We request continuation of a training program in Theoretical Neuroscience with funds to support 4 predoctoral trainees. Training will occur at the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University, supported by the 5 (soon to be 6) faculty at the center, by an additional extended visiting faculty researcher in theory, and by 17 experimentalists from the Columbia Department of Neuroscience. The Theory Center provides an exceptional environment in which pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and faculty researchers interact and collaborate extensively. Most trainees with be members of the Columbia graduate program in Neurobiology and Behavior (with a small number drawn from other graduate programs) and will take the courses and satisfy the requirements of that program. This will be augmented with both required and a large selection of elective courses in theoretical neuroscience. A distinctive feature of the training program is extensive collaborations with outstanding experimental laboratories both at Columbia and elsewhere that allows our trainees access to the data they need and also, importantly, permits them to learn, first-hand, the techniques and approaches of experimental neuroscience.
Our aim i s to produce outstanding neuroscientists capable of applying sophisticated methods of data analysis and insightful modeling approaches to experimental data.
President Obama has recently announced a bold program in brain research that addresses issues of relevance both to understanding the healthy operation of the brain and to addressing issues of brain disease and mental illness. Achieving the goals of this program will require researchers with exceptional skill at analyzing and modeling the large data sets being anticipated, to extract knowledge and understanding from them. The training grant we propose is designed to produce such people.
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