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Neuroscience Theme (NEURO)

Research Areas- Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience, Neural Bases of Behavior, Disorders of the Nervous System

Neuroscience is one of eight interdisciplinary PhD themes within Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS).  Students select a theme upon application but have access to faculty and courses from across GBS, allowing for flexibility in both research and academics.

The Neuroscience 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. The Neuroscience Theme 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.



Neuroscience coursework 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 Neuroscience 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. See this article on the Dauphin Island 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.

See here for Neuroscience theme requirements.

Why should you join the Neuroscience Theme at UAB?

The Neuroscience Theme works in close association with the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center (CNC). Our students work with experts and well-established research faculty and clinicians who use diverse approaches in a collaborative environment to focus on neuroscience research. Neuroscience 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?

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. Training from the Neuroscience Theme at UAB will prepare you to move seamlessly into your future career. Graduates are currently leaders in academia and industry in different areas of fundamental and translational 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. Learn where GBS graduates are now.


Neuroscience Summer Seminar

Students and faculty have the opportunity to take part in the Neuroscience Summer Seminar Series. 

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.   

NEURO Theme Contacts

Theme Director

Theme Director

Dr. Michelle Gray
(205) 996-4748
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Theme Director

Theme Director

Dr. Ryan Miller
(205) 934-7320
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Theme Director

Theme Director

Dr. Neda Wick
(205) 934-6433
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