PHM 827 - Physiology and Pharmacology of Excitable Cells


Function of neurons and muscle at the cellular level: membrane biophysics and potentials, synaptic transmission, sensory nervous system function.


  • Neuronal structure
  • Generation of membrane potential
  • Properties and behavior of ion channels, and membrane excitability
  • Intracellular calcium homeostasis
  • Synaptic mechanisms, integration and plasticity
  • Synaptic transmitters and their receptors
  • Muscle structure and function
  • Sensory receptor function, processing and perception

Recommended Background

Background in biological sciences is advantageous but not required.

(The following MSU courses provide excellent background: PSL 431, ZOL 402.)

Recommended Textbooks

book cover

Principles of Neural Science, 5th edition
Kandel, Schwartz & Jessell



book coverNeurobiology, 3rd edition - Shepherd



book coverIonic Channels of Excitable Membranes, 3rd edition - Hille




book coverMolecular Biology of the Cell, 5th edition - Albers et al.




book coverCellular Physiology of Nerve and Muscle, 4th edition - Matthews




book cover

The Neuron (Cell and Molecular Biology), 3rd edition - Levitan & Kaczmarek





This course is by the following group of faculty:

From Pharmacology & Toxicology

  • Dr. William Atchison
  • Dr. Peter Cobbett
  • Dr. James Galligan
  • Dr. Colleen Hegg
  • Dr. William Jackson

Other lecturers from MSU

  • Dr. Ke Dong, Entomology
  • Dr. Ron Meyer, Physiology
  • Dr. Kyle Miller, Zoology
  • Dr. Stephen Schneider, Physiology
  • Dr. Arthur Weber, Physiology

Course Coordinator

Dr. Peter Cobbett received his BS and PhD degrees from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His research interests have ranged from muscles of parasitic worms, to physiology of neurons and glia in mammalian brains, and most recently, to neurons derived from non-neuronal somatic cells.






  • PhD

Sections available

  • 001 (on-campus)