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Neuroscience Program

Program Director: Dr. David Weaver

Neuroscience investigators focus on:

  • the neural, molecular, and genetic mechanisms that underlie nervous system development, learning and memory, addiction, glial responses to neuronal injury, and circadian rhythmicity; 
  • mechanisms of synaptic neurotransmitter release, analysis of how neurotransmitter receptors and membrane channels operate, and how drugs act on these processes to modify cellular function and behavior; 
  • magnetic resonance imaging technology to study and map changes in the brain associated with physiological stimuli as well as drugs of abuse; and 
  • disorders of the central nervous system, with special emphasis on neurodegenerative disorders, autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. 

The Program in Neuroscience has grown significantly since 2001. Key events in the expansion of neuroscience investigation on campus have been the formation of the Department of Neurobiology and the opening of the Irving S. and Betty Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute (BNRI) within the Department of Psychiatry. Both facilities allowed recruitment of new faculty, allowing rapid expansion. A simultaneous increase in the number of graduate students admitted to the GSBS further fueled rapid expansion in the program. Faculty recruitment has continued at the BNRI and in the Department of Neurobiology, and through the recent recruitment of Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, as chair and professor of neurology. The Program in Neuroscience is interdepartmental, administered under the umbrella of the Department of Neurobiology. Participating faculty have primary appointments in several departments, with the largest concentration of faculty coming from the Departments of Neurobiology, Psychiatry, Cell Biology, Physiology and Neurology. The program maintains a schedule of seminars and intramural research presentations that ensures a cohesive program. This atmosphere is especially conducive to the scientific growth of graduate students obtaining their degrees in neuroscience.

Requirements for Specialization 

All Basic Biomedical Science students must complete the core curriculum as well as advanced topics required by their program. Students in the Neuroscience program must take 3 advanced topics courses, one of which must be Introduction to Neuroscience, usually in the spring of the first year. In addition, students must take at least one other course in neuroscience. Courses offered by other programs may be taken to complete the final advanced topic requirement.

View year by year course sequence for Basic Biomedical Science doctoral students.