INTEGRATED GRADUATE TRAINING PROGRAM IN NEUROSCIENCE, UTHSCSA
The Integrated Graduate Program in Neuroscience at UTHSCSA provides training in a range of neuroscientific research areas and approaches, from molecular, cellular, and neurochemical to systems, behavioral and clinical neuroscience. With 30 training faculty drawn from the mentoring faculty in the Neuroscience Program within the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (IBMS) at UTHSCSA, this Training Program offers a course of study tailored to the individual needs and interests of students who come to us from a variety of backgrounds in the basic biological sciences, including biology, biochemistry, chemistry, molecular biology, psychology and neuroscience. An interactive and collegial community of educators and researchers creates a challenging yet supportive environment within which our students can develop into successful neuroscientists. Program Goals are to provide our students: I) a curriculum that gives them a broad foundation of fundamental concepts in Neuroscience; II) skills and knowledge necessary to conduct high-quality Neuroscience research; and III) training in ethical behavior and responsible conduct, and professional skills that will prepare them for successful careers as independent neuroscientists. A set of 8 Student Learning Objectives that service these goals form the basis for a program evaluation and monitoring system that informs ongoing evolution of our program, including changes, additions and improvements to curriculum, professional development and enrichment activities, and other elements of the program. The progress of our students is facilitated and monitored by a robust administrative and organizational structure, and experienced program leadership. Students enter the IBMS, and are fully supported by the graduate school during their first year. In the first semester they take a common biomedical sciences course and conduct lab rotations. They join a lab and begin the Neuroscience curriculum in the spring semester. The students to be supported by this T32 training grant are selected at the end of the first summer, to be supported during their second year of study, during which they complete the core Neuroscience course curriculum, conduct a Clinical Practicum in Neuroscience, develop their research project, and engage in several enrichment and professional development activities before completing the Qualifying Exam at the end of year 2. In the year following support, students present their dissertation proposal and submit individual fellowship applications. Other advanced-stage T32s on our campus may support post-QE Neuroscience students working in relevant areas while they navigate the fellowship submission and revision process. Our program has been successful, with a nearly 90% retention and completion rate, and essentially 100% of students who completed their degree proceeded to research-intensive or research-related positions. We also have a strong history of successful outcomes training students from under-represented populations, while maintaining national competitiveness. Renewed funding of this training grant will continue the growth and development of our program, and enhance our ability to train our students for the challenges of the future.