question on biochemistry and neuroscience

Richard S. Norman rnorman at
Tue Jun 4 15:10:58 EST 2002

On Tue, 4 Jun 2002 23:59:27 +0800, "LeLeo" <leosuperb at>

>Thank you all for your kind suggestions !
>You are right, i am doing a litterature review, not an experimental project.
>That's why i want to explore something wider and more general, and not to
>deal with minor stuff. And, may i ask you all to suggest a topic in
>neuroscience that's suitable for a student like me ?
>thank you again !

Once you get into the primary literature, you will find that what you
may think as a "minor" point will quickly get into a "major" deal.

Really the best was to get interested in a topic is with an
introductory course.  You seem not to have had any type of
background in physiology or neurobiology.  Also it is hard to suggest
a topic not knowing what type of biochemisty you know.

I would recommend you starting with some simple physiology, reading
the chapters on the nervous system first from an intro biology text,
then a physiology text. Then I still recommend Cooper, Bloom and
Roth's 'Biochemical Basis of Neuropharamcology" for the biochem
background.  Only then could your really pick a proper subject.

A full-blown neuro text (Kandel et al, Purves, et al, or Zigmond et al
-- I'll send you full references if you want) is probably much too
much at this point.  Once you find a topic, then these will be useful.

Unless you are interested in nerve cell growth and development, you
will end up in some aspect of synaptic transmission.  Depending on
your biochemistry interest and background you can look at transmitter
synthesis and degradation pathways and enzymes, transport systems, 
receptor properties, or the G-protein coupled signaling systems.  If
you are biophysically inclined, you could look at membrane channels
and gating mechanisms.

I like to have students do their work in two parts -- first a general
overview of the subject, then a detailed look at one small aspect.
You could pick serotonin as the overview and focus on the reuptake
transporter and the action of the SRRI class of antidepressants.  Or
you could pick glutamate as the overview and focus on the NMDA
receptor and its role in synaptic plasticity.

But your really need some background reading in neuro, first.

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