Neuroscience Training Grants

Students in the PhD program in Computational Neuroscience have access to a range of training opportunities that will prepare them for a successful career. From cutting-edge research projects to hands-on laboratory experience, our program offers a wealth of resources to help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive.

Program Directors: Donald Hedeker and Xiaoxi Zhuang

The NIDA T32 Training Program provides a unique multidisciplinary opportunity for both pre and postdoctoral trainees interested in addiction and substance abuse research. Our training faculty includes world-renowned experts in addiction research at every level, from molecular genetics and cellular approaches to behavior, epidemiology, and treatment. With this breadth of faculty expertise, we aim to educate trainees in the multiple dimensions of this complex social and biological problem.

The University of Chicago has a long record of commitment to drug abuse research, beginning in 1972 when the NIDA-funded Drug Abuse Research Center was established. Since then, our faculty has included pioneers of addiction research, including Jerry Jaffe, Lewis Seiden, Daniel X Freedman, Bob Schuster, Marian Fischman, and Chris-Ellyn Johanson.

Building on this long tradition, the current faculty includes leaders in neuropharmacology and behavioral pharmacology of addiction, using both animal models and human subjects, as well as key epidemiological and public policy research. The University has recently expanded its commitment to neuroscience through new investments in genetics as well as systems/computational neuroscience and clinical research. These significant investments create a rich intellectual environment with exciting new opportunities for addiction research.

Program Directors: Nicholas Hatsopoulos and Melina Hale

Research and training on motor control at UChicago have a unique history of combining neurobiology and neuromechanics research with computational approaches. In the past few years, the University has significantly expanded its neuroscience community with the establishment of the new Neuroscience Institute. The significant investments have created exciting new opportunities for research and training in the area of motor control and movement and related disorders, especially in addressing questions by integrating experimental and computational approaches.

Our training program takes advantage of the existing breadth and depth of motor control and movement research on campus. We have 14 faculty trainers whose research is focused on motor control and movement, covering a broad range from genetic, molecular, and cellular studies to circuits, systems, biomechanics, and computational approaches. Our research interests have a broad anatomic scope, from neuromuscular junction and spinal cord to cerebellum, basal ganglia, and cerebral cortex.

We employ a broad range of model organisms including invertebrates, insects, zebrafish, and mice to non-human primates and human subjects. Through its various activities (a course in Experimental Design in Motor Control Research, a monthly journal club, and a summer workshop/problem-solving challenge among others) the training program brings together faculty and students whose work is mainly experimental and those whose work is computational. We explore as a community how fundamental questions in motor control can be addressed at a range of levels of approach.

Program Directors: Brent Doiron, Jason MacLean, Stephanie Palmer

The scale and scope of modern neuroscience necessitate that students are trained in cutting-edge quantitative modeling and methods applied to brain data. The Training in Theory and Computation for Next Generation Neuroscientists, which has both an undergraduate and a graduate-level component, supports students specializing in theoretical neuroscience, as well as those working at the interface between computation and experiment.

Building the next generation of computational neuroscience cannot happen in siloed communities, but rather must have full and collaborative engagement across disciplines. This is a central philosophy for Computational Neuroscience at UChicago.

Program Directors: Mark Westneat and Melina Hale

Neuromechanics is an important area of need in neuroscience. The field examines the combined function of the brain in concert with the biomechanics of body movement and sensorimotor integration.

Neuromechanics research has implications for both basic and applied work related to a national need in neuroscience including (1) the development of neuroprosthetics to restore abilities to amputees, (2) the development of biologically-inspired designs for a range of engineering applications, and (3) increased understanding of how organisms function in changing environments, a key to understanding potential impacts of climate change on behavior, animal populations, and species survival.

Fellows receive disciplinary and broad training in the biological sciences and in research and analysis techniques and take a curriculum in teaching with coursework and a mentored classroom experience. They also participate in an array of career development opportunities that align with the Fellows’ interests and career aspirations.