This revised proposal requests continued funding of an established graduate training program in neuroscience at the Institute for Neuroscience (INS) at the University of Texas at Austin. This program has grown substantially, with addition of a new director and numerous faculty members in Neurobiology, Psychology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Kinesiology, Communication Sciences &Disorders, and Nutrition. Faculty also have appointments in Centers of Excellence (Center) including: Center for Learning and Memory, Center for Perceptual Systems, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, Imaging Research Center and Computational Visualization Ctr. Research interests span molecular, biochemical, physiological and electrophysiological, computational neuroscience, behavior, Neuro-ethology and evolution of the nervous system. All training faculty have substantial funding giving graduate student's broad options for training in cross-disciplinary research among collaborating laboratories. Funding is requested for three new pre-doctoral trainees per year, each are funded for two years (totaling 6 per year). Students are required to complete the following: laboratory research rotations and present seminars based on that work, two core neuroscience courses, a responsible conduct of science/ethics course, a course on experimental design and statistics, and four electives including a neurobiology of disease course. Students join a research lab by the beginning of year two and complete coursework and qualifying exams by the end of year two. Graduate students are required to participate in Neuroscience seminar series and specialized journal clubs. We plan to continue successful recruitments of minority students. In summary, this program has particular strengths in the neurobiology of perceptual systems, learning and memory, and addiction research, and also provides excellent opportunities in areas ranging from computational to cellular approaches. This broad interdisciplinary training provided will prepare our trainees for research in neuroscience at multiple levels which are of great importance to discovering causes and treatments for brain diseases.
The major health problems in the US are brain diseases, including Alzheimer's, Schizophrenia, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Depression and Bipolar Disorders, yet our incomplete understanding of the neurobiology of these conditions provides for few effective treatments. The goal of this proposal is to provide state-of-the-art training for the next generation of neuroscientists who will help to solve these health problems.
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