The Neurosciences Graduate Program (NGP) at UC San Diego (UCSD) is committed to training the next generation of neuroscience leaders. The NGP brings together world-class research institutions and laboratories at UCSD, The Salk Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, and the Sanford Burnham Institute, to create one of the largest and most diverse neuroscience environments in the world. The proposed training program combines this environment with a progressive, quantitatively rigorous curriculum covering multiple neuroscience disciplines, mentored research with world-leading investigators, collaborative opportunities across clinical and academic settings, and mentored professional development. Research productivity and placement of prior NGP trainees is outstanding, with most trainees continuing in scientific research and higher education. The NGP consistently ranks among the top graduate programs in US. The proposed training program supports 1st and 2nd-year NGP students and is endorsed by strong institutional support. The program reinforces close, productive interactions between students and faculty. Incoming students receive intensive hands-on laboratory training in a two-week Boot Camp that provides a unique bonding experience. Students choose thesis labs after completing the core courses and research lab rotations in the first year. Student progress is closely monitored through formal evaluations, with individually tailored career advising and mentorship. Scientific interactions among students and faculty are facilitated through student-run journal clubs, discussion courses, student talks, colloquia, outreach programs, recruitment activities, and an annual retreat. The NGP has met prior goals to increase program size by enhancing institutional support, and to strengthen recruitment and retention of underrepresented students. Representation of URM students in the NGP is now the highest among all UCSD STEM graduate programs, and the overall size of the program has increased by nearly 40%, to 102 PhD students, since 2012, while recruitment and admission have remained highly competitive (applications have doubled since 2007). Our guiding mission to develop tomorrow's leading neuroscientists is founded on rigorous skills in experimental design, statistical methodology and quantitative reasoning. Over the next five years, the NGP has set a goal to strengthen and comprehensively integrate the tenets of quantitative rigor, reproducibility, and research transparency into all aspects of the training program. This includes broadening the quantitative scope of the NGP by expanding the successful Computational Neuroscience specialization, modifying curricula, and altering mentoring practices to anticipate future challenges for data collection, access, and analysis. Our goal is a broad interdisciplinary neuroscience training environment that emphasizes strong quantitative skills coupled to rigorous experimental design and statistical methodology.

Public Health Relevance

The UCSD Neurosciences Graduate Training Program combines rigorous, quantitative training across the full spectrum of neuroscience sub-disciplines with a proven ability to prepare next generation science leaders, through mentored research in world-leading laboratories and comprehensive professional development.

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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Korn, Stephen J
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University of California, San Diego
Schools of Arts and Sciences
La Jolla
United States
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