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Unit information: Neuroscience of Pain in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Neuroscience of Pain
Unit code PHPH30017
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Tony Pickering
Open unit status Not open

PHPH20009: Neurophysiology, PHPH20010: Developmental Physiology of the Specialized Cell


Concepts and Skills Research Project or Grant Proposal

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

Description including Unit Aims

Students will study advanced topics in the neuroscience of pain through a series of seminars. The unit aims to develop an understanding of key concepts in the neuroscience of pain including:

  • The roles of different classes of primary afferent neuron in acute and chronic pain
  • The role of glial signalling in pain
  • The role of spinal processing in pain perception
  • The roles of central and descending pathways in modulating pain perception
  • The clinical aspects of neuropathic pain and potential therapeutic approaches

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • An in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of selected aspects of the neuroscience of pain, with an ability to keep up-to-date with recent developments in the field.
  • The ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature and to critically evaluate the material and appraise competing theories.
  • An appreciation of the clinical challenges associated with neuropathic pain

Teaching Information


Assessment Information

The unit will be assessed through one 3-hour summative examination in May/June, which consists of two sections. In section A (50%), students will be expected to answer one essay question from a choice of 3, which will assess their knowledge and critical understanding of the field, and their ability to gather information from the primary scientific literature. In section B (50%), students will be expected to answer one multi-part compulsory question requiring the critical analysis of a scientific paper, which will assess their ability to critically evaluate material and apply their knowledge to experimental or clinical contexts. This is preceded by a formative paper review exercise in November using the same format.

Reading and References

Reviews and key references from the current scientific literature