It takes brain power

For the past three decades, modern neuroscience has expanded our understanding of the brain and behavior and led us to recognize that all forms of disease, from cancer to infectious disease to obesity, are influenced by the nervous system.

To meet Georgia’s training and research needs in this expanding field, UGA has established a new doctoral degree program in neuroscience. The degree program was approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in July.

The multidisciplinary degree program will be coordinated by UGA’s Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute (BHSI) and its Division of Neuroscience. It will be a unique collaboration between many UGA academic units, including the departments of psychology, biochemistry and molecular biology, cellular biology and veterinary physiology and pharmacology.

“Due to its inherently broad and multidisciplinary nature, neuroscience research provides an unparalleled collaborative opportunity,” said Gaylen Edwards, BHSI neuroscience division chair and program graduate coordinator.

The UGA Graduate School and BHSI will officially begin accepting applications for fall 2006 semester. However, graduate students currently enrolled at UGA who wish to transfer into the program for the spring 2006 term may do so by submitting a supplemental application to the Graduate School by Nov. 1.

“The UGA Graduate School strives to be very proactive about foreseeing needs and acting accordingly,” said Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School. “The BHSI multidisciplinary degree program is an exciting example of how graduate education at the university is making great strides to better serve these global needs.”

Neuroscience represents research strength for the university with extramural funding currently exceeding $11 million. UGA investigators involved in neuroscience research span seven colleges and 14 departments. In addition, the University of Georgia is currently supporting the establishment of a neuroimaging facility in the Paul D. Coverdell Center for the Biomedical and Health Sciences, slated to open in spring 2006.

The program is currently building connections with other regional neuroscience programs as well, according to Edwards. Establishment of these connections will allow future neuroscience students at UGA to take part in research projects and participate in classes at UGA, the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia State University, Emory University, the University of South Carolina and Medical University of South Carolina.

The BHSI was established in 2001 to expand and promote biomedical sciences and human health programs at UGA and to serve as a catalyst in the development of new interdisciplinary undergraduate courses and graduate degree programs.