Areas of Concentration

One Program - Two Areas of Concentration

The Vanderbilt Brain Institute’s Neuroscience Graduate Program offers broad-based training in the full range of modern neuroscience research.  Within the program there are two areas of concentration - the Cellular & Molecular concentration stresses genetic, molecular and cellular approaches to understanding brain function and disease, while the Cognitive & Systems concentration emphasizes neural systems and global brain function.

Cellular and Molecular Concentration

This path provides doctoral training with emphasis on neurogenetics and genetic dissection of neural development, molecular aspects of synapse formation and plasticity, structure and regulation of ion channels and transporters, targeting and signal transduction, psychotropic drug action, the molecular basis of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, and targeted gene disruption in transgenic animals to ascertain the function of neural genes and establish disease models. Applications from students within this area of interest are accepted through theApplication Page of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (IGP), the Application Page of the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) or the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) (applied through the American Medical College Application Service – AMCAS).

Cognitive and Systems Concentration 

This path provides doctoral training with emphasis on cognitive neuroscience, sensory-motor systems, neuroimaging, neural development, synaptic plasticity, neurobiological basis of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, and targeted gene disruption in transgenic animals to ascertain the function of neural genes and establish disease models. Applications from students with these interests are accepted via the Application Page of the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) or the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) (applied through the American Medical College Application Service – AMCAS).

IGP vs. NGP Entry

Both entry paths converge on a similar broad-based curriculum in fundamental neuroscience.  The principal difference is that students in the IGP pathway begin their first year with a general course in graduate level cellular and molecular biology (BioRegulation) and then begin specialized courses in Neuroscience in the spring semester of their first year, whereas NGP students begin specialized Neuroscience courses at the outset. Both IGP and NGP entry students perform laboratory rotations and select a thesis mentor in their first year.