There is one session available:
There is one session available:
Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 1: The Electrical Properties of the Neuron
About this courseSkip About this course
Fundamentals of Neuroscience is a three-courseseries that explores the structure and function of the nervous system—from the inner workings of a single nerve cell to the staggering complexity of the brain and the social interactions they enable.
In this first course, you'll learn how individual neurons use electricity to transmit information. You'll build a neuron, piece by piece, using interactive simulations, then travel around Harvard's campus, where you'll see the inner workings of a lab and learn how to conduct DIY neuroscience experiments on your own.
Join us as we study the electrical properties in individual neurons, building a foundation for understanding the function of the entire nervous system.
At a glance
- Institution: HarvardX
- Subject: Biology & Life Sciences
- Level: Introductory
Some familiarity witharithmetic, basic algebra, and working with equations.
- Language: English
- Video Transcript: English
- Associated programs:
- XSeries in Fundamentals of Neuroscience
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- Fundamentals of bioelectricity
- The importance of resting potential
- The properties of passive membranes
- Action potentials, their currents, and their role in the nervous system
- How you can do neuroscience in your home
Lesson1: The Resting Potential
The nervous system functions by sending electrical signals between neurons. To begin our study of the nervous system, we will focus on a single neuron 'at rest,' which has an electrical potential across its membrane. We will understand the ionic basis underlying this electrical potential, and how to calculate it ourselves.
Lesson 2: Passive Membrane Properties
Electrical signals between neurons can be sent through changes in their membrane potentials. In order to more deeply understand these electrical signals, we will first study the electrical properties of the neuron itself. We will examine the resistive and capacitive properties of the neuron, how these properties arise from biological factors, and how these properties influence how a neuron responds to electrical signals.
Lesson3: Action Potentials
In this lesson we will investigate one of the fundamental ways that neurons send electrical signals, through an all-or-nothing process called the action potential. The action potential is generated by the precise opening and closing of voltage-gated channels that cause specific changes to the neuron's membrane potential. We'll develop an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of these channels and the ionic currents behind the action potential.
Lesson 4: Action Potential Propagation
Neurons send electrical signals through action potentials moving down their axons. In order to further develop our understanding of the way neurons generate and send electrical signals, we will integrate our knowledge of the electrical properties of the neuron and the action potential itself. This will allos us to understand how the nervous system has solved the problem of fast and reliable communication.
Lesson 5: DIY Labs
Seeing or measuring something with your own hands is often the best way to learn! We've spent a lot of time discussing the electrical properties of neurons, and along the way you've seen many different demonstrations. You can perform some of these experiments, as well as others we haven't shown yet, yourself, using an inexpensive piece of equipment known as a SpikerBox.
About the instructors
More about this courseSkip More about this course
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.
By registering as an online learner in our open online courses, you are also participating in research intended to enhance HarvardX's instructional offerings as well as the quality of learning and related sciences worldwide. In the interest of research, you may be exposed to some variations in the course materials. HarvardX does not use learner data for any purpose beyond the University's stated missions of education and research. For purposes of research, we may share information we collect from online learning activities, including Personally Identifiable Information, with researchers beyond Harvard. However, your Personally Identifiable Information will only be shared as permitted by applicable law, will be limited to what is necessary to perform the research, and will be subject to an agreement to protect the data. We may also share with the public or third parties aggregated information that does not personally identify you. Similarly, any research findings will be reported at the aggregate level and will not expose your personal identity.
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.