The proposal is for the renewal of support for a graduate training program at Vanderbilt University that is structured to support the early phases of neuroscience predoctoral education and training. In support of the overall NIH mission, the overarching objective of the program is to provide an exceptional training environment for the next generation of neuroscientists, and is built on the foundation of a strong training faculty wit exceptional records of scholarship, research support and graduate mentoring. The heart of this mission is expressed in the academic and research goals of the program, which are to provide our students with a strong didactic foundation in the neurosciences through our core curriculum offerings, and to provide them with the opportunity to carry out state-of-the-art neuroscience research in the laboratories of a group of highly successful and committed mentors. In addition, the program has strong emphases on professional development and diversity, with the objective of building the requisite skills needed for success in graduate school and beyond, and of training an inclusive cadre of future independent investigators in neuroscience research. The Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt is an interdisciplinary program that encompasses four different colleges and schools and 18 departments. Students can enter the program either directly or via three umbrella "feeder" programs (IGP/MSTP/CPB). Traditional and emerging areas of research strength in the program include: attention, brain evolution, cell signaling, cognitive neuroscience, circadian function, CNS drug development, development and developmental disabilities, molecular genetics, neurodegeneration and neurotoxicity, neuroimaging, plasticity, psychiatric illness, sensory and multisensory systems, synaptic transmission, and vision. The program is currently home to 83 trainees and 64 training faculty. The proposal requests an increase in support from 7 to 10 slots and provides the rationale and justification for this request.
The goals and training philosophy of the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt are congruent with and contribute to the overarching mission of the NIH institutes that support neuroscience research - to transform the understanding and treatment of neurological and mental illnesses through basic and clinical research and the education and training that enable innovative research and discovery. Areas of emphasis within the training program provide opportunity for transformative research and research training at the basic science, clinical and translational levels. The relevance of this training for public health cannot be understated, as it is the education and research training of young scientists that will provide the foundation for future discovery.
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