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Graduate Program

Wei Wang, Ph.D. (left) was awarded her Ph.D. degree on May 15, 2010. Her dissertation advisor, Steven Barger, Ph.D. stands beside her soon after the Commencement Ceremony. The title of Dr. Wang’s dissertation is: “Biochemistry and Cell Biology of Serine Racemase, an Enzyme Synthesizing an Unconventional CNS Neurotransmitter.” Photo credit: Melody Smith

The Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences offers graduate training programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The objective of these programs is to prepare graduates for careers in teaching and research. Areas of faculty research specialization include various aspects of neuroscience and developmental and cell biology.

The Ph.D. program emphasizes cell biology and/or neurobiology (neuroanatomy, neurohistology, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology and neuroimmunology), according to the student’s research interests. Graduate-level courses in more specialized areas complete the course of study, which may be tailored to meet the needs of individual students.

The Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences also participates in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Track that also involves faculty members in the Departments of Physiology and Biophysics, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Microbiology and Immunology.

Neuroscience Graduate Studies

Neuroscience research in the Department is primarily in the fields of systems, cellular and molecular biology with a strong emphasis on clinically relevant human problems. A wide variety of techniques are used in several broad based research projects whose main emphasis is directed toward understanding nervous system development and recovery from injury. Investigations are currently underway to reveal the fundamental concepts associated with the normal development of neurons, the glial cells and cell surface receptors within the vertebrate nervous system. Experiments utilize morphological and electrophysiological changes that occur during development and injury, but also use neuronal and glial cell cultures to elucidate the roles that growth and/or neurotrophic factors and gonadal hormones play in the nervous system. Additional areas of neuroscience research deal with regulation of anterior pituitary cells by neuroendocrine peptides, the deleterious affects of alcohol on the developing nervous system including fetal alcohol syndrome, and with clinical problems concerning human brain dysfunctions associated with Alzheimer’s disease, depression, epilepsy, infectious disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, sleep disorders, and space motion sickness.

Cellular and Developmental Biology

The Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announces a newly designed focus in Cellular and Developmental Biology available as part of the Department’s Graduate School curriculum. This is made possible by the recent recruitment of faculty that significantly enhance departmental strengths in aging and developmental biology.

Ph.D. candidates will be trained by leading researchers using state of the art technologies to address fundamental questions in cell biology. Research interests of the faculty include the regulation of early development, aging, alcohol abuse, inflammatory responses, neurotrauma, infectious diseases, and reproductive sciences.

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