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Course information for NPB 100, Summer Session II, 2018

NPB 100 is designed to give students a foundation in Neurobiology. The course is

designed for those who already have a solid background in biology, chemistry and
physics; students without this background will need additional outside reading early in
the quarter to catch up.

Course instructor: Hwai-Jong Cheng, MD, PhD hjcheng@ucdavis.edu

Course TA: Eric Miller ebmiller@ucdavis.edu

Office hours:

Hwai-Jong Cheng: Briggs 197

Monday 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Eric Miller: SLB (Science Lab Building) 2041A

Friday 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

If you cannot make it to office hours, we can arrange to meet right before or after class.

From Neuron to Brain by John Nicholls, et al. (5th edition) or (4th edition).

The course web site is available via Canvas.
Lecture notes, discussion handouts, homework problem sets, etc. will be posted on the
web. Please don’t forget to bring the lecture notes to the class.

Reading and homework assignments are listed in the lecture schedule. Please be sure to
complete assignments BEFORE the lecture or discussion for which they are assigned.

Each student will be assigned a grade based on one midterm and one final exam. The
midterm will count for 40% of the grade, and the final exam will count for 60%. Grades
will be curved to a C+/B- mean. However, if the class as a whole is exceptional, the
curving can be more generous.

Exams will be cumulative and will cover material from required reading, homework, and
discussion sections, as well as from lectures.

NPB 100, Summer Session II, 2018, Cheng

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No makeup midterm and final exam will be given. If you must miss the midterm or
final, you must discuss this PRIOR to the exam with Dr. Cheng (48 hours before the
examination). If you have missed the exam due to sudden illness you must present a note
from your doctor. If you miss the midterm with an approved excuse your course grade
will be calculated ignoring that midterm.

If you miss the midterm or final exam WITHOUT an approved excuse you will be
assigned a grade of 0 (zero) for that midterm or final exam.

If you feel the midterm or final exam has been graded unfairly, you can submit a written
request to the instructor or TA with an explanation of what you think was incorrect
and why. This generally must be done within 1 week (or shorter) after the exams are
returned. The entire exam will be re-graded. Any other grading errors found either
against or in your favor will be counted. Thus, submit at your own risk. Neither the
instructor nor the TA will discuss the specific grading of individual exams; only
written requests and justifications will be accepted.

UCD Code of Academic Conduct: sja.ucdavis.edu/cac.html


Tuesday 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Discussion sections:

NPB100-A01 EM NPB100-A02 EM
Wed 1:10 – 2:50 pm Wed 3:10 – 4:50 pm

Course learning objectives and desired outcomes:

These are the desired learning objectives for this class.

This is a summary of the major themes and concepts that you will learn if you take this
class and study appropriately, but NOT a guide of how to study for exams.

(1) To understand the morphology of nervous system cells and how this and their cell
biology relate to function.
(2) To understand how electrical and chemical forces work to generate and change
membrane potential.

NPB 100, Summer Session II, 2018, Cheng

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(3) To understand the meaning of, differences between, and how neuroscientists use
equilibrium potentials, resting membrane potential, action potential, post-synaptic
potentials, receptor potentials and reversal potentials.
(4) To understand and be able to predict how the membrane potential will change when a
given ion channel opens or closes (including handling novel conditions).
(5) To understand how the properties of ion channel relate to neural function.
(6) To understand I-V curves and understand the relationships of the slope, x-intercept,
and curve shape to channel and membrane properties (such as voltage-gating,
conductance, and reversal potentials).
(7) To learn what physical properties of cells cerate membrane resistance, internal
resistance and capacitance (passive electrical properties) and how these properties
relate to how voltage changes as a function of time and location on a cell.
(8) To understand the differences between active and passive electrical properties, that
both are always going on at all times at all locations of a cell, and to learn how to
determine which property dominates at a given location, and therefore can be used
to predict the membrane voltage.
(9) To understand the structure of a synapse, and the sequence of events that lead to
neurotransmission and post-synaptic potentials.
(10) To learn the different classes of neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter receptors.
(11) To understand how connectivity, intrinsic cellular properties, and synaptic properties
contribute to the behavior of two to several interconnected neurons, and that a
neuron in a circuit can electrically behave very different than it would in isolation.
(12) To understand how the functioning of a simple circuit relates to behavior.
(13) To understand that to predict the behavior of neurons in a circuit that modeling
sometimes is necessary, and that the assumptions of the model are key to the
predicted behavior.
(14) To understand the concept and several mechanisms of sensory transduction.
(15) To understand receptive fields, tuning functions, maps, and spatial activity in the
brain and how they are related and how they are different.
(16) To understand basic properties of neural coding.
(17) To learn the concepts of parallel and hierarchical organization as well as anatomical
divergence and convergence.
(18) To understand the concept of behavioral and neural plasticity and some examples of
mechanisms that can underlie plasticity.
(19) To understand the stages of development, examples of selected underlying
mechanism, and the roles of genes, cellular environment, and the environment
outside of the animal in development, learning and plasticity
(20) To understand the areas and functions of the human brain.

NPB 100, Summer Session II, 2018, Cheng

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Note: This is a tentative schedule. Professor Cheng will finish one topic before he
continues to the next. The lecture topics are likely to be moved to earlier or later time
point, depending on the interactions in class. The required reading section indicates
chapters or pages in the textbook.

Lecture 1 Introduction
5th edition: Chapter 1 and Chapter 10 (pp 160-169)
4th edition: Chapter 1 and Chapter 8 (pp 134-143)

Lecture 2 Ion channels

5th edition: Chapter 4
4th edition: Chapter 2

Discussion 1 (Physics review)
Discussion 2 (Homework 1)

Lecture 3 Channel structure
5th edition: Chapter 5 and 9
4th edition: Chapter 3 and 4

Lecture 4 Resting membrane potential

5th edition: Chapter 6
4th edition: Chapter 5

Lecture 5 Action potentials
5th edition: Chapter 7
4th edition: Chapter 6

Lecture 6 Propagation and integration of electrical signals

5th edition: Chapter 8
4th edition: Chapter 7

NPB 100, Summer Session II, 2018, Cheng

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Discussion 3 (Homework 2)
Discussion 4 (Homework 3)

Lecture 7 Transmitter release
5th edition: Chapter 13
4th edition: Chapter 11

Lecture 8 Neurotransmitter
5th edition: Chapter 14 and 15
4th edition: Chapters 13 and 14

Lecture 9 Direct and indirect synaptic transmission
5th edition: Chapters 11 and 12
4th edition: Chapters 9 and 10

Lecture 10 Synaptic plasticity

5th edition: Chapter 16
4th edition: Chapter 12

Lecture 11 Small circuit

5th edition: Chapter 24 (pp 498-511)
4th edition: Chapter 22 (pp 447-462)

Special discussion (Midterm review)

Midterm I (40% of the grade)

Lecture 12 Tritonia swimming behavior
(No required reading)

Lecture 13 Introduction to sensory systems

(No required reading)

NPB 100, Summer Session II, 2018, Cheng

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Lecture 14 Somatosensory system
5th edition: Chapter 10 (pp 386-392) and 21
4th edition: Chapter 18 (pp 355-366)

Discussion 5 (Homework 4)
Discussion 6 (Homework 5)

Lecture 15 Visual system I
5th edition: Chapter 20
4th edition: Chapter 19

Lecture 16 Visual system II

5th edition: Chapters 2 and 3
4th edition: Chapters 20 and 21

Lecture 17 Auditory system I

5th edition: Chapter 19 (pp 392-397) and 22 (pp 454-467)
4th edition: Chapter 18 (pp 366-375)

Lecture 18 Auditory system II
(No required reading)

Lecture 19 Multimodal integration

5th edition: Chapter 26 (pp 581-585)
4th edition: Chapter 25 (pp 567-570)

Lecture 20 Learning and Memory

(No required reading)

Discussion 7 (Homework 6)
Discussion 8 (Homework 7)

NPB 100, Summer Session II, 2018, Cheng

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Lecture 21 Development I - Introduction
(No required reading)

Lecture 22 Development II
5th edition: Chapter 25 (pp 532-547)
4th edition: Chapter 23 (pp 479-496)

Lecture 23 Development III

5th edition: Chapter 25 (pp 547-562) and 26 (pp 566-574)
4th edition: Chapter 23 (pp 497-521)

Lecture 24 Development IV
5th edition: Chapter 27
4th edition: Chapter 24

Lecture 25 Specializations of the Human brain

(No required reading)

Special discussion (Final exam review)

Covers everything
(60% of the grade)

NPB 100, Summer Session II, 2018, Cheng

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