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Course Description

Within the brain are circuits made up of multiple neurons, who communicate via the synapse.

This course investigates how neurons are able to communicate with each other, through both chemical and electrical signals. the course will focus on two main components of neuronal signaling: the action potential (electrical signals) and synaptic transmission (chemical signals). Neuronal signaling enables neurons to send signals from one part of the nervous system to another and ultimately controls all of our behaviors. This course uses the experience of pain (something we can all relate to) as the framework to investigate how action potentials and synaptic transmission works. This course is intended for high school science instructors as part of the Teaching the Great Diseases program.Pre-requisites: This course can be taken alone, or in conjunction with the mini-course: ?Cells of the Nervous System?, which describes the structure and function of our neurons. Students should have a basic understanding of the structure and function of neurons and organization of the nervous system before taking this course. A background in basic biology concepts (such as cell theory, molecular biology, diffusion, and electrostatic potential) is strongly recommended.


This is an online course that will not meet on campus. Most course activities and interactions will occur asynchronously and online through Tufts Canvas, the university's learning management system. You can take this course from anywhere, as long as you have a reliable internet connection (broadband highly recommended).

Online courses are held to the same academic standards as campus-based courses and students can expect high levels of interaction with faculty and classmates. Online courses at Tufts are not self-paced, however they offer much more flexibility for students. Typically, course content is organized in a weekly structure, so students will be expected to login and participate regularly. However students can generally set their own schedule within each week as long as assignments and activities are completed on time.

Affiliated With:

  • School of Medicine - Public Health & Professional Degrees