This renewal application (years 21 through 25) seeks support for early stage training of doctoral students in the neurosciences at Duke University. The mission of the program is to train the next generation of leading scientists who will discover how the nervous system normally functions to enable a myriad of complex processes, including learning, memory, movement, behavior, sensation, and perception, and how to restore normal function of the nervous system in the face of trauma and disease. The major objective of this program is to endow young scientists with the intellectual breadth and technical flexibility to grow and adapt to the demands of contemporary research, and thus enable them to successfully navigate the variety of scientific career paths that will span the neuroscience research enterprise of the future. The application seeks funding for 6 predoctoral students each year, typically 3 in their first year and 3 in their second year. The program is directed by a Steering Committee in concert with the program director, James O. McNamara, MD and co-director, Richard Mooney, PhD. Preceptors are drawn from a wide range of departments across the university and represent a broad diversity of fields, spanning molecular to translational neuroscience. Currently, thirteen primary faculty in the Department of Neurobiology and twenty-one faculty from other departments in the School of Medicine, School of Engineering, and the College of Arts and Sciences participate as faculty of the Graduate Program in Neurobiology. This diverse organization gives graduate students access to faculty spanning the entire breadth of molecular, cellular, systems, cognitive and translational neuroscience. A large and accomplished applicant pool-averaging over 100 candidates per year-permits recruitment of a talented, diverse class of 5-8 new students each fall. Half of the matriculants are supported in their first two years by the Duke Graduate School, which along with support from this training grant enables the program to recruit the most qualified international and domestic candidates. Extensive efforts are made to recruit and retain minority students, and the program has awarded PhDs to three URM students in the most recent funding cycle. Students undergo extensive intellectual and technical training, including demanding coursework addressing the depth and breadth of fundamental and translational neuroscience. Additional training and course work emphasizes the human nervous system in health and disease, oral presentation of scientific research, grant writing, teaching, and career development. Each student's progress is carefully monitored throughout the doctoral training period, with close attention paid to the time-to-degree and scientific publication. Upon completion of postdoctoral fellowships and clinical training (where applicable), approximately half of the program's graduates secure tenure-track faculty positions in research institutions and half work in industry, medical practice, and non-tenured faculty positions.
The mission of the program is to train the next generation of leading scientists who will discover how the nervous system normally functions to enable a myriad of complex processes, including learning, memory, movement, behavior, sensation, and perception, and how to restore normal function of the nervous system in the face of trauma and disease. The major objective of this program is to endow young scientists with the intellectual breadth and technical flexibility to grow and adapt to the demands of contemporary research, and thus enable them to successfully navigate the variety of scientific career paths that will span the neuroscience research enterprise of the future.
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