Slide 1 - Society for NeurosciencePresentation Transcript
One Room, Many Doors: Logistics of Recruiting and Training Students in Neuroscience through an Undifferentiated Biomedical Program
• We've been considering the creation of an undifferentiated Biomedical Sciences program for several years, but it has never happened. It is clear that it will not substitute for the current, specific programs, although such a program may capture additional students that haven't decided yet what aspect of biomedical research they are most interested in.
• Our program is actually in the midst of moving from primarily a direct Neuroscience track, with an undifferentiated track on the side, to something more broad for everything.
• While generally our Neuroscience faculty support taking students from the Integrated Biomedical Grad Program into their labs, they do not see this program as providing an adequate foundation for engaging in a career in NS research.
• Our General Biomedical Tract courses only last for the first semester. The second semester of the first year they are in neuroscience courses.
• We have an integrated program; all students are admitted together and take a core curriculum the first semester. Students identified as Neuroscience in the beginning start with additional Neuroscience training immediately. All students must choose a track by June of their first year, but Neuroscience students that do not decide by the end of the first semester are at disadvantage and will be a year behind.
• We have just initiated the undifferentiated track this year and so we have no evidence of whether it is better or worse that the direct path. The new recruitment efforts are mainly to improve overall admissions, I think students looking for the already interdisciplinary Neuroscience PhD might be a little confused. • This question is quite timely: our medical school is in the process of merging several discipline-based graduate programs into a common Biomedical Sciences program. The neuroscience program, however, has chosen not to participate. In part this decision was because we had the sense that neuroscience programs don't do well within umbrella programs, particularly if they have strong representation of areas other than cell & molecular biology. • The umbrella programs have many disadvantages and I am not supportive, in general.
• This the first year of our generating our own core that satisfies the graduate school's four requirements: Molecular, cellular, systems & quantitative. • We have a multidisciplinary core (bio, psych, stats, etc) but focused on neuroscience. • Although we currently do not have a core curriculum, there is a current debate as to whether to incorporate this concept into our program. • It would help to develop either a training boot camp or a core neuroscience course for 1st year students. • Q:4 it depends on how you define multi-disciplinary. Ours is multi-disciplinary within Neuroscience.
• All Biomedical Graduate Studies students, regardless of the graduate group they are admitted into, take the same core course, Cell Biology, in the first semester. There's discussion of adding additional, BGS wide courses, but the grad groups, NGG included, have resisted, b/c we have our own required core courses.
• The Core curriculum (which is heavily focused on cellular biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology) is inflexible in that it does not allow for systems neuroscience students to opt out.
• While parts of the core courses are helpful, much of it is not necessary and increases the time required for students to obtain their degree. The requirements also can have negative effects on recruitment of students that already know what they want to do. This system was forced on the program by administrators and after 5 years of this most Neuroscience faculty would prefer and independent program though there is little chance they will be allowed to have one.
Strategic Research Plan
Strategic Research Plan
Reduces administrative burden & recruitment costs
More uniform academic standards for acceptance
Early interaction between students - camaraderie
Outstanding domestic students from national pool
Pool of undifferentiated top 1st year students
NIH & NSF interdisciplinary training grants
Advantages of Integrated Recruiting
Entire year to select mentor & graduate program
Opportunity to select from a larger # of faculty
Fosters networking with large # of students
Establish collaborations between laboratories
Interdisciplinary research focus
Advantages of Integrated Recruiting
Discipline Approach (past model) Admission Directly into Departments Departmental Committee (Dept. Faculty) Admission of Ph.D. Students Discipline Focus In Specific Dept. (Starting Yr. 1) Mentor (Selection by Yr. 2) Individual Interviews Applicant Pool Recruitment of Ph.D students at Health Sciences Center
Discipline Approach (past model) Admission Directly into Departments Integrated Recruiting Approach (new model) Admission into Undifferentiated First Year Departmental Committee (Dept. Faculty) Admission of Ph.D. Students Discipline Focus In Specific Dept. (Starting Yr. 1) Mentor (Selection by Yr. 2) Multidisciplinary Committee (Grad. Directors) Admission of Ph.D. Students Common Interdisciplinary Core Curriculum (Year 1) Mentor & Program (Selection by Yr. 2) Individual Interviews Group Interview Weekends Applicant Pool Recruitment of Ph.D students at Health Sciences Center
Cell Structure and Function
Fundamentals of Integrated Systems
Lab rotation 1
Laboratory Rotations 2 & 3
Choice of Elective Modules
-Cancer Cell Biology
-Cardiovascular & Respiratory Biology
-Current Topics in Biochemistry
-Drug Discovery and Development
-Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis
-Muscle Structure and Function
First-Year Core Curriculum
Interdisciplinary Training Focus
WV EPSCoR “STEM Fellowship in Cancer Nanotechnology”
NIH T-32 “Training Program in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases”