Summary: BIO 338 "From Synapse to Circuit: Selforganisation of the Brain"
Exploration of basic neural and synaptic mechanisms and the operation of
representative brain circuits, using both theoretical approaches and experimental
evidence. Particular attention will be given to Hebb's Rule ("cells that fire together,
wire together"), its cellular basis, its consequences for circuit selforganisation, and
its limits. The course is aimed at anyone with curiosity about the brain, who is
willing to tackle a range of reading, including original research papers. A solid
background in a mathematical, physical or biological science is desirable, though
the course will be largely selfcontained.
The course is NOT a general introduction to neuroscience. Although we will
consider some specific parts of the brain, the focus will be on general
concepts, particularly on how "high level" properties of the brain (such as
"mind") emerge from the interaction of vast numbers of "low level" units
such as neurons, synapses and molecules.
Please note that we will use some basic mathematics (statistics, exponential
function, a bit of calculus, simple linear algebra). All concepts will be
illustrated graphically, but if you are mathphobic please consider carefully
before taking the course.
Professor Paul Adams, Room 574, Life sciences Building. Email: