The Neurosciences Graduate Program (NGP) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is committed to training the next generation of neuroscience researchers, clinician-scientists and academicians. Over the past 20 years, the UCSD NGP has become one of the top neuroscience graduate programs in the country, ranked 4th in the nation in the 2010 National Research Council ranking. This training grant supports the first- and second-year students in the program, and is endorsed by strong institutional support from the participating departments at UCSD, the Salk Institute, The Scripps Research Institute and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. These institutions are world-class research centers on the Torrey Pines Mesa, with the UCSD campus as the home academic institution. The NGP provides the broad umbrella that unites neuroscientists from all these institutions. The NGP provides trainees with a rich curriculum covering a broad spectrum of sub-disciplines in neurosciences, mentored research in the individual laboratories of outstanding investigators, and collaborative opportunities across different programs. The NGP responds to emerging areas of interest;a new formal specialization that expands the scope of training is Computational Neuroscience, added in the past few years. The NGP's training plan is structured such that the students form close interactions with each other and with the faculty upon entry to the program. Incoming students receive intensive hands-on laboratory training through the NGP Boot Camp, which also gives the students a unique bonding experience and initial exposure to the breadth of NGP research options. Following the core courses and three research lab rotations, students choose their dissertation thesis labs at the end of the first year. Each student's progress is monitored through an integrated series of cohesive formal evaluations. All students take a required course for scientific conduct and ethics. Students are enriched through a variety of activities that facilitate and enhance the interactions between students and training faculty. Career advising and mentorship are in place at each successive year. Vertical interactions among students from different years are facilitated through journal club, research rounds, and a prestigious seminar series organized and run by the NGP students, and the annual recruitment and retreat activities. Recruitment and admission to NGP is highly competitive. The program makes dedicated efforts to improve the recruitment and retention of under-represented students;the NGP ranks the top in representation of URM population among the UCSD graduate programs for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This training grant is central to the success of the UCSD neurosciences graduate training. The research productivity of the trainees is outstanding, and a large fraction of former trainees continue in scientific research and higher education. Over the next five years, the UCSD School of Medicine has set a goal to increase the size of the program through enhanced institutional support, with a strong commitment to improving the program's diversity.

Public Health Relevance

The Neurosciences Graduate Program (NGP) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) provides the most rigorous training to prepare the next generation of neuroscience researchers, clinician-scientists and academicians. The NGP training faculty include rising stars as well as distinguished leaders from all fields of neurosciences. The NGP provides trainees a rich curriculum covering a broad spectrum of sub-disciplines in neurosciences, with mentored research in the individual laboratories of outstanding investigators, as well as collaborative opportunities across different program.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
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Korn, Stephen J
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University of California San Diego
Schools of Arts and Sciences
La Jolla
United States
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