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PHAL303 Neuropharmacology

Mechanisms of action, uses and abuse of drugs affecting the nervous system.

Paper title Neuropharmacology
Paper code PHAL303
Subject Pharmacology
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,059.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,914.00

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PHAL 211
Schedule C
Teaching staff

Professor Paul Smith

Paper Structure
PHAL 303 has both lectures and laboratories.

Lecture Topics:
  • Introduction to paper and introduction to CNS neurotransmission
  • AMPA and KA receptors in the CNS
  • NMDA receptors in memory and learning
  • Metabotropic glutamate receptors in the CNS
  • Growth Factors in the CNS
  • Noradrenaline receptors in the CNS
  • GABA receptors in the CNS
  • Drug treatment of epilepsy
  • Histamine receptors in the CNS
  • Serotonin receptors in the CNS
  • Dopamine receptors in the CNS (Parkinson's disease)
  • Dopamine receptors in the CNS (Schizophrenia)
  • ACh receptors in the CNS
  • Neurohormones and volume transmission
  • Drug treatment of anxiety and insomnia
  • Drug treatment of depression
  • Drug therapy of Alzheimer's disease
  • Drug therapy of stroke
  • Drug therapy of multiple sclerosis
  • Growth factors in the CNS
  • Cannabinoid receptors in the CNS
  • Neurotoxicity - MDMA and P
  • Advanced neurotoxins
Laboratories Topics:
  • Introduction to lab course and electrophysiological techniques
  • Brain Slice I: Excitation and inhibition
  • Elevated Plus-MazeImage
  • J Analysis
  • Seizures and Stroke
  • Phrenic nerve
  • Laboratory reports
    • Image-J Analysis - 9%
    • Brain Slice - 12%
    • Elevated Plus Maze - 12%
    • Phrenic Nerve - 12%
  • Final exam - 55%
Lectures notes.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • To understand the physiological and pathological role of neurotransmitter receptors
  • To understand drug treatment of neurological disease
  • To develop critical thinking
  • To develop skills in science communications

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 29
AND one stream from
B1 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 32, 34, 37, 39
B2 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 31, 33, 36, 38