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Online Course

Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 2: Neurons and Networks

Harvard University via edX

Overview

Neurons in isolation are fascinating and complicated, but the real magic of neuroscience happens in the interaction between neurons. In this course, we examine how neurons pass signals to one another and how complex dynamics can result from just a few neurons arranged in relatively simple circuits.

Continue your journey through our Fundamentals of Neuroscience series with animations that explore the richness and complexity of the brain, documentaries about working labs around Cambridge.

Join us as we use virtual labs that simulate neuron circuitry as we investigate the collective behavior of neurons and learn how the brain modulates the signals in those networks.

Syllabus

Neurons in isolation are fascinating and complex, but the real magic of neuroscience becomes manifest when we consider how neurons interact with one another. In this module, we examine how neurons pass signals to one another, and we explore how complex dynamics can result from even small numbers of neurons arranged in relatively simple circuits.

Lesson1: The Synapse

The junctions between neurons, called synapses, allow information to pass from one neuron to another. In lesson 1 “The Synapse,” we explore what synapses are made of, and how they work.

Lesson 2: Excitation & Inhibition
Synapses can be grouped into two categories: synapses that increase the activity of the postsynaptic neuron are called excitatory synapses, while those that decrease its activity are called inhibitory synapses. In lesson 2 “Excitation & Inhibition,” we discuss the main differences between excitatory and inhibitory synapses.

Lesson 3: Small Circuits
Neurons combine information from many synapses at once in a process known as synaptic integration. In lesson 3 “Small Circuits,” we explore how a neuron integrates information from multiple synapses over time to allow complex signaling.

Lesson 4: Neuromodulation
How many components are there in a synapse? You may think that the answer is simple: two, the presynaptic and the postsynaptic terminals. In lesson 4 “Neuromodulation,” we’ll see that this is not entirely true: the strength of many synapses is directly influenced by a third neuron, in a process called neuromodulation.

Lesson 5: Potentiation & Depression
One of the most amazing properties of the nervous system is its ability to adapt and change in the face of a changing environment, a phenomenon called "neuronal plasticity." Lesson 5, “Potentiation and Depression,” focuses on how neuronal plasticity occurs in the brain, and how it shapes the way we think and behave.

Taught by

David Cox

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4.9 rating, based on 8 reviews

Start your review of Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 2: Neurons and Networks

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    When will the part 1 and Part 2 new dates for starting the courses after the actual del pace are guven. I would like to take part 1 and part 2
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Aprender más sobre la neurociencia y fundamentos principales del funcionamiento, y la capacidad se como se va procesando los pensamientos
  • Omokungbe Ayodeji Samuel completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    As a researcher, acquired more knowledge is very paramount to those who are very much interested in teaching and learning.
  • Aarush Mohit Mittal

    Aarush Mohit Mittal completed this course.

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