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Unit information: Techniques in Neuroscience in 2021/22

Unit name Techniques in Neuroscience
Unit code PHPH20007
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Bortolotto
Open unit status Not open

PHPH10012: Introduction to Neuroscience or PHPH10013: Functional Neuroanatomy



School/department School of Physiology, Pharmacology & Neuroscience
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

During this unit, students will be introduced to the development of the nervous system and mechanisms of communication within the brain. Fundamental techniques used in neuroscience and appreciation of the application of these methods in understanding brain function in health and disease will be considered. Virtual Technique Focus sessions will provide exposure to the current use and application of these techniques in neuroscience research. In addition, group activities will be undertaken to increase confidence in the use of information technology, to enhance relevant communication skills and to develop self-directed and group learning skills.


The aim of the unit is to give insights into techniques used to study the central nervous system.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The unit has been designed to meet the following objectives:

  1. To teach students some of the common techniques and approaches to studying the central nervous system from subcellular structure to the whole brain.
  2. To provide information on how some of these techniques are used to study development and disease.
  3. To provide the students with experience of how some of these techniques are used in a modern research laboratory.


Develop the following skills:

  • Problem solving
  • Group working
  • Self-directed learning
  • Oral presentation
  • Written presentation
  • Information management
  • Time management

Specific learning objectives for individual lectures can be found in the Lecture synopses section of the handbook or will be handed out during the course of the unit.

Teaching Information


These will provide you with the main concepts and information about the topic. You write brief notes on the main points and can ask about anything that you have not understood. This provides you with a framework on which to build notes that will help you revise.


There are 2 types of practical in this unit: Compulsory

  1. Problem based learning (PBL). Each week a problem will be set and discussed. The results from the previous week’s problem will be presented. You will be asked as a group to research the problem set and provide a written report, and a new problem will be introduced.
  2. Technique focus. Each week an eBiolabs virtual practical will be introduced and assessed.

Assessment Information

Coursework 30%:

  • Techniques focus - eBiolabs quizzes (10%)
  • Problem-based learning essay (15%)
  • Problem-based learning sessions – contribution to discussions (5%)

End of unit assessment 70%:

  1. Short answer/MCQ paper (20%)
  2. Essay paper (50%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHPH20007).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.