Neurobiology Program

Neurobiology Program

Graduate students in the Neurobiology program work with faculty investigating a broad range of topics, ranging from synaptic function to neuroethology, neuroendocrinology, and sensory processing. In addition to their dissertation research, coursework, and the weekly graduate student seminar series, students also hear from visiting speakers from several outside seminar series. These outside seminars include those from the Program for Neuroscience Seminar Series, the Center for Neuroscience Seminar Series, as well as seminars coordinated by other departments including Psychology, Cognitive and Neural Systems, Anatomy and Neurobiology, Pharmacology, and other graduate programs within the Biology department. The core of the graduate curriculum comprises two survey courses meant to establish a common basis of knowledge in the broad field of Neurobiology (Cellular and Systems Neuroscience in the fall semester and Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience in the spring). Most incoming students are supported with teaching fellowships during their first year and thus take one additional elective course each semester. These courses represent the range of neurobiology topics including molecular and cellular neuroscience, neurophysiology, synaptic function, sensory neurobiology, laboratory techniques in cellular and molecular neuroscience, developmental neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, and neuroendocrinology.

Neurobiology students complete research rotations in at least two different faculty laboratories during the first year, with the aim of identifying a research mentor and laboratory in which to carry out their dissertation research. By the end of the second year, students take both a written preliminary exam testing general knowledge in neurobiology and a qualifying exam, which takes the form of a research proposal that usually serves as the student's initial research plan.

During each subsequent year, every student presents a research seminar and meets with his/her thesis committee to review current research and outline future plans. Check the list of recent dissertations and publications to see the range of topics addressed by Neurobiology students.