The main objective of this course is to provide a solid grounding in the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the synaptic transmission.

It is expected that by the end of the course students are able to: i) understand the functional organization of central and peripheral nervous system; ii) characterize structurally and functionally neurons and glial cells; iii) explain the mechanisms involved in an active synapse, and also how we can pharmacologically modulate its activity; iv) identify the pathological cellular mechanisms underlying different neurodegenerative diseases; v) develop basic laboratory skills in the area of cellular and molecular neuroscience.

Finally, it is expected that students will develop skills in searching, understanding, and discussing the scientific literature in this field.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Margarida Casal Ribeiro Castro Caldas Braga


Weekly - 4

Total - 68

Teaching language





D Purves, Augustine GJ, Fitzpatrick D, Hall WC, LaMantia AS, McNamara JO, Williams SM. Neuroscience. Sinauer Associates Inc Publishers, Sunderland, Massachusetts USA. 4th Ed.

Siegel GJ, Agranoff BW, Albers RW, Fisher SK, Uhler M. Basic Neurochemistry. Molecular, cellular and medical aspects. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 6th Ed. 

Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessel TM (2000) Principles of Neural Science. McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 0838577016 

Squire LR e Kandel ER (2000) Memória. Da mente às moléculas. Porto Editora, Portugal. ISBN: 9720451343 

Scientific papers (available in the moodle page)

Teaching method

Lectures will be based on textbook material and selected papers from the current literature.

Practical lessons include experiments, and analysis and discussion of the results.

Evaluation method

I) Frequency of the subject Neurobiology:
1. Attendance to 2/3 of the taught TP / P classes is required to obtain the subject.

2. Participation in TP / P classes is recorded in attendance sheets.

3. Students who are in practical class but do not sign the sheet lack attendance.

4. Delays after 10 min. from the start time of the practical class (10h40m), are considered absences of delay, however the student may choose to attend the class. Two delay faults are converted to an actual fault.

5. Missing assessment days do not imply the completion of the assessment on another day.

6. Medical certificates or other justification for absences will only be accepted until one week after the day of absence.

7. Student workers and other exceptional cases who do not attend TP / P classes must carry out an assessment (to be agreed with the teacher) to obtain attendance at the subject.

 II) Evaluation:

 The final grade of the course (0-20 val) results from the sum of the grades obtained in 3 components:

 1. Theoretical / practical assessment component: (2 tests or exam exam; 70% of final grade, 14 val); minimum grade 7/14 val;

Final grade of this component results from the weighted average of the 2 tests rounded to the tenth.

2. Practical evaluation component:: written work in group (semi-questionnaire) with data related to the first 2 classes P (CNS anatomy and SN cells) (5% of final grade, 1 val). To be delivered by 3.10.2019.
 3. project evaluation component: written group work in the form of a mini-article with the results obtained in classes P (25% of the final grade, 5 val). To be delivered by 6.12.2019; discussion on 12.12.2019

 For approval, the sum of the grades of the 3 components must be equal to or greater than 9.5 val.


Deadline for submission of work submitted in moodle:


 Quiz: Until the 3rd of October, uploaded to moodle. They will not be accepted after this deadline.


 Mini article: Until the 6th of December, uploaded to moodle. Papers submitted after this deadline will be penalized 50% of the grade if delivered within 2 business days following the deadline. They will not be accepted after this deadline. Discussion on 12 December.


 Written papers will be subjected to plagiarism verification with the program available at FCT (moodle). Analysis of "similarity reports" submitted after review of submitted documents - accepted only if


 Missing assessment or practical work days:


. The date of the tests and assignments is disclosed at the beginning of the classes and there is no alternative date (s) or repetition of any of the evaluation moments.


 . Unjustified absences on days when results are being produced for inclusion in a work imply that the student will have 0 val in that work; In case of justifiable absences, the situation will be analyzed with the group and the student on a case by case basis.


Penalties – continuous assessment (1 val):


Penalties for the practical assessment score; It consists of a continuous individual assessment throughout the semester based on participation / commitment and laboratory performance in practical classes. The following behaviors may be punished in each class, (0.1 to 0.2 val; up to a maximum of 1 val): Unjustified absences of presence, delayed absences, material shortages (knock, protocol or other previously indicated material), class, failure to perform the proposed exercises, lack of care with the material of the classes and lack of tidiness of the bench at the end of the class.

III) Details of the evaluation in an attached document on this CLIP page

Subject matter

1. Organization of the nervous system: Central and peripheral nervous system.

2. Characterization of neurons and glial cells.

3. Chemical and electric synapses.

4. The electric impulse and the action potential.

5. Axonal Transport

6. Definition of neurotransmitter. Classical neurotransmitters (Acetylcholine, excitatory and inhibitory aminoacids, catecholamines, serotonin) and neuropeptides: biossynthesis, metabolism, effects on post-synaptic cell and general physiologic effects.

7. Pharmacological modulation of synapses; potential therapeutic targets.

8. Effect of drugs of abuse and others in specific synapses.

9. Learning and memory

10. Touch perception.