Curriculum & Course Descriptions


BS3001 Neurobiology

Course Coordinators: Assistant Professor Albert I. CHEN (email:,
                                       Assistant Professor Ayumu TASHIRO (email:

Academic Unit: 3 AU

Availability: Semester 1


Course Type: BS-Major-PE, BMS-Major-PE

Language of instruction: English

Teaching hours:  Lectures: 25 hours; Tutorials: 13 hours

Learning Objective: Objectives will be for students to obtain a basic understanding of the components of the nervous system in humans and other vertebrates. They will learn basic mechanisms of neuronal transmission and electrophysiology, neurochemistry, perception, cognition, and learning.


  • What is the basic anatomy of the nervous system?
  • What are the individual parts (neurons, glia, sensory receptors)?
  • What molecules and physical processes are involved in nerve cell communication?
  • What are the molecules and chemistry behind emotions & behavior?
  • How do our senses interpret the complex world? Detailed examples from somatosensation and vision.
  • Cutting edge technology for controlling neuronal activity with light: optogenetics
  • What changes do neurons undergo during learning and memory?
  • How does the brain process emotion and fear?

Learning Outcome: Students should come out of the course with an understanding of nerve cell biology, function, and electrophysiology. They should understand how electric transmission in nerve cells works, and know the basic molecules involved (neurotransmitters, receptors, ion channels). Additionally, they should have a grasp of key mechanisms that operate in sensory perception, as well as determination of emotional states.


  • “Neuroscience”, 4th Edition, D. Purves, G. Augustine, et al, eds.
  • “Principles of Neural Science”, 4th Edition, E. Kandel, J.H. Schwartz, and T.M. Jessel eds.
  • "In Search of Memory", E. Kandel, chapters 11 & 14

*Prerequisites for Incoming Exchange Students: Equivalent of Year 2 or Higher Biology or Biotechnology major