Learning about neuronal transmission and anatomy of the brain

I have a strong background in molecular biology, so most of the things on this week were already familiar to me. Though, it was interesting to learn these things from the perspective of brain. I also learned a lot of new nomenclature and classifications.

The book is well-written and easy to understand so I learned a lot by reading the chapters 4 and 5 before Mondays lecture. The classification to Gray’s type I and type II neurons was new for me as well as the principles of synaptic integration. It really was eye-opening to learn the difference of spatial and temporal summation. The shunting inhibition is also a new important thing, that I had to understand, in order to fully know how neuronal transmission works.

At the lecture I really started to wonder the effects of glial cells. As we spoke there, the exact function of glial cells is not yet known, but there are suspicions that they may have a bigger role. I started to wonder how much these non-neuronal cells can affect to the formation and progress of action potentials and to the synaptic transmission. In the future we will need much more research that concentrates on glial (and other non-neuronal) cells.

It was nice to learn about new methods. I have heard of patch clamp before but never fully understood how it is used. Optogenetics also intrigued me and I think that it will be an important method in future brain research.

Exercises were also useful, because I had never learned the different brain areas and their nomenclature. It was fun to use Play-Doh as a learning tool.

Posted by Maija Vahteristo

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