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Program Overview
Research Specializations


A printable version of the Program Curriculum (8/16/2010) can be downloaded here.

The Ph.D. in Neuroscience follows the curricular guidelines established by the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago. A total of 96 credit hours is required for graduation. Of these 96 hours, 32 are obtained from formally graded courses (not including research and NEUS 595 Seminar in Neuroscience; i.e. Journal Club). These constitute the "GPA" credit hours. A minimum of 8 GPA hours at the 500 level (not including core courses GCLS 503, NEUS 501, 502, 595 and research) must be obtained by all students, whether or not they enter the program with a Masters of Science degree. These core courses and eight elective credit hours at the 500 level are included within the 32 hours or coursework required for the degree. All graduate trainees take a first year of core courses in biology and neuroscience, as well as rotations through laboratories in participating departments that will begin in the first semester. Before starting their second year, students choose their thesis advisor. At the end of their second year, students take a Preliminary Examination before continuing their dissertation research.

Note to M.D. Ph.D. Students: M.D. Ph.D. students are required to meet all the requirements of the Graduate Program. Exceptions are noted in the downloadable version of the Program Provisions (see above). However, every effort will be made to design a program that best suits the needs and talents of the individual students. M.D. Ph.D. students must consult with the Director of the M.D. Ph.D. Program as well as the Director of Graduate Studies of the Neuroscience Program before beginning rotations or choosing a thesis advisor. Normally, M.D. Ph.D. candidates begin their course work with the first two years of the Medical School curriculum. They are required to complete their laboratory rotations during those first years. Required Graduate-level courses and electives and the Ph.D. Preliminary Examinations should be completed by the end of Year 3.

All students admitted to the Program are expected to be conversant in multiple areas of scientific specialization in order to promote dialog and collaboration between the various disciplines represented by the Neurosciences. This is accomplished by the students' participation in the introductory courses during their first year and participation in the Neuroscience Journal Club throughout their academic career. Ultimately, students specialize in one of these overlapping areas of interest described below and can apply for a concentration in these areas at the time of graduation:

 





Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Objectives
Students in this area are expected to become expert in some or all of the following three areas: 1) biochemistry / molecular biology [specially related to signal transduction], 2) cell biology and imaging, 3) neuropharmacology. All students are expected to develop an understanding of diseases of the brain and mind, some basic understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of those diseases, as well as treatments for them.

Research
The major research strengths in this area are neural signal transduction and synaptic plasticity.

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Integrative Systems Neuroscience

Objectives
Students selecting this area are expected to develop in-depth knowledge of some or all of the following subjects: 1) integrative synaptic physiology, 2) sensory processing and motor control, 3) sensor technology and neural tissue engineering. Students will develop familiarity with quantitative analysis of behavior, electrophysiological methods, imaging, and statistical and modeling approaches.

Research
The major research strengths in this area are sensory function (especially vision), sensorimotor integration, and neural engineering.


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Human and Therapeutic Neuroscience

Objectives
This area provides integrated interdisciplinary training for neuroscience students in human cognition, motor control and learning, and dysfunction of neural systems. It is based on advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques for studying the brain, and advanced optoelectronic and servo-driven devices for studying cognition and movement.

Research
Major research strengths in this area are cognition, human sensorimotor performance, psychiatric and neurological disorders.


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