UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Short Course in Motor Neuron Diseases and Diseases of Neuromuscular Junctions (CLNEG050)


Convenors: Prof Linda Greensmith and Pietro Fratta

This short course gives an introduction to anatomy and development of motoneurons and neuromuscular junctions, the development of different motoneuron types leading to differences in their physiology and functional characteristics. The course also gives an overview of the most important diseases that affect either the neuromuscular junction or motor neurons and lead to diseases affecting the motor system as a whole, including motoneuron disease (MND), Spinobulbar Muscular Atrophy (SBMA) and rare diseases of the neuromuscular junction, such as Myasthenia Gravis.

This course took place on 22-26 January 2018

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course participants will understand the anatomy, development and functional characteristics of different spinal motoneuron subtypes and their interdependence with innervated muscles for the maintenance of intact neuromuscular junctions and correct functioning of the neuromuscular system. Course participants will also be able to understand the underlying pathology, genetic background and current research trends in motoneuron diseases and diseases of neuromuscular junctions. Participants will be able to understand and interpret neurophysiological assessments and characteristic histopathology in neuromuscular junction diseases. Participants will be also able to critically evaluate the validity of disease models for the development of future therapies and to understand the difficulties designing clinical trials in NMD.

Journal club

Participants of this short course will have the opportunity to get an insight and to take part in a journal club organized by research groups at the Institute of Neurology. From this science focused journal club participants will learn to present and interpret research publications in the field of motor neuron diseases. 

Examples of lecture topics in the Motor Neuron diseases and diseases of neuromuscular junctions module:

Assessment schedule

If a student chooses to participate in the assessments, they will take place as follows:

  • 2 hour multiple choice question exam (70%) - provisionally scheduled to take place on the 23rd February 2018
  • Journal Club presentation (20%)
  • Journal Club participation (10%)