Neuroscience Theme (NESC)

The NESC theme provides training opportunities in multiple and contemporary areas of neuroscience research — from fundamental discovery science at the molecular, cellular, systems, and behavioral levels, to translational studies in cellular and animal models of diseases of the nervous system. Outstanding research faculty from various schools, departments, and centers participate in training the next generation of neuroscientists. NESC seeks to equip and train students to become tomorrow's innovative neuroscientists by:

  • Teaching fundamental neuroscience concepts that are the stepping-stones needed for a deeper understanding of nervous system function.
  • Providing unique professional and scientific avenues through which they can develop their presentation skills and learn critical thinking and experimental design.
  • Offering the opportunity to choose neuroscience research from multiple options available through laboratories across the UAB campus — not limiting students to a department but, rather, a discipline.
  • Providing opportunities for informal interactions with other students to discuss research, scientific writing, and life outside and beyond graduate school.


NESC thematic areas include molecular and cellular neurobiology, development of the nervous system, synaptic physiology, diseases of the nervous system, and systems neuroscience, among others. A unique feature of the NESC theme is the introductory course at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Incoming students arrive in Birmingham in mid-July to have orientation, and for three weeks our students, along with students in other UAB graduate programs, live and learn on Dauphin Island, Alabama, at the the sea lab. 

As with all GBS themes, the Neuroscience Theme is proud to support the NIH-funded UAB Roadmap Scholars program, which is designed and aimed to enhance the engagement and retention of underrepresented graduate trainees in the neuroscience workforce.

Neuroscience Summer Seminar

Students and faculty have the opportunity to take part in the Neuroscience Summer Seminar Series. Please see here for the Summer 2018 schedule. 

A critical attribute of a successful scientist is the ability to communicate their research findings in an impactful and accessible manner. Every scientist needs to practice presenting research findings in order to refine their presentation skills. The purpose of the Neuroscience Summer Seminar Series is to provide each student with the opportunity to present recent research in a supportive environment. This course provides students with the opportunity to:

1) Practice their presentation skills;

2) Learn how to convey the relevance of their research to scientists in other fields;

3) Receive input from the audience on research design and presentation style;

4) Compile and organize their data.   

Why should you join the Neuroscience Theme at UAB?

Join the worldwide efforts to unravel the mysteries of the brain. Join the Neuroscience Theme.

The NESC theme works in close association with the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center (CNC). Our students work in close association with experts and well-established research faculty and clinicians who use diverse approaches in a collaborative environment to focus on neuroscience research. NESC students will train extensively in fundamental-discovery and translational research in various nervous system disorders using an integrative approach. The interdisciplinary and collaborative research environment fostered and nourished at UAB enhances our team science approach and accelerates the progress in tackling devastating nervous system disorders.

Where will this degree take you?

Your future career as neuroscientist will make a difference.

Unraveling the mysteries of the brain and finding cures for devastating nervous system disorders need an integrated knowledge of the cellular and molecular bases of brain and spinal cord development and function, generation and characterization of cellular and animal models of brain disorders, and the design of novel and rational therapeutic approaches. All-around training from the Neuroscience Theme at UAB will prepare you to move seamlessly into your future career. NESC graduates are currently leaders in academia and industry in different areas of fundamental and translational neuroscience research. Some of our alumni are also successfully engaged in educational positions as well as scientific consultants playing a critical role in health policy decisions.

Welcome 2018 NESC Incoming Students

Samantha Black, College of Charleston
Melissa Garcia, Stillman College
William Kennedy, Stony Brook University
Prathibha Sekar, University of Texas at Dallas, Bangalore University, & St. Joseph's College, Bangalore
Joy Shepard, Athens State University

NESC Theme Contacts

Theme Director

Theme Director

Dr. Karen Gamble
(205) 934-4663
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Theme Co-Director

Theme Co-Director

Dr. Lucas Pozzo-Miller
(205) 975-4659
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.