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Neuroscience Ph.D. Program

Students interested in joining the Neuroscience Ph.D. program must first apply to the interdisciplinary umbrella program within the Division of Basic Science.

Basic Biomedical Sciences Umbrella Program; First-year students complete a core curriculum with: Core Course, 2+ Laboratory Rotations; Responsible Conduct of Research Training in Integrity, Ethics, and Excellence. Second-year students take a qualifying exam to enter the Ph.D. program: Collaborative and Cross-Disciplinary

About the Neuroscience Program

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The Neuroscience Graduate Program at UT Southwestern provides a strong foundation for tackling challenges associated with uncovering the mysteries of the nervous system. Students take coursework that covers fundamental knowledge of how nervous system cells develop, function, form circuits, and direct behaviors.

In addition, students participate in elective courses, journal clubs, and works-in-progress seminars to advance their learning and contribute to their success in this field.

Esteemed Faculty, Groundbreaking Research

Our faculty are internationally recognized leaders in their respective fields. Their research programs cover every aspect of modern neuroscience including cellular and molecular neurobiology, neurogenomics, and systems 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, cellular, and circuit basis of complex behavior
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Computational neuroscience
Shayal Vishisth

“I felt like I would be joining a welcoming and collaborative environment where I could pursue a scientific question with the support of a wide community and tons of resources.”

Shayal Vashisth

Neuroscient Graduate Program

Carlos G. Orozco

The program not only conducts cutting-edge research, but also fosters a collaborative and inclusive environment. Inter-lab collaboration is frequent, leading to more comprehensive and innovative projects.

Carlos G. Orozco

Neuroscience Graduate Program

Aleya Shedd

“The faculty in the program are very committed to student success which fosters a supportive training atmosphere. I believe UTSW creates an ideal environment to conduct top tier research in a collaborative and supportive environment. ”

Aleya Shedd

Neuroscience Graduate Student


Going Beyond Lab Research

In addition to offering extensive training in laboratory research, the Neuroscience Graduate Program provides students with:

A woman explains a point on a poster to another woman
  • Advanced Coursework

    Students take coursework that covers fundamental knowledge of how nervous system cells develop, function, form circuits, and direct behaviors.

  • Journal Clubs

    Students attend a series of advanced graduate special topics journal clubs. These are designed to provide knowledge about a given topic and also to confer a detailed understanding of experimental procedures and to promote clear presentation of ideas and arguments.

    Topics change every semester and are suggested by students based on current interests. Recent journal club topic examples include:

    • Neurotechniques
    • History of ion channels
    • Sensory systems
    • Cellular and circuit functions of GABA
    • Entirely autism: from genes to synapses, circuits, genomics and ideology
  • Works-in-Progress Seminars

    Neuroscience works-in-progress seminars provide an interactive opportunity for students and faculty to talk informally about their research and receive feedback from peers.

Meet the Program Director

Our Neuroscience Graduate Program offers a robust foundation of scientific knowledge and mentorship to equip rising researchers with the skills to tackle fundamental questions in biology and disease, from structure and function to mechanisms of common and rare disorders.

Maria Chahrour, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

See Dr. Chahrour's Full Message 
Maria Chahrour, Ph.D.

Contact the Graduate School

Lisa Gardner, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean

Phone: 214-648-0718

Lisa Gardner, Ph.D.

Stuart Ravnik, Ph.D.

Associate Dean

Phone: 214-648-0733

Stuart Ravnik, Ph.D.

Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez, Ph.D.

Associate Dean

Phone: 214-648-2527

Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez, Ph.D.

Deborah Evalds

Administrative Coordinator

Phone: 214-648-0007

Deborah Evalds