There is one session available:
Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 2: Neurons and Networks
About this courseSkip About this course
Neurons in isolation are fascinating and complicated, but the real magic of neuroscience happens in the interaction between neurons. In this course, we examine how neurons pass signals to one another and how complex dynamics can result from just a few neurons arranged in relatively simple circuits.
Continue your journey through our Fundamentals of Neuroscience series with animations that explore the richness and complexity of the brain, documentaries about working labs around Cambridge.
Join us as we use virtual labs that simulate neuron circuitry as we investigate the collective behavior of neurons and learn how the brain modulates the signals in those networks.
At a glance
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- Basics of synapses
- How neurons communicate with each other
- How interconnected neurons in neuronal circuits interact with each other
- The role of neuromodulation in the firing of synapses
Neurons in isolation are fascinating and complex, but the real magic of neuroscience becomes manifest when we consider how neurons interact with one another. In this module, we examine how neurons pass signals to one another, and we explore how complex dynamics can result from even small numbers of neurons arranged in relatively simple circuits.
Lesson1: The Synapse
The junctions between neurons, called synapses, allow information to pass from one neuron to another. In lesson 1 “The Synapse,” we explore what synapses are made of, and how they work.
Lesson 2: Excitation & Inhibition
Synapses can be grouped into two categories: synapses that increase the activity of the postsynaptic neuron are called excitatory synapses, while those that decrease its activity are called inhibitory synapses. In lesson 2 “Excitation & Inhibition,” we discuss the main differences between excitatory and inhibitory synapses.
Lesson 3: Small Circuits
Neurons combine information from many synapses at once in a process known as synaptic integration. In lesson 3 “Small Circuits,” we explore how a neuron integrates information from multiple synapses over time to allow complex signaling.
Lesson 4: Neuromodulation
How many components are there in a synapse? You may think that the answer is simple: two, the presynaptic and the postsynaptic terminals. In lesson 4 “Neuromodulation,” we’ll see that this is not entirely true: the strength of many synapses is directly influenced by a third neuron, in a process called neuromodulation.
Lesson 5: Potentiation & Depression
One of the most amazing properties of the nervous system is its ability to adapt and change in the face of a changing environment, a phenomenon called "neuronal plasticity." Lesson 5, “Potentiation and Depression,” focuses on how neuronal plasticity occurs in the brain, and how it shapes the way we think and behave.
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 email@example.com and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.