Neuroscience Ph.D. Program

About the Neuroscience Program

Neurobiology is a field defined not by a specific intellectual approach or experimental technique, but rather by its subject matter: the cells of the nervous, sensory, and muscular systems. The Neuroscience Program faculty is engaged in research focusing on cellular and molecular neurobiology, and behavioral neuroscience. Their work is laying the foundation for the next generation of treatments for neurological disease and mental illness. 

Research topics of particular interest in the Neuroscience Program include:

  • Membrane biophysics, especially the operation and modulation of ion channels
  • Neuronal organelle traffic, particularly the synthesis, axonal transport, and release of synaptic and secretory vesicles
  • Developmental neurobiology
  • Neurogenetics of invertebrates and vertebrates
  • The molecular and cellular basis of complex behavior

Neuroscience Seminar Courses

The Neuroscience Program offers a series of advanced graduate seminar courses designed to not only provide knowledge about a given topic, but also to confer a detailed understanding of experimental procedures and to promote clear presentation of ideas and arguments.

Course topics include:

  • Developmental neurogenetics
  • Neurotransmission
  • Molecular motors
  • Ion-channel modulation
  • Sensory maps
  • Genetic neurological diseases
  • Memory and long-term potentiation
  • Neuronal circuits and behavior
  • Neuronal cytoskeleton

Participation in seminars, elective courses, journal clubs, and works-in-progress seminars contributes to each student’s success.

Students interested in joining the Neuroscience Ph.D. program should apply to the interdisciplinary umbrella program within the Division of Basic Science. First-year students complete a core curriculum that includes a core course, three or four laboratory rotations, and training in the responsible conduct of research. Students who perform satisfactorily in the first semester core course are qualified to enter the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Message from the Program Chair

Kim Huber, Ph.D.
Kimberly Huber, Ph.D.

Kimberly Huber, Ph.D.
Professor, Neuroscience
Graduate School:
 University of Texas Science Center at Houston

The brain is the most complex organ in the body and is comprised of nearly 100 billion nerve cells and which communicate through a trillion connections. The field of neuroscience integrates multiple levels of analysis to determine and understand how nerve cells function together to mediate behavior, how this goes awry in disease and develop therapeutics to correct brain diseases.

Students enrolled in the Neuroscience Graduate Program will be trained to carry out independent research on high-impact and cutting-edge neuroscience research questions related to normal brain function and/or disease. The program’s 50 faculty engage in an interdisciplinary approach to the study of brain function, including neurogenomics, biophysics, developmental and cell biology, synapse and circuit neurophysiology, systems neuroscience, animal behavior and clinical research. The 40 students enrolled in the program are working toward fundamental discoveries related to brain development, control of appetite, metabolism and circadian rhythms, learning and memory, development of language and brain diseases such as depression, drug addiction, autism, epilepsy, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.