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



Previous Cell and Molecular Biology


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 Neurobiology 20-21
1.To obtain frequency to the discipline it is necessary to participate in 2/3 of the continuous evaluation works
2. Participation in TP / P classes is recorded on attendance sheets and / or by the registration of participants in zoom meetings
3. Students must confirm their active presence in the online classes and, when requested, they must connect the cameras of the computers, or send a message via "chat" if they have problems with the cameras
4. Absences on evaluation days do not imply carrying out the evaluation on another day
5. Medical certificates or other justification of absences will only be accepted up to one week after the last day of the absence
6. The working groups (G 1 - G 10) must be formed by 3 students, one from the Lab A + shift, one from the Lab B shift + one from the Lab C shift. During the P classes, the students work individually
7. Delays of more than 20 min in a Lab class prevent the student from attending that class
8. Consult and respect the indications of the COVID 19 Security Plan Documents in the moodle

II) Evaluation
The final classification of the discipline 0-20 val) results from the sum of the classifications obtained in 5 components
1. Component of theoretical / practical evaluation: 2 tests or exam - 50% of the final classification, 10 val. Minimum grade 50% of the classification in the average of the 2 tests or in the exam for passing.
The 1st test will take place during the laboratory classes: 29.10.2020 (C), 5.11.2020 (A) and 12.11.2020 (B) (at the beginning, middle or end of the class, depending on the protocol to be performed) . (40% of the grade)
The 2nd test will be carried online via moodle simultaneously with a zoom session in which the students must have their cameras turned on, on a date to be scheduled at the CLIP (15.1.2021). (60% of the grade)
Final grade of this component results from the weighted average of the 2 tests rounded up to the tenth

2. Practical assessment component: Questionnaire to answer in a group regarding data from the first TP class (CNS anatomy and SN cells) - 1.5 val To be delivered at the end of the classes on 24.9.2020 (upload in moodle)

3. Practical evaluation component: Questionnaire to answer in groups regarding the computer simulation of the Neuro Muscular Junction - 2 val. Delivering on 15.10.2020 (upload to moodle)

4. Practical evaluation component: Research work on neuron glia interaction and oral presentation of the work - 1.5 val. Delivery of written work on 15.10.2020 (upload to moodle and presentation (max 5 min) on 22.10.2020

Subject matter

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

2. Characterization of neurons and glial cells and neuron-glia interaction.

3. Chemical and electric synapses.

4. The electric impulse and the action potential.

5. Axonal Transport

6. Neurogenesis

7. 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.

8. Pharmacological modulation of synapses; potential therapeutic targets.

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

10. Learning and memory in invertebrates