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Cellular Neurobiology:

Contact instructor for class dates, times and meeting locations
Course Director: Ruth Heidelberger, M.D., Ph.D. and Michael Beierlein, Ph.D.

Neurobiology and Anatomy > Courses > Cellular Neurobiology: Biophysics

Course Description

This course provides an upper level graduate treatment on  the physiology and biophysics of nerve cell signaling.  Topics to be covered include measurement and analysis of single events from ion channels to synaptic vesicle fusion, synaptic transmission and the relationship between calcium signaling and synaptic vesicle dynamics, short-term synaptic plasticity, and postsynaptic integration.  Topics will be presented using a combination of didactic lectures and the discussion of original research articles, with much of the emphasis on the latter.  This format facilitates a quantitative understanding of the subject matter in the context of experimental design and analysis.  In addition, it teaches students how to critically evaluate scientific literature in the field. Each student is expected to give one or two presentations of an original research article, depending upon class size, and take part in all discussions.

The course is intended for students in the Neuroscience program and for other interested students who have taken the Cellular Neurophysiology Course, or the equivalent.

Course Requirements

Students are expected to attend all classes.

Grades will be based on three, non-cumulative exams and in-class participation.

Exams will be in a take-home format and will test basic knowledge and the ability to use basic knowledge to address scientific questions.

Required Textbook

This course is primarily a literature-based course, thus there is no required textbook.  However, students may find the following resources helpful:

  1. Foundations of Cellular Neurophysiology by Daniel Johnston and Samuel Miao-sin Wu. MIT Press (ISBN 0-262-10053-3). This textbook can be ordered through the UTHealth Bookstore. Also available at the Baylor College of Medicine Bookstore, or online at
  2. The Physiology of Excitable Cells, Fourth Edition  by David J. Aidley.  Cambridge University Press. (ISBN-10: 0521574218).  This book is available online at  There are also copies available at the M.D. Anderson and TMC libraries.

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