Learning Diary – Lecture 1

Bonjour, buongiorno, good morning,

Our first class in Structure and Operation of the Human Brain was this week, opening our school year with an introductory lecture. It’s a little bit hard for us to comment on the complete content of this first lecture since we spent approximately one half of the class (an hour or so) discussing the general organization of the course as well as introducing ourselves due to some technical difficulties. On the bright side, this allowed us to meet each other and learn of our varied backgrounds and interests which ended up highlighting that the brain is a topic of deep interest in most fields: engineering, physics, art etc. …

During the second half of the class we quickly covered a general overview of the brain. In order to be able to answer the more difficult questions in this course we first needed to consider the smallest unit of the brain: the neuron. We learned that neurons contain many of the same components as most other cells, for example the organelle which control a cell’s metabolism. Although the neuron is similar in composition to most other cells, it functions quite uniquely, allowing us to experience thoughts, memories, and reflect. But how does it do this?

As Life Sciences students we have acquired  some specific knowledge on the general machinery of the cell thanks to courses like Molecular and Cellular Biology. Because of this background, we might be able to apply some of these mechanisms to those unique to the neuron, for example understanding how a Na/K pump functions within the cell membrane might be useful to understand concepts related to the process of neural firing.

We understand that the brain works in a very specific way, different from all other cells, and it will be difficult to learn all of the related terminology. With this being said we are excited for this class and what is soon to be taught in the upcoming lectures!

Laura, Hugues, Leonardo

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