The EC Review

Todd Ahern and Dan Manvich, Executive Committee Student Reps

Originally published September 2006.

Todd Ahern
Todd Ahern

Some things change and some things stay the same. Once again, the admissions committee has managed to sign some of the nation’s most impressive neuroscience graduate applicants. The executive committee would like to thank Zoe Donaldson and Meagan Ward, the student representatives, for all their hard work in planning and executing two extremely efficient and rewarding recruitment weekends, as well as for all of their input in admissions decisions. The entire neuroscience program is also indebted to the hard work, long hours, and perseverance of the admissions committee, including Ping Chen, Andrew Escayg, Amy Lee, Mike Mustari, Pete Wenner, Thomas

Dan Manvich
Dan Manvich

Wichmann, Larry Young, and Leonard Howell, the chair and indefatigable driving force of the whole venture for the past three years. We would also like to acknowledge Sonia Hayden for all her help with recruitment. Through their efforts, we have 13 first-rate students who will begin this fall. Some students have already begun their rotations here, so be sure to welcome them when they cross your path.

In addition to the new students, the neuroscience program has added several new faculty to its member list. These include Jonathan Glass (Neurology & Pathology), Andrew Jenkins (Anesthesiology), Rick Kahn (Biochemistry), Cling Kilts (Functional Imaging & Mental Disorders), Stella Pappa (Neurology), Machelle Pardue (Ophthalmology), and Zixu Mao (Pharmacology). Robert Lui has been updated from adjunct to full neuroscience faculty. With interests in a range of fields, these new members are sure to add an even greater depth and breadth to the neuroscience program’s existing expertise. Be sure to look them up on our website—

There have also been a few changes to the ranks of the executive committee. Marie Csete and Xiao-Jiang Li have ended their three-year terms and will be replaced by Mike Owens (Psychiatry) and Zixu Mao (Pharmacology), while Krish Sathian (Neurology) and Lian Li (Pharmacology) have been reelected for second terms. Finally, Jill Bordelon (fourth-year student) has completed her two-year term and Dan Manvich (second-year student) was recently elected to replace her. We would like to thank all the outgoing Executive Committee members for their hard work and dedication and welcome our new additions.

Other important changes of note include a shift in the administration of the Written and Oral Qualifying Exams for the incoming class of 2006. Historically, the written exam consisted of two components, which were administered on consecutive days after the second year of course work, usually around the end of May. The first component was open-book and required that 7 of 10 integrative, experimental-design based essay questions be answered in an 8 hour period. The second component required that students adeptly critique 1 of 5 Journal of Neuroscience articles, again within 8 hours. While these requirements will be maintained, the timing and format will be changed for the incoming 2006 class. Instead of having both components given at the end of the second year, students will take the integrative essay exam in August after their first year, while the paper-critique will be moved to serve as the “final exam” for the advanced seminar class. These changes will allow us to maintain the same high standards, but shift the timing to better align with the curriculum overall. As for the oral exam, the requirements will stay the same, but they will be moved to an earlier date. Beginning with the incoming class of 2006, the oral qualifying exam will be administered at the beginning of October of their third year, instead of February of their third year. This will allow students to potentially submit an NRSA before the usual December deadline.

As most of you know, the annual Neuroscience Retreat is coming up! On August 26th, 2006, the neuroscience program will host a day-long retreat at Historic Banning Mills (205 Horseshoe Dam Road, Whitesburg, GA, 30185). The keynote address will be given by Dr. Stuart Zola, director of Yerkes, and there will be several short presentations by David Weinshenker, Beth Buffalo, Stuart Hoffman, Lary Walker, and Becky Kinkead covering a wide range of translational research arenas that are of interest to the current students. The retreat will also serve as a relaxed forum to meet and welcome the incoming students.

Lastly, we encourage everyone to attend our Frontiers in Neuroscience lecture series, which will occur weekly on Fridays at noon. This year, Frontiers will be organized by second- year students Meriem Gaval and Ahmad Sylvester. We thank them in advance for what should be a wonderful lecture series. We’ll see you there!


Please contact either Todd Ahern ( or Dan Manvich ( your EC student representatives, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.


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