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Study information

Seminars in Neuroscience

Module titleSeminars in Neuroscience
Module codeNEUM002
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Bex Smith (Convenor)

Dr Sam Hughes (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will introduce students to essential methods and skills utilised in research which are important to understand for your development as a neuroscientist. You will learn about the scientific method to the contemporary research methods and computational modelling in neuroscience. You will receive teaching in different key and current neuroscience techniques and presentation skills. These skills will be taught through a series of lectures and workshops from expert researchers.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide you with the essential knowledge and skills needed to perform cutting-edge neuroscience research with ‘real world’ applications and to support you with your individual research project.. These skills will be assessed at the end of the module with a presentation focusing on one of the neuroscience techniques covered in the module.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Understand and evaluate various techniques used in neuroscience and their applications.
  • 2. Gain insight and know-how of how scientists apply techniques to neuroscience research
  • 3. Understand simulation models of neuroscience research and their applications to research

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Use and understand statistical methods to analyse and interpret neuroscience research data.
  • 5. Synthesize, and critically evaluate, primary sources of information.
  • 6. Compare and contrast neuroscience methods identifying their strengths and weaknesses

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Exemplify critical thinking in the construction and analysis of verbal/written arguments
  • 8. Communicate information orally and with audio-visual aids

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows: 

The module begins with several introductory lectures in weeks 1 and3 first to outline the aims and structure of the module and introduce the assessment. The subsequent lectures will cover techniques utilised in neuroscience research. Module content will be delivered in term two and be taught in two-week blocks.

Expert-led seminars in neuroscience techniques

Over a series of two-week blocks, you will develop in-depth knowledge of cutting-edge neuroscience techniques through a combination of online and in-person expert-led seminars focussing on current research using key techniques in neuroscience, this will be followed in the subsequent week by a workshop/ practical session aimed to develop essential skills to equip neuroscience researchers of the future and develop a critical appreciation of the potential and limitations of current neuroscience research and analysis techniques.

Content will vary depending on academic availability but is likely to include from the following:

  • Rodent behavioural analysis: Morris water maze
  • Zebrafish models: How stress hormones shape animal behaviour
  • Cell models: The utility of iPSCs models in ALS
  • Electrophysiology: Whole cell patch clamp recording
  • Molecular Neuroscience: Omic profiling of distinct neural cells
  • Neuroanatomy: Brain dissection demonstration/ histology
  • Computational modelling: Ion channel-mediated hormone release in the pituitary

Data analysis and statistics

In addition, there will be several statistics/ coding workshops. These will recap statistical concepts and work through practical examples of using statistics and coding for reproducible research.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching88 x 1-hour Lectures/ Seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching105 x 2-hour workshops/Practical sessions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching42 x 2-hour computational workshops
Guided Independent Study78Reading and preparation for practical sessions, seminars, and workshops
Guided Independent Study50Reading and preparation for lectures and assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online multiple-choice quizzes5-10 MCQs per practical or workshop1-6Written Online
Workshop participationContribution to online materials (e.g. Padlet) for each workshop1-8Verbal (on request)
Presentation plan250 words plan/ concept map1-8Written Online

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation on the promises and pitfalls of a selected neuroscience technique 8515 minutes1-8Written
Peer marking of Oral presentation on the promises and pitfalls of a selected neuroscience technique51-8Written
Workshop participation10Contribution to online materials (e.g. Padlet) for each workshop1-8Written or verbal (on request)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Recorded presentation on the promises and pitfalls of a selected neuroscience technique (90%)Recorded presentation (15 minutes) (90%)1-8Ref/def period
Peer marking of Oral presentation on the promises and pitfalls of a selected neuroscience technique (5%)N/A (addressed by Recorded presentation above) (5)%)N/A (addressed by Recorded presentation above)N/A (addressed by Recorded presentation above)
Workshop participation (10%) Set SAQs (10%)1-8Ref/def period

Re-assessment notes

If you miss 4 or more seminars/workshops, you must provide mitigation for your absence to obtain a deferral of the workshop participation component. In the case of deferral of the workshop contribution assessment, students will be required to answer set questions for each session missed.

Students with Individual Learning Plans referencing difficulties in group participation will be offered the option to submit a pre-recorded presentation in lieu of a live presentation. Similarly, students with Individual Learning Plans with difficulties in group participation will be offered the option to do the re-assessment in lieu of a seminar contribution score (i.e., XX). These individuals will be contacted at the start of the module and asked to choose between these two options.

Please also refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

“Current Laboratory Methods in Neuroscience Research” - Xiong & Gendelman, ISBN 9781461487937

“Critical thinking skills: effective analysis, argument and reflection” – Cottrell, ISBN 9781137550521

“Focus on neuroscience methods. Nat Neurosci 23, 1455 (2020).”

Croft CL, Noble W. Preparation of organotypic brain slice cultures for the study of Alzheimer's disease. F1000Res. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.14500.2.

“Wall and Melzack's Textbook of Pain E-dition" - Sternberg, ISBN 0098-7484

Sukoff-Rizzo et al (2017) Behavioral phenotyping assays for genetic mouse models of neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Annu Rev Animal Biosci 5:371-89

Chen, Z. and X. He (2021). "Application of third-generation sequencing in cancer research." Med Rev (2021) 1(2): 150-171.

Tarazona, S., A. Arzalluz-Luque and A. Conesa (2021). "Undisclosed, unmet and neglected challenges in multi-omics studies." Nat Comput Sci 1(6): 395-402.

Key words search

Neuroscience Techniques, laboratory skills, statistics, research skills, scientific communication, presentation skills, experimental design, data analysis, study skills, neuroscience

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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