This application requests funds to continue our integrated basic neuroscience training program at the University of Pittsburgh. This training grant (T32 NS07433), currently in its 19th year of funding, has been successful in recruiting and training high quality predoctoral students in neuroscience. Funds are requested to support 8 graduate students in their first or second year (typically 2nd year) in the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh (CNUP); these 8 students represent the top ~25% of eligible trainees in the CNUP doctoral program. The program described in this application focuses primarily on research training in the laboratories of a large and diverse neuroscience training faculty. Students begin laboratory research immediately upon entering the program, and rotate through at least two laboratories, for one term each, in their first year. The training faculty, consisting of 76 faculty from the CNUP, provides expertise in neuroscience ranging from cellular and molecular to developmental to systems to perception and cognition, and students are exposed to this breadth of neuroscience. In addition to research, students take a series of two intensive one-term core courses in basic neuroscience, at least three elective courses in neuroscience or related areas, a course in experimental design and data analysis, a course in grant writing, and a variety of seminars and journal clubs. Trainees also participate actively in professional development workshops that provide explicit training in professional skills including written and oral communication, obtaining jobs and grants, teaching, and managing a research lab. Training in the responsible scientific conduct is an integral part of the core curriculum and laboratory training, and is also covered in a course on research ethics for first year students. Students are encouraged to consider a wide range of employment opportunities within which to exercise their skills in research, and a variety of mechanisms permit them to become familiar with employment both within and outside of traditional academic research universities. A solid structure is in place to mentor the trainees and monitor their progress through the program. Students pass through a series of milestones, including the first-year Reprint Exam, a second-year research evaluation, and a grant proposal-based Comprehensive Exam in the third year, prior to submitting a thesis proposal and progressing to full-time thesis research. Each student has an advising committee to see them through these milestones and assist with their mentoring. Data are presented to document that we recruit outstanding trainees and provide them with excellent training.

Public Health Relevance

This application requests funds to continue to support the top graduate students in their first or second year of training in our neuroscience training program at the University of Pittsburgh. We have a broad, well-developed, an integrated training program in neuroscience that has a history of recruiting excellent students and providing excellent training by a large, diverse, and involved group of training faculty. The training program is focused on training in research laboratories integrated with a mix of coursework and training in responsible conduct of research and professional skills.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
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Weigand, Letitia Alexis
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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