2023-2024 / NEUR0431-1

Introduction to neurophysiology


15h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in dentistry2 crédits 
 Bachelor in medicine2 crédits 


Gaëtan Garraux

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The nervous system is specialized in information processing

Following a brief introduction to the function, anatomy and histology of the human nervous system, several fundamental questions are adressed:

  • How is the information coded by electrical signals ?
  • How does the information spread in nerve cells ?
  • How is the information transmitted from one cell to another ?
  • How do nervous circuits develop and how can they be modified during life?
  • How is maintained the homeostasis of the nervous system ?
The course is organized into 8 chapters:

  • I. Overview on system nervous morphology and physiology
  • II. Communication within
  • III. Communication between I
  • IV Communication between II
  • V. Micro- and macro- circuits
  • VI. System nervous homeostasis
  • VII. Development
  • VIII. Plasticity and reparation

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The teaching will assist the student in learning the general principles that govern the functioning of the nervous system in humans.

Based on ionic and molécular mechanisms, the student  will be able to predict the consequences of changes in the ionic environment on cellular communication in the nervous system, to understand the consequences of genetic or pharmacological modifications of the properties of transmembrane proteins of nerve cells.

The student will be able to describe how electrical signals propagate from one end of the nerve cell to the other and how these electrical signals are communicated to other neurons or effectors of the nervous system.

The integration of knowledge will be promoted by the study of elementary nerve circuits such as the stretch reflex by its 6 main components: sensory receptor, afferent path, integration and distribution of electrical signals along several parallel paths, efferent path, effectors, and modulation by descending pathways

The student will be able to understand why the functioning of neurons is closely related to the biochemical and cellular composition of their immediate environment.

Finally, the student will be able to describe the main steps of nervous system development and global responses to aggression

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

  • General physiology
  • General biochemistry
  • General biology

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Course supports are available on myuliege/eCampus:

Slides used for teaching. Slides mainly show figures (from reference books) and a short title. Text is minimized or virtually absent. Students are invited to build their written support from oral courses and reference textbooks.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Eight magistral two hours weekly lessons during the third quadrimester.
These teaching conditions will be adapted according to the requirements of the sanitary situation (COVID-19) and partially or completely moved online into virtual classrooms.

Recommended or required readings

Many learning objectives can also be reached by using the following optional textbooks:

Mayo Clinic Medical Neurosciences: Organized by Neurologic Systems and Levels, (6 edn) 2017              Eduardo E. Benarroch, Jeremy K. Cutsforth-Gregory, Kelly D. Flemming. Edition Oxford academic

Neurosciences, 6ème édition, 2019 (translated in french). D. Purves, G.J. Augustine, D. Fitzpatrick, W.C. Hall, A.-S LaMantia, J.O. McNamara, L.E. White. Editions de boeck.

Written examination: Questions with open answers and/or multiple choice questions
Depending on the sanitary conditions (COVID-19 pandemic), the exam will be organised on site (physical presence: codes green and yellow, possibly orange) or online (virtual: code red, possibly orange).

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course



Professor Gaëtan Garraux ggarraux@uliege.be

Secretary: Mrs Larisia Bourdoux 04/366 59 50

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

e-learning on e-Campus
Available on :