Over the 19 year tenure of this grant, Brandeis has built a multi-disciplinary program encompassing faculty in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry and Psychology. We educate students in the full range of Neuroscience topics from the molecular biology of ion channels to the cognitive effects of aging. Each member of our faculty collaborates with multiple others, and most projects involve several levels of analysis. Our students are part of an intellectually and spatially integrated neuroscience community. The resulting cohesion is reflected in every aspect of the program: coursework, rotations, thesis supervision, the general availability of advanced instrumentation and the collegiality of interactions. Our students enter Neuroscience from a remarkably wide variety of different backgrounds (Psychology, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics). A strong aspect of our program is its emphasis on quantitative thinking. Every area of Neuroscience is increasingly driven by large data sets and the need for scientists who can utilize quantitative approaches is growing. The breadth of opportunity and interaction at Brandeis and close attention we pay to student progress allows each student to develop according to her/his individual needs, and results in a low attrition rate. While we are a relatively small program, over the last five years our program has graduated 21 students (4 of whom were members of underrepresented minority groups). Our students graduate with excellent credentials and go on to obtain positions in academia, health-care and industry that directly contribute to the NIH mandate to benefit human health. The program of course work, rotations, multiple small-group colloquia, proposition exams, and participation in teaching necessarily consumes the bulk of a student's time during the first two years. They cannot (and we would not want them to) have their laboratory research as their sole focus prior to their third year at Brandeis. Therefore, they are not supported on research grants in these first critical years. This training grant provides crucial funding to support students while they develop a broad set of intellectual skills. There are 23 mentors in our program and we are requesting funds for 10 trainees.
The goal of Neuroscience is to understand brain function and to provide new strategies and therapies for the treatment of diseases of the brain. Training in Neuroscience is particularly challenging because of the very broad range of information required. Our training program is designed to give young scientists the intellectual and technical depth to make major contributions to the treatment of brain disease.
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