Over the 24 year tenure of this grant, Brandeis has built a multi-disciplinary program encompassing faculty in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Mathematics and Psychology. We educate students in the full range of Neuroscience topics from the molecular biology of neuronal non-coding RNAs to the cognitive effects of aging. Each member of our faculty collaborates with multiple others, and most projects involve several levels of analysis. Our students are part of an intellectually and spatially integrated neuroscience community. The resulting cohesion is reflected in every aspect of the program: coursework, rotations, thesis supervision, the shared availability of advanced instrumentation and the collegiality of interactions. The breadth of opportunity and interaction at Brandeis and close attention we pay to student progress allows each student to develop according to her/his individual needs, and results in a low attrition rate. While we are a relatively small program, over the last five years our program has graduated 18 students (3 of whom were members of underrepresented minority groups). Our students graduate with excellent credentials and go on to obtain positions in academia, health-care, government and industry that directly contribute to the NIH mandate to benefit human health. Our students enter Neuroscience from a remarkably wide variety of different backgrounds (Psychology, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics). A strong aspect of our program has always been its emphasis on quantitative thinking. Every area of Neuroscience is increasingly driven by large data sets and all Neuroscientists must be able to at least understand the principles of their analysis. In this renewal we rethink our approach to quantitative literacy and propose a curricular reform that will train our students in the fundamentals of quantitation rather than in specific high level methods. By giving them computational tools and by teaching them to code, all of our students will have a solid foundation for rigorous research at any level. The program of course work, rotations, multiple small-group colloquia, proposition exams, and participation in teaching necessarily consumes the bulk of a student's time during the first two years. They cannot (and we would not want them to) have their laboratory research as their sole focus prior to their third year at Brandeis. Therefore, they are not supported on research grants in these first critical years. This training grant provides crucial funding to support students while they develop a broad set of intellectual skills. There are 22 mentors in our program and we are requesting funds for 8 trainees.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of Neuroscience is to understand brain function and to provide new strategies and therapies for the treatment of diseases of the brain. Training in Neuroscience has become particularly challenging because of the very broad range of the field and the speed of technological progress. Our training program is designed to give young scientists the intellectual and quantitative tools they will need to make major contributions to the treatment of brain disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1)
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Van'T Veer, Ashlee V
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Brandeis University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
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Popovi?, Marjena; Stacy, Andrea K; Kang, Mihwa et al. (2018) Development of Cross-Orientation Suppression and Size Tuning and the Role of Experience. J Neurosci 38:2656-2670
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