This week’s lecture focused on synaptic transmission.
We started the lecture by taking the quiz on the corresponding chapters and then proceeded to learn how the action potential in axons work, through quite visual slides. One aspect of neurotransmission taught to us was the chemical synapse, in which neuron-type specific transmitters bind to membrane receptors causing ionic currents through the channels. Furthermore, electrical synapses were introduced as well. In this type of synapse, gap junctions between the pre- and post-synaptic neuron allow current to flow passively through channels, changing the post-synaptic membrane potential. Chemical and electrical synapses differ primarily in that there is no intercellular continuity in chemical synapses, thus the flow between the two neurons isn’t direct.
The exercise class was more “light-weight” compared to the lecture, as we learned more about the anatomy of the human brain by making a brain out of putty. This type of class was very interesting as it allowed us to learn through physical interaction with the material and have a better visual understanding of the concepts that were being taught to us.
For the next class, we are meant to read chapters 8 to 10, which focus on the chemical senses and on the visual system.