Boston University Receives $1.75M Grant from Burroughs Wellcome Fund for New Neuroscience Program

in College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Health & Medicine, News Releases
December 4th, 2000

Contact: Mark Toth, | mtoth@bu.edu

(Boston, Mass.) — The Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a North Carolina-based private foundation that supports advancement of the medical sciences, recently awarded $1.75 million to Boston University to support its new Program in Mathematical and Computational Neuroscience (PMCN) over the next five years.

Led by an interdisciplinary group of professors, PMCN will train graduate and postdoctoral students, whose primary background is in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, to apply their skills to solving biological problems. In the long run, this collaborative research will help advance the understanding of nervous system disorders and help Boston University researchers develop innovative methods to achieve 21st century breakthroughs in neurological research.

Nancy Kopell, co-director of the University’s Center for BioDynamics, and Howard Eichenbaum, professor of psychology, will overlook PMCN, which will enable students to earn degrees either from the College of Engineering’s department of biomedical engineering, or the newly-formed Graduate School of Arts and Science’s neuroscience program.

“Though neurobiology remains one of the great frontiers of science, with questions needing new mathematical and modeling skills, there are still very few training opportunities for people initially trained in the physical sciences to use those skills in neuroscience,” says Kopell.

Eichenbaum, who also directs the University’s graduate neuroscience program, agrees that PMCN will be greatly beneficial to mathematicians wanting to learn more about natural sciences, such as neurology and biology.

Eichenbaum says that the University’s current programs “already emphasize the use of computational modeling and experimental work, but they don’t particularly fund students who come in as mathematicians. The new program is designed for students who are strong in math and the physical sciences to learn neuroscience in an interdisciplinary way.”

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s grant to Boston University is part of $9.25 million awarded to four universities through the Fund’s highly-selective Interfaces in Science Program, established in 1996 to promote cross-disciplinary research related to human health. This year’s other Interfaces recipients are Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, San Francisco.

Boston University is the fourth largest independent university in the United States, with an enrollment of nearly 30,000 students in its 16 schools and colleges. The University offers an exceptional grounding in the liberal arts, a broad range of programs in the arts, sciences, engineering, and professional areas, and state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research.

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