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Neuroscience

Neuroscience

Integrating outstanding research and education in a wide range of basic and clinical disciplines in order to help students prepare for successful careers in academia, education, and industry

Application Deadline: December 31, 2013

 

Neuroscience, scientific study of the nervous system, is an exciting and growing field involving researchers from the physical, chemical, biological, computational, anthropological and social sciences. Some of the most interesting and fruitful research areas of the future are likely to require scientists with an understanding of, and expertise in, a variety of disciplines. Recognizing this, Penn State's Neuroscience graduate program specifically encourages students to:

  • Take multidisciplinary approaches to tackling research problems
  • Gain a good basic understanding of certain core fields, through coursework and colloquia; exactly which courses are required depends on the campus you are based at (more about the degree requirements and curriculum)

Program faculty come from several colleges and departments on two Penn State campuses. Their collective research interests are extremely varied, and include:

  • Molecular neurobiology and developmental neuroscience: investigating how and why the nervous system develops and functions as it does, at genetic, molecular and cellular levels
  • Cognitive neuroscience and behavioral neurobiology: exploring how the nervous system processes information, controls autonomic functions, regulates states of consciousness, or determines behavior
  • Neuroendocrinology and neurotoxicology: how hormones and other chemicals affect nerve cells and their interactions
  • Neural engineering: using computer engineering, robotics and other technical disciplines to investigate how the nervous system works, and how it can be manipulated
  • Systems neuroscience: how neural circuits function, coordinate and are controlled
  • Clinical neuroscience: seeking means of diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases and dysfunctions of the brain and nerves, such as malignant brain tumors, congenital and acquired brain diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.

Research programs are well-supported by grants from private and public funds, particularly from the National Institutes of Health. Students are usually admitted with the intent of obtaining a PhD degree in Neuroscience but the MS degree may be sought as part of the doctoral program. All students admitteed to the program receive financial aid (stipends and paid tuition costs), allowing full time for graduate studies. More information about admission requirements.

Faculty Spotlight
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
News
Neuroscience co-chair Ping Li, along with Huck graduate student and co-author Jennifer Legault, has published a new study that provides a framework for understanding anatomical and other changes in the brain that result from learning a new (second) language; the findings indicate that learning a second language provides a powerful platform for positive brain changes in children, adults, and the elderly. Learning a second language changes brain anatomy - Full article
The taste of common sugar substitutes is often described as being much more intense than sugar, but participants in a recent study indicated that these non-nutritive sugar substitutes are no sweeter than the real thing, according to Penn State food scientists including John Hayes. Sugar substitutes not so super sweet after all - Full article
Precise, gentle and efficient cell separation from a device the size of a cell phone may be possible thanks to tilt-angle standing surface acoustic waves, according to a team of engineers that includes Huck Institutes faculty researcher Tony Jun Huang. Tilted acoustic tweezers separate cells gently - Full article
Upcoming events
Sep 17, 2014 Wednesday 4:00 PM
Linda Overstreet Wadiche (UAB School of Medicine)
Adult-born Neurons: Hyperexcitable and Hyperselective
Sep 24, 2014 Wednesday 4:00 PM
Eric A. Newman (University of Minnesota)
Conversations Between Glial Cells, Neurons, and Blood Vessels in the Normal and Diabetic Retina
Oct 8, 2014 Wednesday 4:00 PM
Hui Zheng (Baylor College of Medicine)
Neuro-Glia Signaling in Neuronal Health and Alzheimer's Disease