The central objective of this advanced predoctoral training program in Neuroscience is to produce graduate students with a high level understanding of the theory, practice, and clinical importance of neural dynamics. Students with appropriate background coursework and research interests will be enrolled in this advanced training plan, a subset of 4 students will receive direct funding from this training grant. Deep knowledge of the basic mechanisms underlying neural dynamics is crucial to understand healthy behavior and many of the profound deficits observed in neurological disease. This topic spans almost all levels of neuroscience inquiry: Biophysics determines patterns of action potential firing, which in turn determines the probability of relay between neurons, and ultimately the information that a neural circuit or distributed representation can carry. Brown University has strong expertise across all these levels, ranging from the genetic bases of neural dynamics underlying behavior through the cognitive neuroscientific study of dynamic control of information processing based on high-level goals. Failures in neural dynamics are widely hypothesized to underlie the pathophysiology of maladies such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. The directors, Diane Lipscombe and Chris Moore, have complementary expertise ideal for an Advanced Training Plan in neural dynamics. They will receive advice from external and internal advisory groups and from students, to continue to adapt and improve the training plan. The Neural Dynamics training program will be managed and administered within Brown's Graduate Program in Neuroscience. The Neuroscience Graduate program at Brown offers student-centered, high-quality training and the majority of our graduates pursue careers in neuroscience. Students are also exposed to computational, translational, and clinical approaches. Early multi-disciplinary training dovetails well with this specialized advanced training in Neural Dynamics. This Training Program will provide three basic requirements to produce students with strong training in Neural Dynamics: First, a detailed understanding of the state of knowledge and the defining debates in the study of neural dynamics is required, and will be imparted to students in lectures and seminar courses. This training in basic knowledge will be paired with intensive training in experimental practice to teach students basic principles of scientific design of dynamics studies, and in the cutting edge methods used to resolve debates and test hypotheses in the study of neural dynamics. Students will also design their own experiment(s) on a topic in neural dynamics, and then execute these studies in an intensive 9-day practicum at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL). Second, a world-class environment of 29 laboratories investigating this topic at Brown is crucial to foster long-term, in-depth predoctoral research on this topic. Third, access to perspectives beyond those of the home institution, and most importantly beyond classical academia itself, will expand students'understanding and perspective on this important topic.
This proposal is a competitive renewal application from Professors Diane Lipscombe and Chris Moore to support 4 predoctoral students each year in Advanced Training in Neural Dynamics. Students in their 3rd, 4th and 5th years will benefit from a combination of lecture courses, intensive laboratory hands-on training, and seminars that address preclinical, basic and clinical experimentation. This program also promotes student networking with Graduate Student Alums and others who have applied training in neural dynamics to different types of careers.
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