Research in the neurosciences has become increasingly interdisciplinary: it is not possible to understand the nervous system by focusing on a narrow area of expertise. The principle underlying the graduate education offered by the University of Utah Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program is that students approach a problem from a very broad perspective. The approach includes the application of a diversity of techniques that range across molecular biology, electrophysiology, classical embryology and behavioral protocols. The diverse techniques are unified by two intellectual approaches that have made the University of Utah famous: the study of human disease and a tradition of excellence in the field of genetics. Fifty one NIH- funded training faculty members, chosen from among 76 neuroscientists in 13 departments at the University of Utah, are aligned in five specific areas of research in neuroscience: Molecular Neurobiology, Cellular Neuroscience, Development, Brain and Behavior, and Neurobiology. These five areas reflect the breadth of the program and provide exceptional opportunities to the 45 current students. This renewal application requests funding for three first year and three second year Ph.D. students in the Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience. All of the training positions in the previous award period were filled and funding for the same number of trainees is requested in the present application. Due to the outstanding neuroscience training program, recent graduates have been placed in excellent postdoctoral fellowships at Yale, Stanford, Harvard, U Mass, UCSD, and UCSF. There is no doubt that trainees from the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program will continue to become future leaders in neuroscience research.
The Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at the University of Utah has a long history of training exceptional neuroscientists. This nationally recognized program provides a rigorous two year curriculum that prepares students to be critical, ethical, and creative as they design experiments that will advance the understanding of the brain. The future scientists that emerge from the Neuroscience Program have the tools to determine molecular and genetic mechanisms of neuronal disease or to design translational applications leading to clinical trials. From epilepsy, to drug addition, to blindness, the future impact of Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program students trained in basic and translational neuroscience research will one day greatly improve the quality of life for millions of Americans.
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