The Neuroscience Training Program (NTP) at The Johns Hopkins University was established in 1983 to provide students with advanced instruction and research training in the neurosciences. It now includes 85 training faculty in 18 different departments across the university, as well as several associated institutes where neuroscience research is performed. The program encompasses a broad array of research areas, including molecular, cellular, developmental, sensory, systems, cognitive and computational neuroscience, as well as neurobiology of disease, providing diverse training options and unique opportunities for collaboration for our students. We typically matriculate 10-12 PhD candidates each year, from a pool of ~300 applicants, and 1-4 additional candidates for combined MD/PhD degrees (who are admitted through a separate process). Students enter the program with diverse backgrounds ranging from computer science to biochemistry. To ensure that they learn the basic tenets of neuroscience, they are required to take a year-long integrative lecture and laboratory course, Neuroscience and Cognition, as well as statistics and a perspective/orientation course, Science, Ethics and Society. Students learn about research opportunities through a mini-symposium series led by Program Faculty (featuring short chalk talks), the Departmental Retreat, and Lab Lunches (which feature work-in-progress by NTP faculty). This information is used to help students arrange three 12-week laboratory rotations, which are typically completed by the end of the first academic year, and form the basis for selecting a thesis advisor. By the end of the second year, students have completed five elective courses, from 19 small seminar-style courses in different neuroscience specialties or relevant courses offered in other departments. Following completion of a comprehensive oral exam in the spring of Year 2, students write and defend a Thesis Proposal that is written in the form of a Predoctoral NRSA application. Each student is advised by two Pre-thesis Advisors in Years 1-2 (at 3 month intervals) and an individualized Thesis Advisory Committee thereafter (at 6 - 12 month intervals). Thesis Advisory Committees report student progress to the Graduate Program Steering Committee, which carefully tracks the advancement of each student in the program and establishes overall program policy. At present, 84 students are enrolled in the NTP. The average time to complete the PhD for the past ten years is 5.9 years. Of the students who have graduated from our program, 92% are pursuing careers in science or medicine. Here, we request stipend support for five students during their first two years in the program.

Public Health Relevance

The mission of the Neuroscience Training Program at The Johns Hopkins University is to provide students with advanced instruction in the neurosciences to enable them to contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge through diverse careers. By serving as focal point for faculty, students and fellows conducting neuroscience research at Johns Hopkins, the Training Program enhances collaborations that lead to a greater understanding of the role of the nervous system in health and disease.

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 (ZGM1)
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Weigand, Letitia Alexis
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Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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