Neurobiology Graduate Training Program

Duke’s Neurobiology Graduate Training Program is an interdepartmental program for students to pursue a Ph.D. in neurobiology. Our goal is to train scientists who will lead the field through positions in research-oriented institutions. We strive to train Ph.D. students for careers that will further knowledge about how the brain works and/or develop treatments and cures for neurological, neuropsychiatric, and developmental disorders. Our students go on to become researchers at universities and biotechnology companies, and/or professors at colleges and universities.

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Mission of the Program

The neurobiology program is oriented toward questions of the structure and function of brain cells and the brain. Companion programs with somewhat different emphases include the Cognitive Neuroscience Training Program and the Systems and Integrative Neuroscience Program. Students should apply to the program with potential faculty mentors whose research best fits the student's long-term research interests and professional goals. For additional information, visit the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS).

Interdisciplinary Research and Training

Program strengths include an excellent interdisciplinary and collaborative faculty, a number of young faculty with modern and vital research programs, and a curriculum that is as minimal or as expansive as each student needs. Although the program's administrative home resides in the Department of Neurobiology in the School of Medicine, the 40 training program faculty are drawn from departments across the university. This widespread representation ensures a broad scientific framework in which students can receive training and pursue doctoral research.

Broad Coverage of Neuroscience

The training program provides students with a thorough understanding of cellular, molecular, systems, cognitive, and developmental neurobiology while advancing them into substantive research as quickly as possible. Students complete a core curriculum that covers the major concepts of contemporary neurobiology. They are encouraged to work with faculty to develop a further course of study tailored to their needs, backgrounds and interests.

Research Training

Our major emphasis is research. In the first year, students complete two or three laboratory rotations. Each student selects a thesis mentor at the end of the first year and begins research in the second year. By the end of the second year, s/he submits a thesis proposal that serves as the exam for advancement to degree candidacy. Students should be able to complete the Ph.D. program in five years.

History of the Program

The program was founded in 1988-90. It has a current enrollment of about 50 students and graduates about five students a year. Over 100 students have completed the program and received their Ph.D.’s. Almost all of our students go on to pursue postdoctoral fellowships after completing their dissertations. 

Statistics

Contacts

Jörg Grandl, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies
(919) 684-1144
grandl@neuro.duke.edu

LaDonna Huseman
Director of Graduate Studies Assistant
(919) 681-4243
ladonna.huseman@duke.edu

Anne West, Ph.D.
Ombudsperson
(919) 681-1909
west@neuro.duke.edu

 

Graduate Student Representatives

Ashley Wilson
Steering Committee Representative
(919) 684-3964
ashley.m.wilson@duke.edu

Shiva Nagappan
Steering Committee Representative
(607) 280-1486
shiva.nc@duke.edu

Michael Young
General Assembly Representative for the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC)
(201) 410-5220
michael.young@duke.edu

Bryson Deanhardt
General Assembly Representative for the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC)
(919) 684-1682
bryson.deanhardt@duke.edu