODOLFO COSTA

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/09 Physiology 7.0
Core courses BIO/18 Genetics 3.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 9.0 72 153.0 No turn

Start of activities 25/02/2019
End of activities 14/06/2019
Show course schedule 2020/21 Reg.2020 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
2 NEUROBIOLOGY 2019-2020 01/10/2019 27/11/2020 PIETROBON DANIELA (Presidente)
COSTA RODOLFO (Membro Effettivo)
RIVA IRENE (Supplente)
1 NEUROBIOLOGY 2018-2019 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 PIETROBON DANIELA (Presidente)
COSTA RODOLFO (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Physiology, Genetics, Cellular Biology, Molecular biology
Target skills and knowledge: Module A (Prof Pietrobon)
Knowledge of the fundamental principles of the structural and functional organization of the human nervous system.
In depth knowledge of i) the mechanisms of intracellular and intercellular neuronal communication, ii) the molecular and cellular mechanisms of short-term synaptic plasticity and of long-term synaptic plasticity involved in learning and memory, iii) the general functional organization of sensory systems.
Knowledge of the modern electrophysiological, optical and optogenetic techniques for the study of the function and dysfunction of the nervous system.
Module B (Prof Costa)
Specific skills and knowledges in neurogenetics are supplied with particular reference to the field of Molecular Chronobiology.
Examination methods: Module A (Prof Pietrobon)
Written examination with three open questions, which aim to verify, besides the acquired knowledge on relevant topics, the ability of critical discussion and reasoning.
Module B (Prof Costa)
The examination is conducted in written form (open questions). The individual report on the practical experience maturated during the laboratory training is also evaluated.
The final mark is obtained as the weighted mean of the marks of the two modules.
Assessment criteria: Student performances are evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:
1) knowledge and understanding of facts, concepts and principles
2) logic and methodological rigour
3) appropriate descriptive vocabulary is used
Course unit contents: Module A (Prof Pietrobon): 7 CFU (56 hours)of lectures
1. Introduction. 2. anatomical and functional organization of the human nervous system. 3. Electrophysiological and optical techniques for measurement of neuronal electrical activity. Optogenetic techniques for selective stimulation of specific neurons. Examples of applications. 4. Specific firing patterns in different neurons, physiological role and experimental methods to investigate their molecular mechanisms. 5. Techniques for measurement of synaptic transmission.Biophysical and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release; experimental methods for their study. 6. Mechanisms of short-term synaptic plasticity (facilitation, post-tetanic potentiation, depression)and of long-term synaptic plasticity (LTP, LTD, STPD). Learning and memory. 7. General functional organization of sensory systems; in depth discussion of one sensory system.
Module B (Prof Costa): 2 CFU (16 hours) of lectures + 1 CFU (16 hours) of laboratory.
The physiological basis of biological rhythms and the ramifications for the sleep-wake cycle. the normal modulation of circadian cycles and the effects when these are disrupted. The circadian rhythm and its relationship to the sleep/wake cycle examined along with the concepts of photic and nonphotic zeitgebers. Drosophila melanogaster as a Model System for molecular chronobiology. The genetic basis of circadian rhythm generation. The fly’s circadian clock. The mammalian circadian clock. The neurophysiology of the pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nuclei. The genetic basis of circadian rhythm generation. The internal sleep structure is governed by circadian rhythms and these rhythms also impact upon levels of alertness and cognitive performance. General day-time performance and quality of life if these rhythms are disrupted such as with sleep fragmentation or jet lag. The effects of sleep deprivation and shift work. Changes in sleep wake patterns with ageing. Clock related sleep syndroms. Laboratory training: practical exercises are organised to define the chronotype of participants and to explore the hypothesis of a relationship between genetic variability in clock genes and sleep/wake preferences.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Module A (Prof Pietrobon)
The lectures will be given using ppt files with images, schemes, text and references to review and particularly relevant original scientific papers. The aim is to explain how (with which methods and rationale) scientists have obtained a given knowledge-mechanism. The teaching is, as much as possible, interactive, with questions to stimulate the critical participation of students and to verify their understanding of the matter being discussed.
Module B (Prof Costa)
The Laboratory training: practical laboratory sessions are organised to define the chronotype of participants
and to explore the hypothesis of a relationship between genetic variability in clock genes and sleep/wake preferences.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Module A (Prof Pietrobon)
Didactic materials are made available to students via electronic key or on the e-learning platform
Module B (Prof Costa)
Didactic materials for individual work and reading are available on the e-learning platform (https//
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Kandel, Eric R.; Spidalieri, Giuseppe; Perri, Virgilio, Principi di neuroscienzea cura di Eric R. Kandel ...[et al.]. Rozzano: CEA, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Purves D et al, Neuroscienze. --: Zanichelli, 2013. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Roenneberg, Till, Che ora fai?vita quotidiana, cronotipi e jet lag socialeTill Roenneberg. Bari: Dedalo, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education