Disease Neurobiology


In this course we intend to deepen the study of cellular and molecular degenerative processes involved in the pathology of various nervous system diseases. In parallel, methods of diagnosis will be approached, with particular emphasis on the concept of biomarker, as well as conventional therapies and drug development (''''''''''''''''from bench to marketplace'''''''''''''''').

It is expected that at the end of this course the students will have achieved the following general competences: i) to expose the mechanisms involved in the etiology and pathology of several nervous system diseases; iv) to identify and understand strategies and therapeutic targets for nervous system diseases; v) acquisition of research skills of recent literature on subjects taught, in order to exposure and critically discuss scientific works in the field.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Margarida Casal Ribeiro Castro Caldas Braga


Weekly - 2

Total - 30

Teaching language



Neurobiology previous frequency (offered to MGMB, 1st semester) - immediate admission.

Previous frequency of another discipline of Neurobiology / Cellular Neurobiology / Introduction to Neurobiology- contact the  Responsible Professor; admission subject to approval by the Professor

Only for Master students


Neuroscience. D Purves et al. 4th Ed.Sinauer Associates Inc Publishers, Sunderland, Massachusetts USA

Basic Neurochemistry. Molecular, cellular and medical aspects. Siegel et al. 6th Ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Principles of Neural Science, Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessel TM 4th Ed, McGraw-Hill, USA, 2000

Molecular Cell Biology. Lodish et al. 7th Ed. WH Freeman & Company, NY, 2012

Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts et al, 5th Ed. Garland Science, NY, 2007

 Scientific papers

Teaching method

Theoretical lectures using images and videos.

Participatory theoretical and practical classes that stimulate scientific curiosity, critical thinking and discussion of results and research strategies.

Evaluation method


A) Frequency in the discipline:

1. To obtain attendance to the subject, students must attend at least 2/3 of the theoretical-practical classes taught. Attendance at TP classes is recorded by the teacher.

2. Absences are marked 10 minutes after the start of TP classes, however the student can choose to attend the class.

3. Certificates and other valid justifications for absences will only be accepted if handed in to the class of the week immediately after the day of the absence.

4. Student workers, and other exceptional cases, who do not attend TP classes must carry out an assessment (to be arranged with the teacher) in order to obtain attendance at the subject.

The student who does not attend the discipline will not have a valid grade in any of the evaluation components.

B) Assessment in the subject

B.1) Evaluation Rules

The final classification of the subject (scale from 0 to 20) results from the sum of the scores of the 3 evaluation components:

i) Assessment of the theoretical/practical component (65% = 13 marks).

Completion of a written work on the effect/impact of COVID-19 on a neurodegenerative disease chosen by the students (in a group) which consists of 2 parts:

. Disease study models: cellular or animal; advantages and disadvantages of the models. What is the appropriate (or future) model for the study of this disease/relationship between pathologies?

. Scientific project involving fundamental or biomedical research on the chosen neurodegenerative disease. The project must necessarily involve model(s) of the disease and the theme of the proposal. Work plan for 18 months, with 3-4 tasks and 50,000 euros in funding. To carry out the project, students must indicate a collaborator (national or foreign) who makes sense to integrate the proposal, and must justify their choice.

The written document, following the rules provided, must be uploaded to Moodle by 11:59 pm on 4/23/2023. The works can be delivered before this date, but if they are delivered after this deadline, they will be penalized by 50% of the grade, if delivered within the 2 working days following the stipulated deadline. They will not be accepted after this deadline.

ii) Project evaluation (20+5% = 4+1 marks).

Oral group presentation of the scientific project, focusing on the chosen models (with advantages and disadvantages) and the proposed strategies. This presentation will have a maximum duration of 10 min and can have the format that the group prefers. The only obligation is that all elements of the group participate in the presentation.

At the end of each presentation there will be a debate with all students, which is expected to be participatory. The ability to answer the questions of the "raters" will be assessed. At this point, the presented project will be evaluated and the criticisms made to the projects of colleagues

All groups receive their colleagues'' projects, and must evaluate them independently. This means that there will be peer review of the projects, and the presentation will be an opportunity to clarify some points. The best project considered for funding by more colleagues, for justified reasons, will have a bonus of 1 val. 2nd best ranked 0.8 val, etc. Assessments are individual, nominal and must be justified.

Students are also being evaluated for the questions and observations they make on their colleagues'' work. The grade for this component results from the presentation+ability to answer questions+questions/observations made to other work (4 val) + markup (max 1 val)

The rules for preparing written assignments will be provided in attached documents at the beginning of the semester.

The work must be done in groups of 3-4 students.

iii) Individual evaluation (10% = 2 marks)

Individual assessment consisting of a question related to the topics of the discipline, to be carried out in the TP class on 3.30.2023. The maximum duration of this assessment will be 20 min.

There will be no evaluation by tests or exam.


Absences on assessment days:

Written assignments must be delivered by 4.23.2023, and presentations and discussions will be on 5.11.2023, and there are no alternative date(s) or repetition of any of the evaluation moments.

. All information is available at CLIP (Neurobiology of Disease).

. The specific evaluation criteria of the evaluation components are disclosed in the 1st class and made available in the CLIP and in the ''moodle'' page of the discipline.


B.2) Conditions to obtain Approval

Attendance and classification equal to or greater than 50% of the assessment of the theoretical/practical component (written work); have a final score resulting from the sum of the 3 evaluation components equal to or greater than 9.5 points.

Appeal Season

Completion of the theoretical-practical component of the discipline – only writing work, according to the same rules established in Normal Season. It is not possible to make oral presentations, nor answer the question in Season of Appeal.

 Grade improvement

It is only possible to improve the component of the written work (15 val). The deadline for submitting the new assignment is the beginning of the Feature Season (date to be agreed with interested students).

Subject matter

1. Neurodegenerative diseases: general principles and study models. Definition of therapeutic targets in neurodegenerative diseases.

2. Preclinical studies, therapeutic intervention, neuroprotection, intervention in the basic mechanisms of the disease and symptomatic therapy. Where are we and where can we act?

3. Choosing the best model for each disease and for each study.

4. Etiology and neuropathology of Parkinson''''s disease.

5. Aetiology and neuropathology of Alzheimer''''s disease

6. Etiology and neuropathology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

7. Neuropathology of stroke

8. Physical exercise as a neuroprotective strategy

In TP classes the best models to study the different diseases will be addressed. There will also be dynamic TP classes in which students will have to build a mini-scientific project throughout the classes that focuses on a neurological disease. The construction of the mini-project will be phased in and monitored. Discussion and constructive criticism between groups will always be encouraged.