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PHSL341 Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neurophysiology (I)

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

Current research in neurophysiology at the molecular, cellular and systems levels. Themes may vary from year to year and are distinct from those in PHSL 342.

This paper is for those who are curious about the way in which the essential elements of the nervous system work, based on current biomedical neuroscience research, and who wish to gain an insight into Neurophysiological research by designing, performing, analysing, and presenting their own research project.

Paper title Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neurophysiology (I)
Paper code PHSL341
Subject Physiology
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,159.70

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PHSL 231
Schedule C

One of five 300-level papers for Physiology majors.
Optional paper for Functional Human Biology, Reproduction, Genetics and Development, and Neuroscience majors.

Teaching staff

Course Convener: Associate Professor Alexander Tups
Lecturers: Professor Ruth Empson, Dr Phil Heyward, Associate Professor Phil Sheard

Note: Teaching staff may change; please check the Department of Physiology's website for updated information.

Paper Structure

Note: Specific lecture topics may vary, see Physiology website for updated information.

24 lectures and 12 laboratory sessions covering the cellular and molecular underpinnings of neuronal development and ageing, signalling and communication, and sensation:

  • Neural development and neurogenesis, axon growth and guidance, synaptogenesis, connectivity patterns, cell death, critical periods, ageing, degeneration
  • Neural microcircuitry using cerebellum as the model system for neural circuits, calcium in neurons, physiology of excitatory, inhibitory and interneurons, ionic currents
  • Neural processing of information in olfactory sensation

In the laboratory course you will conceive, design, perform, interpret and present your own experiment in a guided process over the entire semester.

Assessment consists of internal assessment (a written research proposal, a written research report and an oral or poster presentation of laboratory class work) and a 3-hour, essay-style final exam. A mark of at least 45% in the final exam must be attained to pass the paper as a whole.

For further detail please refer to the undergraduate handbooks BSc PHSL or BBiomedSc FUHB, available to download.

Teaching Arrangements
You will attend two lectures each week and two 4-hour laboratory sessions every second week (alternating with PHSL 342).
Original research articles.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Acquired extensive knowledge of the physiology of neural systems
  • Developed a meaningful appreciation of the research process through design, experimentation, analysis and presentation of own experiment
  • Developed skill in communicating science through written and oral presentation tasks

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 19-22
Tuesday 09:00-09:50 9-12, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 9, 11, 18, 20, 22
Wednesday 14:00-17:50 9, 11, 18, 20, 22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 10