The Neural Circuits Postdoctoral Training Program at UC San Diego is in its 30th year. It is central to a vibrant neuroscience community of research and training in the Neurobiology Section. 20 laboratories focused on different aspects of the development, structure, function and plasticity of neural circuits work together with the goal of preparing postdoctoral fellows for careers in biomedical research and teaching. The Program Director is Nicholas C. Spitzer, Vice Chair of Neurobiology, Professor of Biological Sciences and Co-Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind. The Executive Committee consists of four faculty who serve staggered three year terms (currently Profs Anirvan Ghosh, Massimo Scanziani, Yimin Zou and Stefan Leutgeb). Training takes place in the Division of Biological Sciences that fosters a spirit of interdisciplinary fusion motivated by the founders of the campus, in which many different types of biology are being pursued and many different approaches to solving problems are being shared. Primary emphasis is placed on developing the potential of individual trainees for independent and original research. However trainees acquire broad knowledge of neural circuits teaching courses and attending seminars. All participants have access to the wider neurobiological community, including the faculty and equipment at institutions affiliated with UCSD: The Neuroscience Department of UCSD's School of Medicine, the Salk Institute, the Scripps Research Institute, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Neurosciences Institute. These resources have proved to be valuable components of the training environment. Seminars include weekly talks on a wide range of topics from local and visiting neurobiologists at all of these institutions. These complement the research program, which is conducted under the sponsorship of individual faculty members. The Neural Circuits Training Program provides outstanding fellows with an identity, and promotes resourcefulness and an atmosphere of commonly shared inquisitiveness in a rich and collaborative environment. Support for 4 postdoctoral positions at 02-04 levels is requested (out of 68 postdoctoral fellows currently in participating laboratories). Trainees are typically Ph.D.s from other neurobiology programs. The selection criteria are superior scholarship in rigorous undergraduate and graduate programs, solid evidence of excellent and original research abilities, recommendations from past advisors and expressions of commitment to careers in biomedical research. Particular effort is made to identify individuals of minority status. Trainees are supported in their first year, during which they apply for their own support for subsequent years, and participate in the program for three years.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
Program Officer
Korn, Stephen J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California San Diego
Schools of Arts and Sciences
La Jolla
United States
Zip Code
Choi, Charles; Nitabach, Michael N (2013) Membrane-tethered ligands: tools for cell-autonomous pharmacological manipulation of biological circuits. Physiology (Bethesda) 28:164-71
Grossman, Emily N; Giurumescu, Claudiu A; Chisholm, Andrew D (2013) Mechanisms of ephrin receptor protein kinase-independent signaling in amphid axon guidance in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 195:899-913
Olsen, Shawn R; Bortone, Dante S; Adesnik, Hillel et al. (2012) Gain control by layer six in cortical circuits of vision. Nature 483:47-52
Santos, Jose S; Lundby, Alicia; Zazueta, Cecilia et al. (2006) Molecular template for a voltage sensor in a novel K+ channel. I. Identification and functional characterization of KvLm, a voltage-gated K+ channel from Listeria monocytogenes. J Gen Physiol 128:283-92
Lundby, Alicia; Santos, Jose S; Zazueta, Cecilia et al. (2006) Molecular template for a voltage sensor in a novel K+ channel. II. Conservation of a eukaryotic sensor fold in a prokaryotic K+ channel. J Gen Physiol 128:293-300
McFarlane, S; Zuber, M E; Holt, C E (1998) A role for the fibroblast growth factor receptor in cell fate decisions in the developing vertebrate retina. Development 125:3967-75
Ferrari, M B; Rohrbough, J; Spitzer, N C (1996) Spontaneous calcium transients regulate myofibrillogenesis in embryonic Xenopus myocytes. Dev Biol 178:484-97
Rohrbough, J; Spitzer, N C (1996) Regulation of intracellular Cl- levels by Na(+)-dependent Cl- cotransport distinguishes depolarizing from hyperpolarizing GABAA receptor-mediated responses in spinal neurons. J Neurosci 16:82-91