The Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) Graduate Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology requests renewal of the training program in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (NLM). The central objective of the NLM program is to prepare neuroscientists at the graduate (predoctoral) level for professional careers devoted to the scientific investigation of how information is stored and accessed by the nervous system and the application of this knowledge to relieve the burden of mental illness. Neurobiology of learning and memory has emerged as a major theme of research in the neurosciences at MIT. The structure of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, which has faculty working at all levels-from the most elementary mechanisms of synaptic transmission to the processes in the human brain required for cognition-puts MIT in a particularly strong position to provide the necessary training. Furthermore, a nucleus of researchers committed to this endeavor has already been established at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. The NLM program is an advanced track of the BCS graduate program, available to students after their first two years of coursework and laboratory rotations. The goals of the NLM program are to train students (a) to conduct research on the neurobiology of learning and memory, and (b) to be aware of the broader potential of such research to be translated into clinical medicine relevant to the mission of the NIMH. NLM program requirements are (1) that the student conducts thesis research in the laboratory of an NLM trainer, (2) that the courses taken by the student prior to graduation include one on the neurobiology of disease, and two courses from two different categories (cell/molecular, systems, cognitive, or computational) from the NLM course list, (3) that the student participate in "Plastic Lunch," a series of seminars given by students on their ongoing research on the neurobiology of learning and memory, and (4) that the students participate in the annual retreat of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Funds are requested for five years to support 8 predoctoral trainees per year.
The central objective of the Program in the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (NLM) is to train neuroscientists at the predoctoral level for professional careers devoted to the scientific investigation of how information is stored and accessed by the nervous system, and how this knowledge can be used to relieve the burden of mental illness. Understanding the neural bases for learning and memory is fundamental to addressing such diverse questions as how experience modifies the brain during normal and abnormal development, how the brain remodels after injury or disease, how addictions arise and can be cured, how changes in the brain can lead to pathological expression of fear, and how disease and aging impair cognitive function.
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