Director: Dr. Bettina Winckler
The best scientists are often those that don’t limit their interests to a very narrow field of research but those that seek out multiple areas and approaches to inform their own scientific inquiry. The graduate education and training in the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) at the University of Virginia is designed to offer a uniquely interdisciplinary and collaborative graduate school experience, in the context of a premier public institution. In fact, 83% of the > 70 NGP faculty mentors have collaborations with other University of Virginia faculty in fields that are outside of their own (National Research Council report, 2010). The Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Virginia trains tomorrow’s neuroscientists through well-funded individual research laboratories, supported by numerous institutional state-of-the-art core research facilities. Our graduate students carry out cutting-edge, original research and graduate to be leaders in academia, government, industry, and science education.
One of the strengths of the Neuroscience Graduate Program is training experimentalists in basic science and translational research, always with an eye on disease relevance; as such, we stress didactic learning for the first year and experiential laboratory-based learning in the second and beyond. This focus on laboratory learning allows our students to begin actively seeking a dissertation project at the end of the first year of coursework.
The faculty of the Neuroscience Graduate Program has primary appointments in School of Medicine basic science departments such as Pharmacology and Cell Biology, clinical departments such as Anesthesiology and Neurology, and the College of Arts and Sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. This broad range of faculty allows for dynamic, cross-disciplinary training in a variety of basic and translational neuroscience research areas:
- Building and Wiring the Brain
- Sensory systems in health and disease
- Neurodegeneration and brain injury
- Behavior and epigenetics
- Glial and immune cells in health and disease
- Neurodevelopmental, neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders
- Neurobiology of ion channels in health and disease
A unique feature of the Neuroscience Graduate Program is the active role our students play in the workings of the program, with student representation on committees for recruiting, education, seminars and even selection of the program director. Students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program are involved in active research programs, journals clubs, outreach programs (Brain Awareness Week) and seminars. Our students attend and present their research at regional, national and international scientific conferences. Our graduates have successful careers in a variety of disciplines including academics, teaching, research foundations, industry and scientific editing.