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Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
Neuroscience Graduate Training Program
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Neuroscience Graduate Training Program

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  • 1. Neuroscience Graduate Training Program University of Connecticut Health Center 2008http://grad.uchc.edu/neuroscience/neuroscience_intro.html Left: (Les Loew Lab)"Valentine spine" Right: (Srdjan Antic Lab) Pyramidal cell of the cortex.
  • 2. Neuroscience Graduate Training Program Guidelines Introduction………………………………………………………………. 2 Educational Philosophy………………………………………………… 3 Research and Facilities………………………………………………… 3 Financial Support……………………………………………………….. 5 Program Requirements………………………………………………… 5 Thesis Research…………………………………………………………. 14 Advisory System…………………………………………………………. 16 Role of Committees……………………………………………………… 18 Training Program Faculty and Research Interests………………… 20 Current and Past Trainees……………………………………………… 22 Administrative Committees (2008/2009)…………………………….. 23 Introduction For those of you who have joined the Neuroscience Training Program at the University of Connecticut Health Center, welcome! We look forward to sharing our fascination with Neuroscience with you. This booklet should serve as a source of information about program requirements as you proceed through your graduate training. For those of you trying to decide where to attend graduate school or which program at the University of Connecticut Health Center best fits your needs and interests, this booklet should give you a feeling for our educational philosophy and the diversity of our faculty.
  • 3. Educational Philosophy The Neuroscience Training Program at the University of Connecticut Health Center includes a diverse group of faculty members, students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates. All are devoted to understanding the processes that underlie the functions of the nervous system. Our faculty care deeply about training the next generation of neuroscientists so that they can build upon, and branch out from, the current store of knowledge. Our methods range from molecular biology to human psychophysics. What makes UCHC Neuroscience unique is that our faculty, with their diverse interests, recognize the need to include a broad spectrum of topics in our Training Program. The language of psychoacoustics may seem far removed from that of single cell PCR cloning, but both are needed if we are to gain enough insight into nervous system function to design therapeutic strategies that prevent disease progression or repair a damaged nervous system. For our students, the ability to identify and to answer the critical questions of the future is essential. Our program is designed to provide our students with the tools they will need to do so. Our faculty members are excited about their work. They are also interested in the work of their colleagues. They respect the contributions that can be made by anatomists, X- ray crystallographers, molecular biologists, pharmacologists and electrophysiologists and know that progress on the big questions requires the patient cooperation of outstanding researchers with diverse areas of expertise. Probably the key feature of the unique environment here is respect for contributions that come from different approaches and a commitment to spanning the gaps between these seemingly disparate worlds. Research and Facilities http://grad.uchc.edu/neuroscience/neuroscience_facilities.html The Health Center encompasses state of the art biomedical research facilities, teaching and administrative areas, hospitals and clinics, a vivarium and the Lyman Maynard Stowe Library. Many members of the Neuroscience Training Program faculty have laboratories, shared equipment and seminar space on the fourth floor of the connected L and E buildings, or at most a few floors away. While carrying out their Laboratory Rotations and selecting their Thesis Supervisor, trainees will be based in these laboratories. Program facilities include all the necessary space and equipment to perform studies ranging from the psychoacoustics of binaural hearing to the introduction of site-directed mutations using the polymerase chain reaction; from the molecular basis of retinal degeneration to the neurobiology of taste; from the effects of loud noise on the physiology and anatomy of various stages in the auditory system to the biology of myelin production; from schizophrenia to stroke; from multiple sclerosis to excitotoxicity; from second messengers to apoptosis; from computer models of cell biology to computer models of 3
  • 4. neural circuits; from embryonic development to geriatric neurology; and from fetal alcohol syndrome to purification of proteins for crystallographic studies. School-wide facilities include: Lyman Maynard Stowe Library o extensive printed holdings going back more than 50 years o over 2,000 journals available electronically from any computer in the Health Center and by proxy service at home Translational Genomics Core (http://genetics.uchc.edu/TG/), BR. Gravely Director Gene Targeting and Transgenics Facility (http://gttf.uchc.edu/ ), J Li, Interim Director Molecular core Facility (http://mc.uchc.edu/mc/default.htm), D. Rowe, Director The Center for Cell Analyses and Modeling (http://www.cbit.uchc.edu/) and National Resource for Cell Analysis and Modeling (http://www.nrcam.uchc.edu/), L.M. Loew Director NMR Structural Biology Facility (http://structuralbiology.uchc.edu/), J.C. Hoch, Director Proteomics and Biological Mass Spectrometry Core (http://cvb.uchc.edu/facil_services/protein/protein.html), D. Han, Director Stem Cell Core (http://genetics.uchc.edu/stemcell/index.htm ), R. Xu, Director Flow Cytometry (http://flowcytometry.uchc.edu/) L. Lefrancois, Director Research Histology Core (http://www.uchc.edu/histology/), K. Claffey, Director Electron Microscopy Facility (http://resadm.uchc.edu/hcrac/electronmicroscopy.html), A.R. Hand, Director 4
  • 5. Financial Support Students in the Neuroscience Training Program are supported in a variety of ways, including Graduate Program Committee (GPC) research assistantships, training grants, Neuroscience Department research assistantships and research grants in individual laboratories. The Neuroscience Training Program at the University of Connecticut Health Center was recently awarded a Training Grant from the National Institutes of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS, T32 NS41224). This Training Grant supports four Neuroscience trainees. Training requirements and financial support are identical for all students. The annual stipend for the 2007-2008 academic year will be $26,000 for each student in the Neuroscience Training Program. The financial support package includes full payment of tuition and fees in addition to the annual stipend. Health and dental insurance for each trainee is provided. There are no teaching responsibilities associated with receipt of this stipend. Stipend checks are issued bi-weekly. Program Requirements Recognizing that students of very different backgrounds will enter the Neuroscience Training Program in a variety of ways, we have tried to make the requirements flexible while ensuring that our students are exposed to the diverse fields that comprise modern Neuroscience research. Laboratory Rotations Students who want to explore research in Neuroscience are encouraged to carry out three separate rotations with Neuroscience Training Program faculty. Rotations follow the time schedule set forth by the Graduate Programs Committee and must be completed before September 1st of the second year. After each rotation, students present a short talk (15 min) summarizing the background, goals and results of their rotation project to fellow students and faculty. Students also prepare a Rotation Report, which is a written description of the work accomplished during their rotation that is countersigned by the rotation supervisor and forwarded to the Graduate Program Director. The Student Progress Committee reviews these reports. Research Rotations serve two important purposes. First, they afford students an intensive opportunity to learn about the work of laboratories that could become their thesis laboratory. Second, they enhance the breadth of the educational experience by exposing students to new techniques and experimental paradigms. Effort invested in the research rotations can result in great dividends for the rest of the student's graduate career. It should be recognized that research rotations are a combination of two components: 1) The work obligation for the graduate research assistantship that provides the student's stipend and tuition waiver. 2.) A graded course (Rotation, MEDS496) for which students earn 1 credit each semester. The benefit of a laboratory rotation is not only intellectual, but has tremendous impact on 5
  • 6. the student's ability to move quickly into a research project. In addition, successful performance in classes depends on the understanding of experiments and their interpretation. A successful rotation project will let the student become engaged enough in research to determine whether he or she has the passion for research that leads to scientific success in academics or industry. The laboratory of the research rotation will become the student’s home base during this time of exciting exploration. Thus, when the students are not directly in classes, the expectation is that they will be in the laboratory working on the project mutually agreed upon by the student and his or her current mentor. Neuroscience Seminars Neuroscience students are expected to attend the weekly seminars sponsored by the Department of Neuroscience. Seminars are scheduled every Tuesday at 4 pm from September through the end of May and feature the work of neuroscientists at the University of Connecticut Health Center as well as outside experts invited by Training Program Faculty and trainees. Neuroscience students meet with selected outside speakers at lunch and each outside speaker is asked to provide a key reference before his or her visit. Courses Students who want to pursue their thesis work in the Neuroscience Area of Concentration (Neuroscience Graduate Program) must complete a minimum of 7 credits of course work in Neuroscience-related topics before taking their General Examination. Credits can be garnered from the regular graded courses covering Neuroscience topics as well as from other offerings such as Independent Study (directed by a Neuroscience Training Program faculty member). Current and Required Neuroscience Courses: Courses that satisfy the 7 credit requirement MEDS 341 (3 credits) Molecular Neurobiology of Excitable Membranes MEDS 371 (2 credits) Systems Neuroscience MEDS 372 (4 credits) Cell, Molecular & Developmental Neuroscience MEDS 377 (3 credits) Neurobiology of Hearing MEDS 378 (3 credits) Computational Neuroscience MEDS 383-F40 (2 credits) Neurobiology of Disease MEDS 384 (2 credits) Mammalian Neuroanatomy MEDS 385 (3 credits) Advanced Molecular Neurobiology MEDS 424 (2 credits) Neuropharmacology MEDS 425 (2 credits) Neuroimmunology 6
  • 7. Other Neuroscience courses: MEDS 375 (1 credit) Neuroscience: Current Research Topics (Methods) MEDS 447 (1 credit) Presentation of Scientific Data MEDS 495 (Variable credit) Independent Study MEDS 496 (1 credit) Laboratory Rotation MEDS 497 (1 credit) Neuroscience Journal Club Elective Courses Students take a total of 20 to 24 credits of coursework. Particular courses are chosen to provide a broad background in Neuroscience as well as necessary background for the student’s proposed thesis work. The student makes course selections after consultation with the members of his or her Advisory Committee. All students in the Neuroscience Training Program are strongly advised to take Logic of Modern Biology (MEDS327; 4 credits) in the fall and electives in the spring. For M.D./Ph.D. and D.M.D./Ph.D. candidates, Organ Systems 1 will be counted as 3 credits towards satisfying the 7 credit requirement. Courses are generally completed in the first year and a half. A suggested time-line summary of years one through two is as follows: 7
  • 8. Grades In order to remain in good standing, students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 per the guidelines of the University of Connecticut Graduate School. Course Descriptions MEDS 341 Molecular Neurobiology of Excitable Membranes Emphasizes the relationship between structure and function of biological interfaces that comprise electrically excitable and chemically excitable (synaptic) membranes. MEDS 371 Systems Neuroscience Part of a core series in the Neuroscience Program. Provides systematic coverage of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry. Sensory, motor and limbic systems of the brain will be studied. MEDS 327 Logic of Modern Biology This course covers the fundamental biochemical and genetic principles that underlie all areas of modern biology. The biochemistry and genetics of both prokaryotes and eukaryotes are addressed. Reading and discussion of papers in the literature is an important element of the course. MEDS 372 Cell, Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience This one-semester course is organized in the form of (1) seminars, (2) paper discussions, and (3) laboratory exercises using computer simulations. The first part (Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience) provides an introduction to basic concepts in the study of neurophysiology and molecular neurobiology, such as neurotransmitter synthesis and release, electrical and calcium signaling, cellular basis of memory formation and neurological disease. The second part (Developmental Neurobiology) investigates the principles and mechanisms that guide the formation of the nervous system from stem cells to the complex multicellular arrays needed for function, including the understanding of genetic and molecular regulation of neuron/glia lineage decisions, axonal growth, synapse formation and developmental diseases. Cell, Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience is an excellent addition to the strong stem-cell research effort at the University of Connecticut, focused on cell replacement therapies for severe neurological diseases. MEDS 375 Neuroscience: Current Research Topics - Methods The goal of this course is to survey fundamental neuroscience methodologies employed by Neuroscience Program faculty in their research. The course is team taught by Program faculty each of whom will present the theory and practice behind a method essential to their research. Topics will include synaptic physiology, imaging, modeling, stem cell biology, animal modeling of disease and behavior, neuroanatomy, and human psychophysics. The course is targeted especially toward 1st and 2nd year students who have an interest in neuroscience or neuroimmunology. 8
  • 9. MEDS 377 Neurobiology of Hearing This course is intended to provide opportunities for students to be exposed to current topics of auditory research and to evaluate critically contemporary research literature. The course will emphasize in-depth discussions of selected issues by both students and a team of faculty members in hearing science. MEDS 378 Computational Neuroscience In this course, students will study the function of single neurons and neural systems by the use of simulations on a computer. The course will combine lectures and classroom discussions with conducting computer simulations. MEDS 383 Neurobiology of Disease The intent of the course is to introduce “neurobiology of disease of the nervous system”to graduate students receiving basic neuroscience training. The course will span a breadth of diseases and disorders, emphasizing links and common themes, and addressing both the pathology (first hr; precepted by clinician or clinician/scientist) and their basic science underpinnings (2nd hr; precepted by basic scientist). MEDS 384 Mammalian Neuroanatomy This is an introductory course on the brain and spinal cord suitable for both new and advanced students of Neuroscience. Students will explore the entire central nervous system in the human and rat in informal, small-group sessions. Lectures, readings, and discussions will address the cellular organization of the nervous system. Activities include analysis of the human and rodent gross spinal cord and gross brain and a detailed analysis of human and rodent brains in histological sections. Supplemental materials include human magnetic resonance images (MRI), human computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans, and immunohistochemical stains of animal nervous system to demonstrate the localization of molecules. MEDS 385 Advanced Molecular Neurobiology Explores several different current “hot topics”in cell and molecular neuroscience and endocrinology. A major goal is to learn how to approach current research papers in rapidly developing areas. The course will include studies of lower vertebrates and invertebrates, genetic approaches, a wide variety of molecular and biochemical techniques, as well as some electrophysiology and anatomical mapping as appropriate. MEDS 424 Neuropharmacology This course is intended to highlight the different neurotransmitter and neuromodulatory systems, and the pharmacological agents that affect them. Emphasis is placed on the mechanisms of drug action in the treatment of nervous and mental disease, serving to complement other courses in neuroscience, pharmacology, immunology and pharmaceutical science. 9
  • 10. MEDS 447 Presentation of Scientific Data This course is aimed at helping second year students improve their ability to give oral presentations and prepare grant proposals. Oral presentation skills are developed through a lecture, a workshop and critical analyses of recent university seminars. Scientific writing skills are also developed through a series of lectures and workshops. Key elements of research proposals (Background, Significance, Specific Aims, Preliminary Data and Experimental Design) and the actual grant review process are covered. Students give a presentation on a current research topic and write the framework of a short proposal on the same topic. MEDS 497 Neuroscience Journal Club This weekly Wednesday noon time meeting is a major focal point of the Neuroscience Training Program. Students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty select a current research article that they find noteworthy, make the reference available to other attendees, and then present appropriate background, the article itself and their critique of the work. The diversity of topics selected by the students and fellows and input from attendees make this an important learning opportunity for the presenter and the attendees. A goal for each speaker is to allow researchers with diverse interests and backgrounds to appreciate the subject matter of the paper selected. Trainees are required to participate in Journal Club throughout their graduate training. Grades are based on both the student’s presentation and on their active participation. Students consult their Rotation Supervisor or other program faculty for help selecting an article. Third year students present a seminar on their thesis work instead of presenting a research paper. This gives each student experience in talking publicly about his or her own work, in an environment made up of familiar colleagues. In addition, these presentations acquaint people in the program with each student’s work and foster exchange of information and expertise. Exemptions Requests for exemptions from courses should be submitted in writing to the Student Progress Committee. Students may request exemption from one or more courses and may obtain credit for elective courses if they have already taken equivalent graduate level courses at UCHC or elsewhere. The person best able to assess the previous course work is the person responsible for the course from which exemption is sought. The course director’s approval must be obtained and indicated on the letter to the Student Progress Committee; final approval rests with the Graduate School. Other Seminars and Symposia Students are encouraged to attend seminars in areas outside of Neuroscience. There are basic and clinical seminars that meet on a regular weekly, biweekly or monthly basis, along with a plethora of special seminars, many of which are announced by broadcast e-mails and in the electronic Newsline that is issued weekly. 10
  • 11. (Below) Mottled/brindled mice, a model for human Menkes Disease: Purkinje neurons expressing a defective copper- transporting ATPase show axonal pathology (stained for neurofilament protein). This ATPase transports copper ions into the lumen of the secretory pathway. (Mark Niciu, Eipper Lab) (Below) Over-expression of Kal7 forces aspiny interneurons to produce spine-like structures in dissociated hippocampal neurons. (Xinming Ma, Mains Lab) Teaching in Neuroscience Teaching is not required as part of the Neuroscience Training Program. For students especially interested in gaining teaching experience, arrangements can be made to assist in the teaching of selected Neuroscience and Medical/Dental school courses. General Examination The General Examination marks the transition from courses to independent research and must be completed by February of the 2nd year for a student to remain in good standing. The purpose of the examination is to determine whether the student is qualified to do independent Ph.D. thesis research. The General Examination will focus on a research proposal that is prepared and defended by the student. While it is not meant to be a comprehensive exam covering all previous course work, students are expected to draw upon this information in drafting their proposal. Learning how to express ideas in the proposal format is critical. Thus, the preparation of this proposal provides an opportunity for students to generate a testable hypothesis and formulate specific aims for their research. 11
  • 12. 12 Format: The General Examination in Neuroscience has two parts. Part One is a written research proposal related to the student’s thesis topic, and Part Two is an oral examination based on this proposal. Part One: The research proposal should be prepared in the format of a grant proposal (10- 15 pages, single spaced, including figures and tables) and should include the following sections: Specific Aims: The aims should describe the objectives of the research and state the hypotheses to be tested. Background: This section should contain a critical evaluation of existing knowledge and should identify the gaps that the project is intended to fill. Research Design and Methods: This section should describe the conceptual and experimental approaches to be taken, the procedures for collecting, analyzing and interpreting data, potential problems, and alternative approaches. New methods should be described. Standard methods need not be described in detail, but should have literature citations, and the student should be prepared to discuss the underlying fundamentals and details during the oral examination. Literature Cited (not included in page limit). Complete citations, including titles, should be given. In preparing the research proposal, the student may consult any faculty member, or any other source, for information on experimental methods and approaches. Students are encouraged to discuss their Specific Aims and the actual design of experiments with their Thesis Supervisor and Advisory Committee members. However, the student is solely responsible for the development of the final written proposal submitted to the Examination Committee. The student is not to receive any specific feedback on the written proposal prior to the oral examination. Other than the Exam Committee, the written proposal must not be shared with anyone prior to the oral examination. The Thesis Advisor does not receive a copy of the written proposal until the day before the oral examination is held. Part Two is an oral examination during which each member of the Examination Committee will have an opportunity to discuss the proposal with the student. At the beginning of the oral examination, the student will be asked to give a very brief (10 minute maximum) overview of the research proposal. This is meant to convey the overall subject area, hypotheses to be tested, and general experimental approach. The student is free to practice this brief presentation with fellow students and/or their primary advisor prior to the examination. The ensuing discussion during the oral exam will focus on the theory behind the proposal, the methods used to address the problem, the interpretation of potential results, alternative approaches to the experimental problem, and related literature. Composition of the Examination Committee: The Examination Committee is composed of at least 5 members - the Director of the Neuroscience Training Program, all members of the student’s Advisory Committee, a member of the Neuroscience Student Progress Committee, and other faculty members as necessary (assigned by the Director). The Program Director serves as Chairman of the Examination Committee to ensure that the questioning is fair and that the student’s rights are protected. The participation of the Program Director and the same member of the Student Progress Committee on all exams in a given year ensures uniformity of evaluation criteria. In the case of combined
  • 13. M.D./Ph.D. or D.M.D./Ph.D. candidates, the director of the dual degree program will be invited to attend. The Thesis Supervisor may be present at the Oral Examination as an observer and will be part of the deliberations that ensue following completion of the oral exam. Timetable: When the Advisory Committee has been selected, the student should schedule a meeting to review the Plan of Study. The Plan of Study must be approved before the Graduate School will issue a permit for the student to take the General Examination. At this same meeting, which must occur before October 31st of the second year, the student will present a one page abstract of his or her proposed thesis research prepared in consultation with the Thesis Supervisor. The members of the Advisory Committee will review the abstract to determine if it is suitable for development into a research proposal that will form the basis of the General Examination, or if the direction and scope require modification. The student, having consulted with his or her Thesis Supervisor, should provide the Program Director with suggestions for appropriate faculty members who are willing to serve on the Examination Committee. The composition of the Examination Committee must be established by December 1st of the 2nd year and must be approved by the Program Director. A detailed outline of the Specific Aims (up to 3 pages) must be discussed and approved by the members of the Examination Committee before December 15th. The written research proposal must be submitted to the Examination Committee at least 7 days prior to the oral examination and no later than 5 weeks from the time the Aims are approved. Both parts of the General Examination must be completed before February of the 2nd year. Evaluation: The General Examination is administered by the student’s Examination Committee, which determines the outcome of the Examination. After the oral examination, the student is asked to leave the room and the Examination Committee members evaluate the research proposal, the oral defense and the student’s overall performance in the Neuroscience Training Program (course work, rotations, etc). Representatives of the Student Progress Committee are responsible for providing the student’s records. The student’s Thesis Supervisor will be asked to comment during the deliberations on the intellectual and technical development of the student that occurred during the preceding year leading up to the General Exam. The Examination Committee will vote on the outcome and can recommend unconditional pass (no more than one dissenting vote), incomplete pending specific remediation, or failure. In the case of failure, the student may be invited, at the discretion of the Examination Committee, to retake the examination. The Chair of the Examination Committee will communicate the results to the candidate immediately following the deliberations. The final results, bearing the signature of each Examination Committee member, will then be reported to the Graduate Records Office. 13
  • 14. Thesis Research Thesis research must be a significant contribution to knowledge worthy of publication in its present form and worthy of acceptance in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Selection of Thesis Supervisor, Advisory Committee Members and Submission of Plan of Study Students are to select their Thesis Supervisor by September 1st of the 2nd year. When a student, after consulting with the potential Thesis Supervisor and with members of his/her Advisory Committee, has made this decision, the Program Director is to be notified. The choice of Thesis Supervisor must be approved by the Program Director and by the members of the student’s Advisory Committee. Thesis Supervisors must be able to provide research resources and financial support as well as intellectual guidance. Having initially only broadly identified their area of interest, students may now want to adjust the composition of their Advisory Committee. Changes in Advisory Committee composition must be approved by the Program Director. Students meet with their Advisory Committee during the fall so that their completed Plan of Study can be approved before October 31st of the 2nd year. The Plan of Study lists courses completed and those yet to be taken. Thesis Advisory Committee The faculty members on the Thesis Advisory Committee should serve as a valuable resource to the student throughout the entire time that dissertation work is being conducted. Adjustments to the membership of this committee can be made with approval of the Program Director and Thesis Supervisor. Students must meet with their committee at least once per annum. Thesis Prospectus The thesis prospectus must be submitted by June 1st of the 3rd year. The format guidelines for the prospectus can be found on the Graduate School website, http://www.grad.uconn.edu/forms.html. A meeting with the student's Thesis Advisory Committee should be held soon after the presentation of the 3rd year research seminar. At that meeting, a general outline for the Prospectus is discussed. The Thesis prospectus must be distributed to members of the Student’s Thesis Advisory Committee at least one week before this meeting. At the meeting, the committee discusses the Prospectus with the student and can accept or reject it. The Prospectus, when approved by the Advisory Committee, is then submitted to the Area Review Committee. Application for Individual Pre-Doctoral Fellowships Students are encouraged to submit a fellowship application to NIH or to other pre-doctoral funding agencies. A student’s support in the Program is not dependent upon obtaining funding of this type, but the experience of submitting an application and the advantage of obtaining individual recognition of this type makes it a very worthwhile experience. Dissertation Requirements and Graduation There are a series of requirements for graduation that must be performed in a particular sequence as described below. The University confers degrees twice per year, with 14
  • 15. Commencement ceremonies held in December and May. In order to graduate in May of a given year, there are certain deadlines and intervals for these steps. It should be understood that if the graduation deadline is not met for a given calendar year, this does not obligate the student to remain in the program. Once the requirements for graduation have been met, the Registrar's office can issue a letter attesting to this fact and allowing students to begin postdoctoral fellowships, employment, residencies, etc. When the student has completed a substantial amount of his or her dissertation research and can clearly delineate what will constitute the dissertation, a meeting of the Thesis Advisory Committee is called. At this time the members of the Thesis Advisory Committee decide whether additional experiments, reanalysis of data or examination of the literature must be conducted before the Dissertation can be written. The Dissertation The student, in consultation with the Thesis Supervisor, writes the Dissertation. It should begin with a broad Introduction, which summarizes the history of the general area and the major outstanding questions. A General Methods section should be used to describe those methods that are common to the various experiments. Following the chapters which present and discuss the various experimental results, there should be a final chapter in which the student highlights the implications and limitations of the findings, sets the results within the context of related work in the literature and explores future directions of study. The Dissertation is submitted to the Thesis Advisory Committee in complete form with all figures. It should represent what the student believes to be a complete and final document. Since the thesis work is a significant contribution, worthy of publication in its present form, it is expected that manuscripts detailing the thesis work will have been submitted to scientific journals before completion of the Ph.D. degree. The Research Defense Once the dissertation has been distributed to the members of the Thesis Advisory Committee, the Research Defense is scheduled. Students are encouraged to invite a knowledgeable scientist from outside the Health Center to serve as an external examiner to participate in the Research Defense. At this meeting, the members of the Thesis Advisory Committee examine the student’s knowledge of the literature and broader issues related to the thesis topic. In addition to discussing their data, students should be prepared to discuss the background and history of the problem addressed in their thesis work, details of the techniques used, implications and limitations of their findings and future research directions. Members of the Thesis Advisory Committee then vote to accept, conditionally accept or reject the thesis; the final decision requires unanimous approval of the members. Upon acceptance of the thesis, the student can schedule his or her Thesis Seminar; the seminar cannot be scheduled sooner than 2 weeks following a successful defense. Submission of the Approved Dissertation and Related Forms The detailed guidelines for preparation and submission of the dissertation are included in the UCHC Graduate School Student Handbook which is available online at http://grad.uchc.edu/handbook.html. 15
  • 16. 16 The Thesis Seminar The Thesis Seminar provides a formal opportunity for the student to present his or her thesis research to the members of the Neuroscience Training Program and to the larger academic community, all of whom are strongly encouraged to attend. The thesis seminar is a celebration of a great deal of hard work! There are no further deliberations of the Thesis Advisory Committee that accompany the Thesis Seminar— when it's over, the celebrating may begin immediately! Degree Requirements, Timetable and Summary Courses - at least 7 credits in Neuroscience; typically 20-24 credits of coursework; 15 research credits; total of 40 to 44 credits Laboratory Rotations – 2 required, 3 recommended with written Rotation Reports Journal Club - participation required in all years; presentation required in years 1-4; presentation of thesis work occurs in year 3 Neuroscience Seminars – regular attendance required in all years Thesis Supervisor – selected by September 1st of 2nd year Advisory Committee members - selected according to each student’s interests Plan of Study – approved by Advisory Committee and filed by October 31st of 2nd year Abstract of Research Proposal - submitted and approved by October 31st of 2nd year Examination Committee formed – by December 1st of 2nd year Specific Aims of Research Proposal--submitted to Examination Committee for approval by December 15th Research Proposal (Part one of General Examination) distributed to Examination Committee members at least 7 days before Oral Examination Oral Examination (Part two of General Examination) – completed by February of the 2nd year Thesis Prospectus – Must be approved by the Advisory Committee and submitted to the Graduate School by June 1st of 3rd year Thesis Research - yearly meetings with Advisory Committee Seminar on thesis research – part of Journal Club during 3rd year Approval to write dissertation: Obtained from Advisory Committee Research Defense – Submit completed dissertation to Advisory Committee members 2 weeks prior; submit manuscripts to journals; students typically graduate in 4 to 5 years Thesis Seminar – no sooner than 2 weeks following successful Private Research Defense See http://grad.uchc.edu/current/timeline.html for more details on PhD Program milestones/timeline. Advisory System Prethesis Advising – Year 1 When a student enters the Neuroscience Training Program, a three member Advisory Committee is established. Students are encouraged to identify appropriate faculty members for
  • 17. their Advisory Committee. One member must serve on the Student Progress Committee. The function of these advisors is to ensure that appropriate courses are selected, to aid in identification of laboratories for rotations, and to monitor the student's progress. Students are to meet with each member of his or her committee several times a year. The inclusion of one member of the Student Progress Committee ensures that some member of that committee will have continuing personal contact with each student, thus assuring uniformity of advising. Advisory Committee – Year 2 After a Thesis Supervisor is selected, by September 1st of the second year, students may request an adjustment in the composition of their Advisory Committee to reflect their research interests. Thesis Advisory Committees will always include three members in addition to the Thesis Supervisor; one member must be a member of the Student Progress Committee. The most senior member of the Advisory Committee (other than the Thesis Supervisor) will serve as chair of the Advisory Committee. Selection of Advisory Committee members is an important decision since all three members serve on the student’s Examination Committee. Advisory Committee at least yearly to ensure that students are meeting program requirements, that the General Examination and Thesis Prospectus are completed successfully and on schedule and that appropriate mentoring and planning for the future are occurring. Advisory Committee - Thesis Advising During the period in which dissertation research is conducted, the role of the Thesis Advisory Committee is to assist the student by providing a critical review of research aims, progress, methods, etc. Committee members should serve as a resource for students to draw upon as they conduct their research. The Committee meets with the student at least once a year, but preferably each semester, to assess progress, evaluate the research plan for the coming period, and provide constructive criticism for the student and his or her supervisor. These meetings also provide an opportunity for committee members to advise the student on career development. The composition of the Advisory Committee should be adjusted to reflect the student’s research interests and can be expanded to include additional members. It must include three faculty members chosen jointly by the student and the thesis supervisor. At least one member other than the Thesis Supervisor must be a member of the Student Progress Committee. The members should be selected for their expertise and willingness to advise the student and Thesis Supervisor throughout the duration of the thesis research. The Student Progress Committee representative will serve as chair. 17
  • 18. Annual Advisory Committee meetings must be completed by June 1st of each year so that the Student Progress Committee at its final meeting of the academic year can review their results. At least one week before each meeting of the Advisory Committee, the student must provide each member with a written statement, 2-3 pages in length, of his or her progress during the preceding year and plans for the following year. Each member of the committee should also receive a copy of the previous committee report and the student's previous progress report. Without timely delivery of these documents, the meeting cannot proceed in a productive manner. At the beginning of the meeting the committee may wish to ask the student to step out of the room so it can consider the most appropriate way to proceed in its discussions with the student. The Advisory Committee may also meet with the student in the absence of the Thesis Supervisor. Dual degree students returning to the clinic must schedule an annual Advisory Committee meeting one year prior to graduating. After each meeting of the Advisory Committee, the Thesis Supervisor and the chair of the Advisory Committee submit a joint letter to the Program Director and Chair of the Student Progress Committee. The letter should summarize the student's progress and the results of the Committee meeting. Copies of this letter are distributed to the members of the Advisory Committee and to the student. This report is reviewed by the Student Progress Committee and placed in the student's file. The Student Progress Committee continues to monitor each student's progress through the annual Advisory Committee reports. Summary of Student Advisory Committees Prethesis Advisory Committee - 3 members (one on Student Progress Committee) General Examination Committee – 3 members of Prethesis Advisory Committee (one on Student Progress Committee), Director/Associate Director of Neuroscience Training Program, at least one additional member, for 5 total Thesis Advisory Committee - 3 members, in addition to, the Thesis Supervisor (one on SPC) Role of Committees Director and Associate Director The Program Director and Associate Director are elected by a majority vote of the Training Program faculty and each serves a 2 year term. Nominations are sought from Program Faculty and the Executive Committee puts a slate of candidates forth; election is by secret ballot and occurs in December with the Associate Director succeeding the Director. Executive Committee The Executive Committee meets monthly to review and establish program policy and rules. The Program Guidelines (this document) express these policies. Members include the Director, Associate Director, the most recent former Director, the heads of the Admissions and Curriculum Committees, two elected faculty, an elected student representative and the Chair of the Neuroscience Department. Curriculum Committee This committee is charged with maintaining a teaching curriculum that serves the needs of students enrolled in the Neuroscience Training Program as well as students matriculated in other Areas of Concentration in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at the 18
  • 19. University of Connecticut Health Center or at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus. The Director of the Neuroscience Training Program appoints four members, representing the various areas of research in the program. The Curriculum Committee develops guiding principles for Neuroscience Training Program course offerings, regularly reviews existing Neuroscience Training Program courses, considers student evaluations of existing courses and reviews proposals for new courses. Final decisions on new courses are made by the Executive Committee based on the recommendation of the Curriculum Committee and must be approved by the GPC. Student Progress Committee The purpose of this committee is to provide advice and guidance to Neuroscience students and to monitor their progress from the time they enter the program until they have completed their dissertation. One member of the Student Progress Committee must be included in each individual Student Advisory Committee. Meetings are scheduled immediately after the end of each semester. Student Progress Committee members meet individually with their assigned first and second year students before the full Student Progress Committee meets. The Student Progress Committee meets to discuss student grades, rotation reports, Student Advisory Committee reports, and to consider petitions from students for alterations in their individual program or Plan of Study. At the end of the academic year, the Student Progress Committee reviews the status of every student in the Neuroscience Training Program; any concerns are discussed with the student and his or her Thesis Supervisor. Recreational Activities Traditional Beer and Munchies parties occur the first Friday of each month. Neuroscience students climb MT. Washington in New Hampshire 19
  • 20. 20 Training Program Faculty and Research Interests Our training program faculty are what makes us special. Current information on their research can be found at: http://grad.uchc.edu/neuroscience/neuroscience_faculty.html Full Members (F) have “mentor-eligible”status. Affiliate members (A) contribute to the teaching and training activities of the Neuroscience Training Program. Members in this category who have active research programs are eligible to transfer to the "full membership" category and may serve as rotation advisors at any time. Srdjan Antic (F) Dendritic integration of synaptic inputs. Dopaminergic modulation of dendritic excitability. Rashmi Bansal (F) Developmental, cellular and molecular biology of oligodendrocytes; growth factor regulation of function and its relationship to neurodegenerative disease, including Multiple Sclerosis. Elisa Barbarese (F) Molecular and cellular biology of neural cells with emphasis on RNA trafficking Leslie Bernstein (F) Behavioral neuroscience: psychoacoustics, binaural hearing John Carson (F) Molecular and developmental neurobiology; myelination; intracellular RNA trafficking, computational cell biology. Lisa Conti (F) Behavioral neuroscience: Roles of stress and neuropeptides in animal modles of psychiatric disorders Stephen Crocker (F) Brain injury and repair in neurodegenerative diseases with a focus on neuroinflammation; myelin injury, neural stem cell differentiation, signal transduction, glia, matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors. Betty Eipper (F) The cell biology, biochemistry and physiology of peptide synthesis, storage and secretion in neurons and endocrine cells. Marion Frank (F) Gustatory neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, behavior and disorders; chemosensory information processing; clinical testing of oral chemosensory function in humans. James Hewett (F) Mechanisms of cell injury and inflammation in the central nervous system. Sandra Hewett (F) Cell and molecular mechanisms underlying acute and chronic cell death in the central nervous system. Duck Kim (F) Neurobiology and biophysics of the auditory system; computational neuroscience of single neurons and neural systems;experimental otolaryngology; biomedical engineering. Shigeyuki Kuwada (F) Neurophysiology and anatomy of mammalian auditory system, principles of binaural signal processing, electrical audiometry in infants
  • 21. 21 Eric Levine (F) Synaptic plasticity, focusing on the roles of endogenous cannabinoids and nerve growth factors in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. James Li (A) Development of the central nervous system, with an emphasis on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying formation of the mammalian cerebellum. Xue-Jun Li (F) Stem Cell Biology: mechanisms and pathways underlying the development and degeneration of the human motor neurons using human stem cells as an experimental system. Leslie Loew (F) Morphological determinants of cell physiology; image-based computational models; spatial variations of cell membrane electrophysiology; new optical methods for probing living cells. Richard Mains (F) Neuronal tissue culture; peptides; vesicles; enzymes; drug abuse; development ; pituitary Gerald Maxwell (A) Molecular and cellular developmental biology; neurogenesis. Louise McCullough (F) Stroke; gender differences in the response to cerebral ischemia D. Kent Morest (F) Synaptic organization and nervous system fine structure: plastic changes following activity changes; noise-induced hearing loss; development of synapses; tissue culture; neuronal transplantation. Douglas L. Oliver (F) Synaptic organization; parallel information processing in CNS; role of ionic currents, channel expression in information processing; neurocytology, morphology, cellular physiology of CNS sensory systems; biology of hearing and deafness. Joel Pachter (F) Mechanisms regulating pathogenesis of CNS infectious/inflammatory disease. Martin Schiller (F) Neuronal regeneration, secretory pathway, cell signaling. William Shoemaker (A) Neuropharmacology; CNS peptides and receptors; fetal alcohol syndrome; genetics of mental diseases. David Waitzman (F) Neurophysiology; oculomotor system; gaze control system; modeling of CNS. Zhao-Wen Wang (F) Molecular mechanism of neurotransmitter release regulation, and molecular mechanisms of gap junction function, assembly and regulation using C. elegans as a model system. Nada Zecevic (F) Cellular and molecular aspects of CNS development; primate cerebral cortex; oligodendrocyte progenitors, stem cells, microglia; multiple sclerosis.
  • 22. 22 Current and Past Trainees The majority of our past trainees are active scientists. Our faculty’s trainees from 10 years ago and longer are now full professors, serve as Chairs of Departments and Institutes, are active on Editorial Boards and Study Sections, and hold positions of stature in industry. More recent trainees are pursuing post-doctoral training, finishing their medical training, or have started faculty positions or jobs in the biotech industry. Current trainees and selected past trainees of current faculty are listed below. See http://neuroscience.uchc.edu/people/trainees.html. Current Trainees Where they went to school Drew Kiraly Drew University Eric Gaier Ithaca College Verica Milivojevic Albertus Magnus College Lawrence Hsieh University of California, Davis Chad Siegel Boston University Zhou Han Beijing Medical University Joseph Cruz Madara Bates College Dori Schafer Mount Holyoke Danielle Moore Drew University Jane Tayler University of Connecticut Vedakumar Tatavarty University of Madras Ricka Messer University of Texas Lawrence Hsieh University of California, Davis Anna Moore James Madison University Robert Claycomb Boston University Marius Ifrim Carol Davila University of Medicine & Pharmacy Some Past Trainees Where they are now Yuanzheng Gao Research fellow, Johns Hopkins University Jacqueline Sobota Dental Student, UConn Health Center Birgit Fogal Post-doc Assoc, Yale University - Pediatrics Kristian Hedstrom Post-doc Assoc, Yale University - Neurology Mary Hamby Post-doctoral fellow, University of California Jason Cromer Post-doctoral Associate, MIT- Inst of Learning & Memory Dale Fortin Post-doctoral fellow, Vollum Institute Chana Rabinor NIH, HHS Emerging Leader Program Chang Xu Post-doctoral fellow, Harvard Joseph Donald Trettel Medical Student, UConn Health Center Christopher Michael Taylor Post-doctoral fellow, Harvard Jay Sriram Pathmanathan Resident, Harvard William D’Angelo Post-doctoral fellow, Vanderbilt University Martin Brown Post-doctoral fellow, NIH Craig Brumwell Post-doctoral fellow, University of Connecticut Hagyi Cui Post-doctoral fellow, UConn Health Center Elizabeth Grace Post-doctoral fellow, Albert Einstein Coll. Med. Sandra Hill Post-doctoral Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine Ana Milosevic Post-doctoral fellow, Columbia Univ. Medical School Julia Rockwood Post-doctoral fellow, Albert Einstein Coll. Med. Armando Signore Post-doctoral fellow, University of Pittsburgh Candra Smith-Slatas Resident, University of Connecticut Richard Bedlack Chief Resident in Neurology, Duke Univ. Jill Helms Asst. Prof., Orthopedic Surgery, UCSF Terrence R. Stanford Asst Prof. Wake Forest School of Medicince C. B. Halsell Asst. Prof., University of Washington, Seattle Hye-Young Yun Assoc Prof., Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea Doris Stoffers Asst. Prof. and HHMI, U Pennsylvania Medical School Arthur Warrington Research Staff Scientist, Mayo Clinic
  • 23. Administrative Committees Director Eric Levine, BB31015 860-679-2145 eslevine@neuron.uchc.edu Associate Director James Hewett, E4053A 860-679-4131 JHewett@nso1.uchc.edu Program Contact Person Lori Capozzi, 860-679-2658 Capozzi@uchc.edu Executive Committee Lisa Conti Betty Eipper James Hewett Sandra Hewett Shig Kuwada Eric Levine Bill Shoemaker Srdjan Antic Dick Mains (Neuroscience Chairman) Danielle Moore (Student Representative) Admissions Bill Shoemaker shoemake@psychiatry.uchc.edu Curriculum Committee Shig Kuwada (head) Lisa Conti Elisa Barbarese Dick Mains Student Progress Committee Betty Eipper Rashmi Bansal James Hewett (head) Doug Oliver Journal Club Zhao-Wen Wang Duck Kim Neuroscience Seminar Committee Rashmi Bansal 23
  • 24. GSO (Graduate Student Organization) Lawrence Hsieh Anna Moore Neuroscience Representatives Useful Phone Numbers/Names Neuroscience Department Office: L4031 Wendy Wolcott 860-679-2391; wolcott@nso2.uchc.edu Lori Capozzi 860-679-2658; capozzi@uchc.edu UCHC Graduate Student Services: AM016, 860-679-3125 Registrar and Assistant Registrar: LM035 Janice Gilkes 860-679-2990; Gilkes@uchc.edu Linda Green 860-679-3125; LGreen@mph.uchc.edu Associate Dean of the Graduate School Lawrence A. Klobutcher 860-679-2816; klobutcher@nso2.uchc.edu Office of Health Career Opportunity Programs AG013, 679-3483 Confidential Counseling Debra Johnson, Pamela Skerker, 860-679-6700; johnson@psych.uchc.edu C.H.I.P.S. - Confidential Help for Impaired Professional Students http://medicine.uchc.edu/organizations/chips/chips.html Public Safety/Escort Service/Parking, 679-2511 Public Safety Administration Office, LG041 For additional information: UCHC Graduate School Student Handbook Available online at http://grad.uchc.edu/handbook.html 24

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