Skip to main content

Unit information: Neuroscience of Pain in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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




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 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 a 3-hour summative examination in May/June, which contributes 90% of the unit mark and 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 assessing data handling/data interpretation and experimental design skills. The remaining 10% of the unit mark will come from completing coursework. The coursework will be either an essay, data interpretation or experimental design question of a similar format to that used in the summative exam.

Reading and References

Reviews and key references from the current scientific literature