We propose an interdisciplinary program at the University of Pennsylvania to train outstanding undergraduate and predoctoral students in computational neuroscience. Penn offers unique strengths in basic and clinical neuroscience, both integrated with computational approaches. All participating departments at Penn are national leaders in their field, have a long history of research and educational collaborations, and are located in close proximity on a single campus. The undergraduate and graduate student populations are highly qualified. Twenty-four faculty at Penn, plus faculty at six nearby regional institutions are involved, including experimentalists, modelers, and many faculty with expertise in both domains. The preceptors have extensive experience in education and research training in computational neuroscience. The program consists of three components: an undergraduate research training program, a summer research program for undergraduates, and a predoctoral training program. The focus is on directly integrating Neuroscience and quantitative studies through course work and extensive research training. Students will carry out integrated experimental/modeling research projects directed at computational problems. The structure and strategy of our program is designed to have each student individually achieve a significant research contribution through the integrated development of model, experiment, and data analysis. We propose to develop an integrated undergraduate curriculum in computational neuroscience including a new, keystone course, and to significantly update and expand our current graduate courses in computational neuroscience-all including substantial laboratory components. We will also introduce a dedicated seminar series, separate undergraduate and graduate journal clubs, an annual retreat, and other programmatic activities. A distinguishing focus of our program is on application of computational neuroscience to neurological and psychiatric disorders. Students will undertake clinical rotations, analyze clinically obtained data, and have the option of rotations on computational projects in Penn's clinically-directed research centers. A summer research program will be developed, which will attract undergraduates primarily from the Philadelphia region. Six nearby universities are participating in this summer program, including Swarthmore, Drexel, Temple, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Lincoln Universities. The summer program will be designed to engage and excite students to pursue graduate work in computational neuroscience. The student population will include a significant proportion of women and underrepresented minorities. ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Interdisciplinary Regular Research Training Award (R90)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1-MXO-O (10))
Program Officer
Volman, Susan
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Pennsylvania
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Engineering
United States
Zip Code
Aguirre, Geoffrey Karl; Mattar, Marcelo Gomes; Magis-Weinberg, Lucia (2011) de Bruijn cycles for neural decoding. Neuroimage 56:1293-300