Nineteen neuroscientists within Harvard's Neuroscience Program request continued funding for four pre-doctoral positions in our Training Program in Visual Neuroscience. Training focuses on the study of visual pathways from retina to brain, and of the cellular, molecular and developmental neurobiology of the visual system. These faculty members are distributed throughout the university. Ten faculty members are in basic science departments at the Medical School, six are in hospital-based laboratories, and three are in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Over the past two decades, Harvard University has greatly expanded the number faculty members who study the molecular, developmental, and neural-systems approaches to visual science. Students can choose laboratories among a large community of vision researchers, most of who are affiliated with Harvard's NEI Core Grant in Vision research. The goal of the Visual Neuroscience Training Program is to build a large, coherent group of students based in this Harvard-wide vision community, who are trained by its faculty and who have a strong sense of community. The grant will support two students in their second year and two in their third, but students remain actively involved with the program as they advance to later years, creating a large cohort of affiliated students. We train and supervise these students with courses, thesis committees, seminars, symposia, and our "Systems-Vision" journal club. Thus, trainees interact with the faculty and with each other throughout their graduate careers. Many vision scientists visit Harvard every year to give seminars;trainees at all levels interact with them over lunch and in lab visits. Through these activities, we will help train a new generation of vision scientists whose scientific careers will help us understand all aspects of the visual system: development, information processing, and disease.
The laboratories of the Training Grant faculty study the development and function of the eye and the parts of the brain that serve vision. These laboratories do research on topics that are important for understanding a range of visual disorders, including blindness, strabismus, amblyopia, and dyslexia. Training students to do research in visual neuroscience is essential to ensure progress on understanding, treating and ultimately curing visual disorders.
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