We propose to continue a flexible interdisciplinary Graduate Training Program, currently in its 33rd year, designed to prepare exceptional students for productive research careers in Systems &Integrative Biology (SIB). Our Predoctoral Training Program trains graduate students to work towards understanding the operation of the nervous system, including education and research opportunities to identify and ameliorate many dysfunctional and disease conditions such as stroke, epilepsy, neurodegenerative disorders and addiction. This program is based in the Neuroscience Graduate Group (NGG), an interdepartmental group of 102 faculty members from 24 departments in 4 Schools of the University of Pennsylvania. Graduate education in the Life Sciences at Penn is based on such Graduate Groups. The Office of Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) ensures curricular development, quality control and uniform admission standards across all of these Graduate Groups. Direct management of the SIB Training Program is done by a five-person Executive Committee that sets and reviews policy and selects trainees. SIB Faculty membership is governed by three criteria: (1) expertise in a relevant field of study, (2) significant contributio to training, and (3) extramural funding to support trainees. Admission of students to Graduate Programs is decided by a BGS-wide admissions committee. Subsequent admission to the SIB Program is decided by its Executive Committee. Support for each trainee will encompass their first 21 months in graduate school. The Training Program will consist of two years of coursework plus at least two lab rotations. All students will take a yearly course on the responsible conduct of scientific research. Students will also receive training through seminars, journal clubs, annual retreats, scientific meetings, paper and poster presentations, and social events that encourage interactions. Successful completion of a comprehensive "Candidacy" examination marks the start of independent research toward the dissertation. Thesis research is conducted under the supervision of a faculty advisor and is monitored by a thesis committee and the NGG Academic Review Committee. The dissertation defense takes place when the thesis advisor and committee agree that the work is complete. Most graduates move on for advanced (postdoctoral) training and pursue an academic career. Based on the number of potential trainees, we request support for 12 predoctoral trainees per year for the next 5 years.
This Predoctoral Training Program includes education and research opportunities to identify and ameliorate many dysfunctional and disease conditions, such as stroke, epilepsy, neurodegenerative disorders and addiction.
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