Fundamentals of Psychobiology

Number of credits: 6 ECTS Price: 840 €
Price for UAB students*: 200 €
*Max. 5 places
Teaching Language: English Place: UAB Campus

Teaching Period: 25 June to 12 July

Contact: summer@uab.cat

Professor: Elena Martín and Raúl Andero

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Enrolment guidelines
 


PROFESSOR BIO INFORMATION

Elena Martín, since 2012 she is a senior researcher at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. She is as well an associate professor of behavioral genetics in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona since 2011. My research interests consist in the study of the neurobiological basis of addiction and related disorders, including obesity. I have 40 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals related Neuroscience.

Raúl Andero obtained the Psychology BSc (Clinical Psychology) in 2003, the Psychobiology MSc in 2005 and his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2010 (Extraordinary Doctoral Prize) from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain). During that time, he combined the clinical practice, a 1-year internship at a Center for Prevention & Early Intervention (Spain) where he treated multiple brain disorders, with basic research using animal models of psychopathologies. Since, 2010, he was Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate at the laboratory of Dr. Ressler, (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Emory University, USA, and first student of the Nobel Prize Dr. Linda Buck). He joined McLean Hospital - Harvard Medical School, as Instructor in Psychiatry (Faculty) on June 2015. On March 2016 he joined the Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona as Ramón y Cajal Researcher, where he is the Principal Investigator and Group Leader.

ACADEMIC GUIDE

Contents overview


Psychology is an incredibly rich discipline, and includes health, social, educational, judicial, and other aspects. Knowledge of behavior and the mind requires, among others, understanding the biological bases that support them. This is the goal of Psychobiology. In order to be able to understand the biological substrate of behavior and mental processes, it is necessary to know the components and functioning of the nervous system.

The subject intends to provide the necessary knowledge of neuron and neurochemical physiology to study the relationships between the different behavioral processes and their biological substrate. We propose that upon completion of the course the student is able to understand and to use correctly the subject terminology and to demonstrate knowledge of:

  • The main characteristics of neurons and glial cells.
  • The characteristics of the nervous impulse and its conduction.
  • The characteristics of the synaptic transmission and of the most well-known transmitter systems.


Aims and the type of work the student is expected to do:

  • Develop autonomous learning strategies.
  • Identify, describe and relate the biology of human behavior and psychological functions.
  • Teamwork.
  • Use the different information and communication technologies for different purposes.
  • Describe the main components of the nervous tissue and explain the basic characteristics structural, ultrastructural and molecular structures of the nerve cells and the different types of synapses.
  • Develop autonomous learning strategies.
  • Explain the characteristics of the nervous impulse and the driving of it.
  • Explain the main characteristics of the synaptic transmission and of the systems of substances best known transmitters.
  • Explain what psychobiology is and what is the relationship with the rest of psychology.
  • Use the different information and communication technologies for different purposes.


Contents

Week 1

  • What is Psychobiology? (class 1).
  • The cells of the nervous system (class 2).
  • Synaptic transmission (classes 3-4).

Week 2

  • Macroscopic anatomy of the central and peripheral nervous system (class 6).
  • Neurotransmitters (classes 7-9).

Week 3

  • Neurotransmitters (classes 11-13).


Teaching / learning activities

Week 1

Monday to Thursday:

  • 9.00-11.00: Theoretical class.
  • 11.00-11.30: Break.
  • 11.30-13.00: Practical class.
    • Learning through scientific papers.
    • Class discussions.
    • Experiential exercises.
    • Technical notes and readings.
    • Questionnaires.
    • Teamwork.
    • Documentary.
    • Working on the final course presentation.
Friday:
  • 9.00-10.00: Evidence of learning 1. Short questions exam.
  • 10.00-11:30: Film related to psychobiological contents.
  • 11.30-12.00: Break.
  • 12.00-13.00: Discussion and exercises based on the film.

Week 2

Monday to Thursday:
  • 9.00-11.00: Theoretical class.
  • 11.00-11.30: Break.
  • 11.30-13.00: Practical class.
    • Learning through scientific papers.
    • Class discussions.
    • Experiential exercises.
    • Technical notes and readings.
    • Questionnaires.
    • Teamwork.
    • Documentary.
    • Working on the final course presentation.
Friday
  • 9.00-10.00: Evidence of learning 2: Multiple choice questions exam.
  • 10.00-11:30: Film related to psychobiological contents.
  • 11.30-12.00: Break.
  • 12.00-13.00: Discussion and exercises based on the film.

Week 3

Monday to Wednesday

  • 9.00-11.00: Theoretical class.
  • 11.00-11.30: Break.
  • 11.30-13.00: Practical class.
    • Learning through scientific papers.
    • Class discussions.
    • Experiential exercises.
    • Technical notes and readings.
    • Questionnaires.
    • Teamwork.
    • Documentary.
    • Working on the final course presentation.
Thursday
  • 9.00-13:00: Evidence of learning 3: Final course presentations. Day 14.
Friday
  • Closing day (class 15).


Evaluation

The evaluation of the subject is continuous and will be achieved with 3 exams.

The learning evidences are and will be written or oral, individual or in group and face-to-face during the assessment weeks envisaged in the summer term 2018 calendar.

The contents evaluated in these tests will be cumulative, thus, each test will evaluate aspects of the subject already evaluated in the previous tests.

The final mark of the continuous evaluation of the subject will be obtained from the weighted average of the assessment activities carried outThe relative wight of each of the exams is specified below.

  1. Evidence of learning 1: EV1: 30% (Short questions exam: open questions about the definition of psychobiology and the nervous system cells. Unit 1 and 2, class 1 to 4).
  2. Evidence of learning 2, EV2: 30% (Multiple choice questions exam: questions about the basic knowledge test of all the following contents of the subject. Unit 1, 2, 3, 4 and part of 5, class 1 to 9).
  3. Evidence of learning 3, EV3: 40% (Oral group presentation: final oral presentation of a project that has been worked throughout the course. Unit 5).
Characteristics of the Final course project:
  • Groups of 3 students.
  • Presentation (15’).
  • Each group must select a different mental disorder to investigate and present, in which a neurotransmission system is mainly altered from the following list:
    • Excitatory Amino Acids: Glutamate and Aspartate.
    • Amino acids Inhibitors: GABA and Glycine.
    • Acetylcholine.
    • Catecholamines: Noradrenaline, Dopamine and Adrenaline.
    • Serotonin.
    • Neuropeptides: opioids and non-opioids.
    • Other types of neurotransmitters: nitric oxide, purines and endocannabinoids.

The grades will be from 0 to 10. To pass the course it is necessary to obtain more than 5 points.
 
There is no possibility of re-evaluation.

Class attendance must be at least 80%.


Links and references
  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, DSM-5. (5th ed.). Washington, DC:
  • Carlson, N. R. (2013). Physiology of Behavior, 11th Edition. Pearson.
  • Martín-García, E.; Robledo, P.; Gutiérrez-Cuesta, J.; Maldonado, R. (2014). "Substance Abuse and Dependence" (Chapter 8). In vivo models for Drug Discovery. pp. 169 - 192. (Germany): Wiley. ISBN 9783527333288.
  • Stahl, S. M. (2008). Stahl's essential psychopharmacology: neuroscientific basis and practical applications. 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-67376-1.