This is a renewal proposal for five years of continued support for an interdisciplinary trainingprogram in cognitive science. The program integrates biological and behavioral approaches in three focused research domains of greatest strength at the University of Minnesota-perception and action, learning and memory, and emotion and affect. These topics are currently among the most active areas in cognitive science, and all have direct applications to human health. Future major advances in these areas are likely to come from researchers who have expertise bridging multiple approaches, thus motivating our plans to provide interdisciplinary training. Each year, the program will train 12predoctoral students. Trainees, specializing in one of the three research domains, will receive advanced training in at least two of four major approaches-developmental, behavioral, neurobiological, and computational-and will have co-advisors representing at least two of these approaches. Features of the training program ensuring interdisciplinary breadth includemultiple laboratory exposure, weekly multidisciplinary colloquia, journal clubs and seminars, travel to conferences, instructi6n in the responsible conduct of research and career skills, and an annual research symposium. Our trainees will have opportunities for translational research, and to interact with undergraduate students in underrepresentedgroups. Ultimately, our goal is to continue to provide a multi-lab, and multi-advisor experience that will allow our trainees to move fluidly among topics, instrumentation, and advanced methods, to address challenging problems in cognitive science and human mental health. The training program will be administered through the Center for Cognitive Sciences, an interdisciplinary, inter- departmental unit with an existing infrastructure of facilities and programs geared to graduate training. The 32 preceptors from nine departments all have strong training and research credentials, and all have active, major laboratories. The Center has the unique opportunity to develop a training program with faculty expertise capable of interweaving our three research domains and four cross-cutting approaches.
This program will train future PhDs to advance our understanding of now we acquire, learn, remember, and use knowledge. Trainees will leam to do research applicable to crucial problems in public health including loss of vision, motor dysfunction, pathologies of memory, addiction, and mental illness. Their research and its application will promote successful perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and motor development in children.
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