The EC Review

Dan Manvich & Brittany Copp, Executive Committee Student Reps

Originally published September 2007.

Another academic year has flown by us, and your Executive Committee representatives are eager to report on all the latest Program news.

Dan Manvich
Dan Manvich

The recruitment process for the incoming class of 2007 was a phenomenal success! For the second consecutive year, our Neuroscience Program filled the exact number of available slots. In total, 16 new students will be joining us this fall semester. Very special thanks must go out to our Admissions Committee members – Beth Buffalo, Ping Chen, Andrew Escayg, Amy Lee, Thomas Wichmann, Pete Wenner – student representatives Meag Ward and Mike Kelley – co-chairs Leonard Howell and Shawn Hochman – and of course, the tireless Sonia Hayden. Great work everybody, let’s keep this trend going!

Brittany Copp
Brittany Copp

Our new students will be arriving at Emory in the midst of two exciting curriculum additions, recently approved by the Curriculum Committee and Executive Committee. Richard Kahn (Biochemistry) will be spearheading a new grants-writing course, tentatively titled “Hypothesis Design and Scientific Writing”, set to debut in the spring semester for the class of 2006. Dr. Kahn has had experience creating a similar course for the Biochemistry, Cell & Developmental Biology (BCDB) Program within the GDBBS. However, this new course will be offered exclusively to our Neuroscience students. Dr. Kahn summarizes the two major goals of the course as follows: “to teach fundamental skills involved in the formulation of a testable hypothesis and research plan, and to develop the writing skills needed by all graduate students in the biomedical sciences that will allow them to effectively communicate those ideas.” Over the course of the semester students will write an NRSAstyle grant, culminating in a faculty-run study section set to analyze each individual proposal. The course will replace the Advanced Seminar that students would normally take during their spring semester of 2nd year. In effect, Advanced Seminar will now only be offered during the fall semester of the 2nd year, during which time students will learn to critically evaluate peer-reviewed scientific research.

After a successful pilot program in the fall of 2006, “Techniques in Experimental Neuroscience” will officially be offered to 1st year students during their fall semester as NS559, beginning with the incoming class of 2007. Students will meet once per week to gain exposure to a variety of methods employed by researchers in neuroscience, such as brain imaging, animal/behavioral models, computational neuroscience, electrophysiology, etc. Each class will be divided into two components: a brief 30-minute lecture to showcase what types of data can be gathered and when it is appropriate/useful to utilize the technique, followed by a 60-90 minute “lab” section in which students can see the method in action (and in some cases, gain hands-on experience!). The course will be co-directed by Vallabh Das and Yoland Smith.

Some other important changes worthy of mention:

The Executive Committee recently approved a motion that will affect our advanced students. In the past, students in their 5th year or higher were required to meet with their thesis committees at least once per calendar year. However, these students will now be required to meet with their committees once every 6 months.

As some may recall, our Program was excited to report recently that our number of training grant slots had been increased from six, to nine total. However, NIH has contacted our Program Director, Yoland Smith, and informed him that no programs will be receiving the promised increased slot allocations due to unexpected budgeting woes. Fortunately, we will be retaining our original six slots, despite many other programs losing slots for their training grant programs.

Finally, we would like to thank our outgoing Executive Committee members for their hard work and dedication – Mike Kuhar, Amy Lee, and student representative Todd Ahern. In addition, we welcome our newly-elected members – Gary Bassell, Beth Buffalo, Steve Potter, and Brittany Copp (student representative), and re-elected members Dieter Jaeger and Kerry Ressler. Here’s to another year of furthering our Neuroscience Program and community!

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If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact your Executive Committee student representatives, Dan Manvich (dmanvic@emory.edu) and Brittany Copp (brittany.copp@gmail.com).

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