In 2006 we were awarded a grant under RFA DA-06-011 to create at UCLA a novel and significant new comprehensive NeuroImaging Training Program (the NITP) at the Pre-Doctoral level and an annual short course directed to post-graduates and pre-doctoral trainees. The mission of the NITP is to train a new generation of neuroscientists and clinical researchers who are experts in neuroimaging, and who can apply these many faceted tools intelligently, creatively and critically to address pressing problems in health care and basic sciences. Achieving a systems-level view of the brain is an elusive and challenging goal as there is a great leap needed to bridge the gap between cellular signaling, or computation by local circuits, to the behavior and mental activity of vertebrate animals.
Systems neuroscience has seen a dramatic rebirth with the advent of practical approaches to non-invasive in vivo imaging that express the functional status of the nervous system, and that serve to link these seemingly disparate approaches to the study of the brain. We believe that the neuroscientist of the future must be skilled not only in the applications of imaging, but in the tools themselves, mastering the associated physics, mathematics, biophysics, statistics, computation and image processing that define the art. From this skill set will come the knowledge necessary to create the future imaging solutions that targeted at the problems of 21st-century medicine and neuroscience.
Ours has been an enormously successful program that has enrolled nearly 120 graduate and post-graduate students into the regular academic curriculum and more than 350 students in our summer sessions. The metrics we have collected attest to the teaching success thus far. The NITP has been a powerful magnet for new student applications and the core course is now set as an area requirement in three departments for their relevant sub-specialties.
Students in the NITP generally complete a year of graduate training in the Neurosciences, including fundamentals of Neuroanatomy, Systems Neuroscience, Neurophysiology and/or Cognitive Neuroscience. Their second year of graduate training is an intensive program in the tools of neuroimaging, including acquisition, data processing, analysis and experimental design.
To enter the program students must first apply and be admitted into one of the established neuroscience programs at UCLA, principally the:
As described in more detail in the •Curriculum Summary• , the NITP adds additional coursework in the first year and requires a second year of imaging-specific classwork.
The NITP is also able to offer graduate fellowship stipends to six students each year. Our funding allows this to be made available for non-residents and non-citizens.
The 2016 NITP Summer program will be held from July 11 through July 22.
The UCLA Neuroimaging Training Program is funded by generous awards from the National Institutes of Health, grant numbers R90 DA022768 and T90 DA023422