The Integrated Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) provides diverse training in a range of neuroscientific research areas and approaches, from molecular, cellular, and neurochemical to systems, behavioral and clinical neuroscience. There are 34 training faculty drawn from the mentoring faculty in the Neuroscience Track in the Integrated Multidisciplinary Graduate Program (IMGP) at UTHSCSA. This Neuroscience Training Program offers a course of study tailored to the individual needs and interests of students who come to us from a variety of backgrounds in the basic biological sciences, including biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, psychology and neuroscience. An interactive and collegial community of educators and researchers creates a challenging yet supportive environment within which our students can develop into successful neuroscientists. Students apply to and enter a single integrated "umbrella" graduate program, the IMGP, within which there are 10 thematically- defined "tracks", of which Neuroscience is one, that cut across departments and schools within the university. Thus, in their first year of study in the IMGP, students take a common core course in Biomedical Sciences and conduct a series of lab rotations. In the spring, they begin to differentiate and take courses specific to their area of interest, in our cas Neuroscience. They then select a mentor and a track, and begin their focused training. In the second year of study, we offer the Neuroscience students a rich curriculum of didactic courses, intensive laboratory experience, opportunities for professional development (writing and oral presentation), journal clubs, seminars, opportunities to engage in relevant clinical activities, an several other enrichment activities designed to enhance their professional development and future success. The institution supports the students in the first year. Thus, we are requesting funds for 3 students per year, for only one year each, in the second year of study, during which they focus on Neuroscience course work, intensify their laboratory research toward identifying a dissertation project, and prepare for their qualifying exam at the end of this second year, after which they enter doctoral candidacy and begin their dissertation research. One or more of these slots may be used to support MD/PhD student(s) at the equivalent stage of the graduate component of their training in the Neuroscience program. Strategies are described for recruitment, including recruitment for diversity, and for training in the responsible conduct of research. In sum, since its inception just 10 years ago, the Neuroscience Program at the UTHSCSA has emerged into a mature and effective program, one of the most popular in the Graduate School, with a productive and dedicated training faculty, a robust curriculum, and a well-functioning administrative structure. If funded, this broadly-based early-stage training grant will not only facilitate our further development and growth, it will also allow us the opportunity o offer a substantive return on that investment, by continuing on the forward and upward trajectory of both our program and our students.
The Integrated Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio provides training in areas of expertise that range from molecular to behavioral neuroscience, in a biomedical environment that fosters a unique interaction with and exposure to clinical and translational neuroscience. We offer a program of coursework, mentored laboratory research, and professional enrichment activities tailored to the individual interests and needs of our students, with particular opportunities for motivated and talented students from the under-represented population in the South Texas region served by our institution, while maintaining competitiveness on a national scale. Funding of this training grant will enhance the development of our students into successful neuroscientists, equipped to address the challenges of the future, and to train the next generation of neuroscientists.