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Study information

Neuroendocrinology

Module titleNeuroendocrinology
Module codeNEUM005
Academic year2024/5
Credits15
Module staff

Dr Joel Tabak-Sznajder (Convenor)

Dr Paul Weightman Potter (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

11

0

0

Number students taking module (anticipated)

30

Module description

In this module you will learn how the brain and endocrine system coordinate to regulate physiology and behaviour, and how these processes change in disease. You will learn how the brain regulates hormone secretion and how, in turn, the action of these hormones in the brain regulates biological processes essential for life such as eating, drinking, reproduction and growth. You will also learn how hormones influence related aspects of behaviour such as stress, aggression, and parental nurturing.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module offers a broad grounding in how hormones acting in the brain influence all aspects of life. You will learn about classical neuroendocrine feedback loops: how the brain stimulates the production and release of hormones from endocrine organs and how these hormones act in the brain, influence physiology, and regulate their own production. Through a combination of lectures and journal club seminars focused on primary research literature you will gain an appreciation of the fascinating integrative nature of neuroendocrinology and how, when these systems become dysfunctional, this can contribute to disease.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Discriminate between the key neuroendocrine feedback loops and roles in complex physiological processes.
  • 2. Explain the pharmacological mechanisms of hormone signalling in the CNS, illustrating these using specific examples.
  • 3. Compare the mechanisms by which hormones can influence activity of neural cells and circuits in the brain.
  • 4. Describe and contrast the CNS mechanisms regulating hormone secretion
  • 5. Give examples of how hormones act on neural pathways to differentially regulate physiology and behaviour
  • 6. Demonstrate understanding of the complexities of hormone action in the CNS, including the interplay between different neuroendocrine axes regulating physiology and behaviour
  • 7. Explain neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying common diseases and disorders

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 8. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the principles behind good experimental design and data communication
  • 9. Evaluate the specific challenges in data collection within the discipline of neuroendocrinology research

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 10. Synthesize, and critically evaluate, primary and secondary sources of information.
  • 11. Identify and exemplify critical thinking in the construction and analysis of written arguments

Syllabus plan

The module’s precise content will vary from year to year, but the following information gives a detailed description of the typical overall structure.

Lectures will be delivered via pre-recorded videos. Interactive workshops and facilitated journal club discussions will take place live, in-person or online via a streaming platform e.g., Microsoft Teams.

The module begins with an introductory lecture in week 1 to outline the broad aims and structure of the module and introduce the assessments.

Over the next 10-weeks, at the beginning of each week a key topic in neuroendocrinology will be introduced to you in pre-recorded lecture videos. Background material will be presented, and molecular mechanisms and physiological effects discussed. Examples of topics that may be covered include:

  • CNS regulation of hormone secretion
  • Pharmacological mode of action(s) of hormones
  • Food intake and appetite
  • Blood glucose
  • Thirst and salt-balance
  • Blood pressure
  • Growth
  • Stress
  • Body clock
  • Puberty
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Labour, lactation, and parental behaviour
  • Neuroendocrine tumours

Every week you will also have a two-hour interactive journal club in which the critical appraisal of related primary research paper(s) is facilitated by specialist academics.

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
241260

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching2Introductory and wrap lectures (2 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning & Teaching20Interactive journal club sessions (10 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning & Teaching2Assessment preparation tutorial (1 x 2 hours)
Guided Independent Study10Lectures (10 x 1 hour online videos)
Guided Independent Study56Literature searches, reading and preparation for journal club sessions.
Guided Independent Study60Reading and preparation for lectures and exam

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online Multiple-choice questions (MCQs)3-5 questions/lecture1-9Online answers

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
5950

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination: Short answer data interpretation questions. 952 hours1-13, 15Oral (on request)
Journal Club participation5Reflecting contribution across all the journal clubs and assessed using programme-wide contribution criteria.1-9Written or verbal (on request)
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Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination: Short answer data interpretation questions (95%)Examination: Short answer data interpretation questions; 2 hours1-13, 15Ref/def period
Journal Club participation (5%)300-word lay abstract for each session missed1-9Ref/def period

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral: http://as.exeter.ac.uk/academic-policy-standards/tqa-manual/aph/consequenceoffailure/

If you miss 4 or more journal clubs, you must provide mitigation for your absence to obtain a deferral of the journal clubs participation component. In the case of deferral of the journal clubs contribution assessment, students will be required to write a 300-word lay abstract for each session missed. Students with Individual Learning Plans referencing difficulties in group participation will be offered the option to do the re-assessment in lieu of a seminar contribution score (i.e., written abstracts). These individuals will be contacted at the start of the module and asked to choose between these two options.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading & reference texts:

  • Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 13th edition – Melmed, Polonsky, Larsen and Kronenberg ISBN-13: 978-0323297387
    • Chapter 7 – Neuroendocrinology
    • Section V – Reproduction
    • Section VI – Endocrinology and the life span
    • Chapter 33 – Glucose homeostasis and hypoglycemia
    • Chapter 34 – Neuroendocrine control of energy stores

Key words search

Brain, Physiology, Neuroscience, Endocrinology, Hormone

Credit value15
Module ECTS

7.5

Module pre-requisites

None

Module co-requisites

None

NQF level (module)

7

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

21/09/2022

Last revision date

19/04/2023