COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND HEALTH
Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

Neuroendocrinology

Module titleNeuroendocrinology
Module codeCSC4023
Academic year2019/0
Credits15
Module staff

Dr Kate Ellacott (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

11

Number students taking module (anticipated)

25

Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module you will learn how the brain and endocrine system coordinate to regulate physiology and behaviour, and how this changes 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 about how hormones influence related aspects of behaviour including 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 such as insulin, prolactin, cortisol, and oestrogen from endocrine organs and how these hormones acting in the brain, influence physiology, and regulate their own production. Through a combination of lectures and 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. Identify the key neuroendocrine feedback loops
  • 2. Explain the pharmacological mechanisms of hormone signalling in the CNS, illustrated using specific examples
  • 3. Compare the mechanisms by which hormones can influence activity of neural cells and circuits in the brain
  • 4. Examine how CNS mechanisms regulate hormone secretion
  • 5. Give examples of how hormones act on neural pathways to differentially regulate physiology and behaviour
  • 6. Describe how neuroendocrine mechanisms underlie differences in physiology and behaviour between the different sexes
  • 7. Demonstrate understanding of the complexities of hormone action in the CNS, including the interplay between different neuroendocrine axes regulating physiology and behaviour
  • 8. Illustrate how modern lifestyles influence physiology and behaviour via modulation of neuroendocrine systems
  • 9. Explain neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying common diseases and disorders

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 10. Show a clear understanding of the principles behind good experimental design and data communication
  • 11. 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...

  • 12. Synthesize, and critically evaluate, primary sources of information.
  • 13. Exemplify critical thinking in the construction and analysis of written arguments
  • 14. Produce clear scientific writing.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

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

At the beginning of each week a key topic in neuroendocrinology will be introduced to you in a one-hour lecture. 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 actions of hormones
  • Food intake and appetite
  • Blood glucose
  • Thirst and salt-balance
  • Blood pressure
  • Growth
  • Stress
  • Body clock
  • Puberty
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Labour, lactation, and maternal behaviour 

Every week you will have a one-hour journal club in which the discussion of a related primary research paper is facilitated by a specialist academic. During the module you will write a “News and Views” style commentary article about a primary research paper selected from a list of available options. This article will form part of the module assessment. To help you prepare you will have a one-hour interactive group tutorial with the academic who selected the paper that will be the focus of your “News and Views” style commentary. 

At the end of the module you will be assessed on the content of the lectures and journal club sessions in a final written exam made up of short answer and data interpretation questions.

Learning and teaching

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
271230

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching15Lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching11Interactive journal club sessions
Scheduled Learning & Teaching1“News and Views” assessment preparation tutorial
Guided Independent Study30Literature searches, reading and preparation for journal club sessions.
Guided Independent Study10Preparation for assessed “News and views” style summary of a primary research paper
Guided Independent Study85Reading and preparation for lectures and exam

Assessment

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Participation in tutorial to discuss development of “News and views” article assessment1 hour1-14Verbal
Online practice SAQ and data interpretation questions5 questions online with model answers1-6, 10, 12, 14Model answers

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
40600

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer question and data interpretation exam602 hours1-6, 10, 12, 14Group presentation
“News and views” style summary of a primary research paper401000 words1-14Written

Re-assessment

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Short answer question and data interpretation exam (60%)Short answer question and data interpretation exam (2 hours)1-6, 10, 12, 14Ref/def period
“News and views” style summary of a primary research paper (40%)“News and views” style summary of a primary research paper (1000 words)1-14Ref/def period

Resources

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Willams Textbook of Endocrinology, 13th edition – Melmed, Polonsky, Larsen and Kronenberg ISBN-13: 978-0323297387
  • An Introduction to Neuroendocrinology, 2nd Edition – Wilkinson & Brown ISBN-13: 978-0521014762
  • Handbook of Neuroendocrinology – Fink, Pfaff & Levine ISBN-13: 978-0123750976

Writing for Science Students – Boyle & Ramsey ISBN-13: 978-1137571519

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Brain, Physiology, Neuroscience, Endocrinology, Hormone

Credit value15
Module ECTS

7.5

Module pre-requisites

The following modules are recommended: Foundations in Neuroscience; Neuropharmacology; Neuronal Networks. However, students may have covered similar material elsewhere. Students who have not studied the preliminary content should be able to successfully complete this module by undertaking some additional study, but should discuss this further with their Academic Tutor and the Module Convener.

NQF level (module)

6

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

07/01/18

Last revision date

01/05/18