This REU Site award to the University of Vermont (UVM), located in Burlington, VT, will support the training of 8 undergraduate students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2016-2018. The theme of the REU program is neuroscience. Students will be mentored by faculty participating in UVM's PhD-granting Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) and will conduct research aimed at elucidating the anatomical, cellular, molecular, and behavioral aspects of neurobiology. Students will have access to NGP resources, including up-to-date imaging and molecular facilities. Students can select from a range of innovative projects that combine the behavioral analysis of genetically altered model organisms with high resolution imaging of the nervous system. Students will be trained in a wide range of scientific methodologies that include biochemical analysis, DNA sequencing and gene expression analysis, quantitative morphology, and behavioral analysis. Particular emphasis is placed on the teaching of valid experimental design, statistical analysis and interpretation. Weekly lectures are designed to highlight seminal experimental studies and studies that have established the basic concepts of modern neuroscience. Other lectures are focused on issues of career development and the importance of ethical and responsible scientific conduct. The end products of the program include student-authored posters that are presented to the entire UVM community at a poster session. Students are encouraged to take the posters to their home institution and further scientific meetings for additional presentations.
It is anticipated that a total of 24 students, many from schools with limited research opportunities, will be trained in the program. A diverse cohort of students that includes minority students underrepresented in STEM as well as underserved students from diverse social backgrounds and geographical origin will be actively recruited. Selection of applicants is based primarily on the applicant's interest in neuroscience and the potential that the program can enhance the applicant's career, rather than just academic scores. Application is available online at www.uvm.edu/~nbhspire/?Page=snurf.html.
A common web-based assessment tool, used by all REU programs funded by the Division of Biological Infrastructure (Directorate for Biological Sciences), will be used to determine the effectiveness of the training program. The results will be used to guide continued program improvement. Students will be tracked after the program in order to determine their career paths. Students will be asked to respond to an automatic email sent via the NSF reporting system. More information about the program is available online at www.uvm.edu/~nbhspire/?Page-snurf.html (PI Dr. Felix Eckenstein) or by contacting Mr. Daniel Mills (802-656-0435, Daniel.Mills@uvm.edu)