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Unit information: Gene Expression in the Brain in 2015/16

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Unit name Gene Expression in the Brain
Unit code MEDIM7003
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Murphy
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Medical School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The sequencing of the human genome is one of the greatest achievements of our civilization. We now know that to make a human being requires about 30,000 genes; fewer than we expected, but still quite a lot. The next step is to find out what all of these genes do in terms of the integrated functions, and importantly, the inevitable dysfunctions, of the human organism. We already have the basic gene manipulation and analysis technologies to do this, and, in the coming years, their industrial scale application will provide humanity with a detailed understanding, and hence control, of its physical destiny.

The Aim of this Unit is to equip the student with an understanding of these developments. Students will be fully cognizant of the latest discoveries in the area of molecular biology and gene regulation in the brain.

The following areas will be covered:

  1. Basic nucleic acid and protein biochemistry
  2. Methods in molecular biology - gene cloning and analysis
  3. Genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics
  4. Gene regulation in mammalian cells
  5. The regulation of gene expression by cell specific and physiological cues
  6. Manipulating the mammalian genome - transgenic mammals and gene knockouts
  7. Somatic gene transfer, viral vectors
  8. Gene therapy
  9. The application of the above to the study of complex biological systems such as learning and memory.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit the student will have a basic knowledge of the field of genetics in neuroscience and will be able to discuss current and anticipated research at the frontiers of the subject.

Further, the student will be encouraged to develop their critical abilities by participation in tutorials and through their private study and reading, which will be assessed through the Unit examination.

Teaching Information

This unit is taught through lectures, tutorials and a practical.

Assessment Information

This unit is assessed through a combination of practical and theoretical assignments and a formal written examination.

Reading and References

Selected relevant review papers from the literature.