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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

  • ever wondered where your brain comes from?;
  • this course merges cutting edge developmental biology, neuroscience, and cellular physiology to describe how the nervous system arises and gets ‘wired up’;
  • the bewildering arrays of cells in the nervous system interconnect in highly specific ways. Here you will learn what dictates neuronal cell fate, how neurons find appropriate partners and how cells communicate to generate behaviour;
  • in addition to lectures from dynamic researchers and anatomical dissection sessions, this course will hone core skills for basic scientists and medics through group presentation work, independent library research and scientific writing

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Ann Rajnicek

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of Intercalating (Studied) or AN3008 Tissue Organisations (Passed) or AN3009 Architecture of Life (Passed)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Either Intercalating (Studied) or BM2509 Human Anatomy B (Passed)
  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course considers development of the nervous system in a broad context. Topics include the initial establishment of the nervous system in an embryo, the birth and migration of nerve cells, nerve growth and guidance mechanisms, synapse formation, and development of the eye and brain cortex. Discussion of nervous system plasticity encompasses stem cells and regeneration following injury or disease. Students will also develop an understanding of how to undertake human cadaveric dissection and the issues surrounding such work.

Further Information & Notes

This course is restricted to students on the degree of BSc Biomedical Sciences. Students taking this course may not register for PY 4302.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour essay examination (70%) and in-course assessment (30%).

Continuous assessment comprises: group presentation, dissection, 1 essay (1,000 words).

Formative Assessment

- Practice exam questions on MyAberdeen - Tutorial sessions for group work - Regular marks given over 4 week period so students are aware of quality of dissection skills.


- Essays will be marked with written comments. - Tutor assessment of oral group presentation with written comments. - Written comments provided to each student on their written summary of the group work. - Example essay circulated to entire class to help them avoid problems and encourage strengths/skills.

Course Learning Outcomes


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