EVOLUTIONARY NEUROBIOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT

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Code
106985
ACADEMIC YEAR
2021/2022
CREDITS
2 credits during the 3nd year of 8762 Biological Sciences (L-13) GENOVA
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
BIO/06
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (Biological Sciences)
semester
2° Semester
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

The Evolutionary Developmental Neurobiology addresses some aspects of the evolution of the nervous system and some sensory organs throughout metazoans, particularly it is focused on the molecular mechanisms of development. An Evo-Devo approach is crucial to better understand the complexity of the nervous system.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

The course regards the evolution and development of the nervous system in animals, with particular attention to the central nervous system and the sense organs.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

The course aims to provide the student with advanced knowledge of developmental neurobiology, with particular reference to the mechanisms underlying the evolution of the nervous system. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of the differentiation and morphogenesis of nervous tissue will be addressed in different invertebrate and vertebrate models. The evolutionary history of cranial placodes will be addressed with introduction to ectodermal patterning in metazoans and development of placodal sensory and neurosecretory structures.

The student will be able to: 1) describe different metazoans nervous system organization; 2) describe the main processes of neural development; 3) identify the molecular pathways that direct cells towards neuronal differentiation; 4) understand the mechanisms underlying the regionalization of the nervous system; 5) describe the hypotheses on the evolutionary history of nervous system comparing embryological and phylogenetical data obtained from the literature; 6) describe the evolution of cranial placodes; 7) describe some aspects of the development of placode-derived structures.

The main goal is to give the basis to understand the genesis of the complexity of the nervous system through the critical reading of scientific articles.

PREREQUISITES

Basic knowledge on Comparative Anatomy and Embryology is needed.

TEACHING METHODS

The course consists of frontal teaching carried out with the help of Powerpoint presentations.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

The Evolutionary Developmental Neurobiology addresses some aspects of the evolution of the nervous system and some sensory organs throughout metazoans, particularly it is focused on the molecular mechanisms of development. An Evo-Devo approach is crucial to better understand the complexity of the nervous system.

Different morpho-functional organizations of animal nervous systems: neural nets, nerve cords and plexuses, ganglia and brains. Rudimentary sensory-motor systems in animals without a nervous system: placozoa and porifera. Early evolution of animals and the origins of nervous systems. Evolution of neurons and glial cells. Neurogenesis in different animal groups. Evolution of neurogenetic mechanisms of bilaterians.

Classical hypotheses on the evolution of the bilaterian nervous systems (orthogon scenario, oral nerve ring scenario, "nemertean" and "annelid" scenario). Evo-devo approach to the study of the evolution of the bilaterian nervous system. Molecular mechanisms of anteroposterior and dorsoventral patterning of the bilaterian nervous system. Morphogens. Hox genes.

The deuterostomes. The nervous system of hemichordates and echinoderms: organization and development. The nervous system of invertebrate chordates: amphioxus and tunicates. Tripartite organization of the chordate brain. Origin of the telencephalon: new data from amphioxus. The nervous system of the Urbilaterian.

Evolution of the cranial placodes of vertebrates, and of their sensory, neural, and secretory derivatives. Deep homology. Ectodermal patterning and protoplacodal domains in invertebrates. Reconstruction of the ectoderm evolution in Chordates, Deuterostomes, Bilaterians, and Metazoans.

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

All the PowerPoint presentations of the course and other teaching materials will be available on AulaWeb.

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Office hours: The students are able to book an appointment by phone, by mail or by aulaweb

Office hours: Students can book appointments with the professor

Exam Board

SIMONA CANDIANI (President)

SARA FERRANDO (President Substitute)

LESSONS

TEACHING METHODS

The course consists of frontal teaching carried out with the help of Powerpoint presentations.

LESSONS START

For timetables of the lectures and laboratories please consult the following link:https://easyacademy.unige.it/portalestudenti/.

EXAMS

EXAM DESCRIPTION

Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided during the lectures.

The oral exam is related to the topics covered during the course. It is always conducted by the teachers of course for at least 30 minutes (typically 45 minutes).

ASSESSMENT METHODS

The exam is aimed at assessing the knowledge of the fundamental elements of the subject and the ability to link the various topics.

In particular oral examination will focus on the topics covered during the lectures and will have the purpose of evaluating both the correct understanding of the topics, and the ability of the student to apply what has been acquired. The student must be able to connect and integrate the knowledge learned during the course .

The commission will also evaluate the ability to present the arguments clearly and with correct terminology.
In this way the commission will be able to verify with high accuracy the knowledge of the fundamental elements of the cell and tissues organization  and  the ability to link the various topics. When these are not achieved, the student is invited to deepen the study and to make use of further explanations by the professors.