Cellular Mechanisms of Brain Function

25 parts

This course, arranged by EPFL, aims for a mechanistic description of mammalian brain function at the level of individual nerve cells and their synaptic interactions.

About this course

This course, arranged by EPFL and also available as a MOOC on edX, aims for a mechanistic description of mammalian brain function at the level of individual nerve cells and their synaptic interactions.

Description from the course webpage: Brain and behavior are inextricably linked in neuroscience. The function of the brain is to govern behavior, and the aim of this course is to causally link biophysical mechanisms with simple behaviors studied in mice. The brain processes information through the concerted activity of many neurons, which communicate with each other through synapses organised in highly dynamic networks. The first goal of the course is to gain a detailed understanding of the structure and function of the fundamental building blocks of the mammalian brain, its synapses and neurons. The second goal is to understand neuronal networks, with specific emphasis on the interactions of excitatory glutamatergic and inhibitory GABAergic neurons. The third goal is to place neuronal network function in the context of sensory processing ultimately leading to behavioral decisions and motor output.

What you'll learn

  • Fundamental aspects of neuroscience related to mammalian brain function
  • Biophysical mechanisms of electrical signalling in neurons
  • Synaptic mechanisms underlying neuronal computations
  • Modern methods for studying mammalian brain function in vivo
  • Neuronal network function underlying sensory perception, sensorimotor integration and learning

Introduction to Cellular Mechanisms of Brain Function

Introduction to the course Cellular Mechanisms of Brain Function. Speaker: Carl Petersen

The cell membrane

The composition of the cell membrane. Speaker: Carl Petersen

Ion channels

Ion channels and the movement of ions across the cell membrane. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Membrane potential

How biophysical properties of electrochemical diffusion determine the cell's membrane potential. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Cable properties

Spatiotemporal dynamics of the membrane potential. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Voltage-gated channels

Action potentials, and biophysics of voltage-gated ion channels. Speaker: Carl Petersen

Voltage-gating kinetics

Voltage-gating kinetics of sodium and potassium channels. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

The action potential

The ionic basis of the action potential, including the Hodgkin Huxley model. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Action potential propagation

Action potential initiation and propagation. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Whole-cell recordings

Tutorial: How to make whole-cell recordings from brain slices. Speaker: Semihcan Sermet.

Synaptic transmission

Synaptic transmission and neurotransmitters. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Neurotransmitter release

Neurotransmitter release in the presynaptic specialization. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Presynaptic dynamics

Presynaptic short-term dynamics and plasticity. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Presynaptic modulation

Synaptic modulation through diffusing neurotransmitters. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Structure of synapses

Investigating the structure of synapses with electron microscopy. Speaker: Graham Knott.

Glutamate receptors

Glutamatergic transmission. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Postsynaptic potentials

Glutamate release after an action potential. Resulting post-synaptic potentials in a biophysically realistic situation. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Glutamatergic circuits

Glutamatergic excitatory neuronal circuits. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Synaptic plasticity

The mechanisms behind changes in synaptic function created by learning. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Dendritic spines

Dendritic spines and their function. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

GABAergic inhibition

GABAergic inhibition and its receptors. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Inhibitory synaptic conductances

A closer look at GABA_A receptor mediated fast inhibition. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

GABA_A receptors and Benzodiazepines

How benzodiazepines act on GABA_A receptors. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

GABAergic projections

Long-range inhibitory connections in the brain, with examples from three different systems. Speaker: Carl Petersen.

Neocortical inhibition

GABAergic interneurons and local inhibition on the circuit level. Speaker: Carl Petersen.