Synapses, Neurons and Brains
link Source: www.coursera.org
list 10 sequences
assignment Level : Introductory
label Biology
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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Key Information

credit_card Free access
verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 160 hours in total

About the content

These are very unique times for brain research. The aperitif for the course will thus highlight the present “brain-excitements” worldwide. You will then become intimately acquainted with the operational principles of neuronal “life-ware” (synapses, neurons and the networks that they form) and consequently, on how neurons behave as computational microchips and how they plastically and constantly change - a process that underlies learning and memory. Recent heroic attempts to realistically simulate large cortical networks in the computer will be highlighted (e.g., “the Blue Brain Project”) and processes related to perception, cognition and emotions in the brain will be discussed. For dessert we will deliberate on the future of brain research, including the questions of “brain and art”, consciousness and free will. For more information see the course promo below and read “About the course.”

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Syllabus

  • Week 1 - Brain Excitements for the 21st Century
    Welcome to synapses, neurons and brains!
  • Week 2 - The Materialistic Mind - Your Brain's Ingredients
    This module's purpose is to acquaint you with "The materialistic mind – your brain’s ingredients". You will become intimately acquainted with the beauty and variety of neurons – the elementary building block/microchips of the brain. We will highlight a big con...
  • Week 3 - Electrifying Brains –Passive Electrical Signals
    In this module we will discuss the "Electrifying brain – passive electrical signals". We will show that neurons are electrical device and learn what enables neurons to become “electrifying”. Here we will describe only the passive (vs. active) electrical proper...
  • Week 4 - Electrifying Brains – Active Electrical Spikes
    In this module we are covering "Electrifying brains – active electrical spikes". In the previous module we learned that: 1-neurons are electrical devices, 2 - that the membrane behaves as an RC circuit, 3 - that synapses operate by opening a new cross-membrane...
  • Week 5 - Neurons as Plastic/Dynamic Devices
    This module discusses "Neurons as plastic/changing devices". Probably the most unique aspect of the nervous tissue is its amazing capability to constantly and adaptively change in response to a challenging environment; this capability enables us to learn and t...
  • Week 6 - Cable Theory and Dendritic Computations
    By now you are well equipped for a successful dive into this module's topic - "Cable theory and dendritic computations ". We are ready to make a conceptual “leap” and to discuss a fascinating topic. Namely, how the anatomical and electrical machinery of neuron...
  • Week 7 - Cortical Networks - Out of the Blue Project
    This module is based on what you have learned in modules 3 to 6: how single cells function, how they are connected via (plastic) synapses to each other and how they might perform specific computations. Here we actually connect a network of neurons (using the “...
  • Week 8 - Perception, Action, Cognition and Emotions
    During this module we will have a special lecture which will be given by Prof. Israel Nelken from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who will discuss "Perception, action, cognition and emotions". Until today we have focused mainly on the function of single ce...
  • Week 9 - From Synapses to Free Will?
    And then there are the “high level” fascinating questions that only recently brain researchers dared to ask. Do we have free will? And what is this subjective feeling of consciousness? These old-issues, previously dealt solely within the humanities and social ...
  • Week 10 - Course Conclusion
    Within a short period of time you have mastered a great deal of material and we very much hope that you have enjoyed this experience of learning about the brain by using its unique plastic capabilities. We want to thank you for your active participation, for...
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Instructors

Idan Segev
Professor
Computational Neuroscience

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Content Designer

Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Ranked among the top academic and research institutions worldwide, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's leading university and premier research institution. Serving 23,000 students from 70 countries, the Hebrew University produces a third of Israel’s civilian research and is ranked 12th worldwide in biotechnology patent filings and commercial development. The Hebrew University was founded in 1918 by visionaries including Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber and Chaim Weizmann. It is located on three campuses in Jerusalem and a fourth in Rehovot. Visit the website at http://new.huji.ac.il/en.
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Platform

Coursera

Coursera is a digital company offering massive open online course founded by computer teachers Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller Stanford University, located in Mountain View, California. 

Coursera works with top universities and organizations to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in many subjects, including: physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and other subjects.

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