Our program trains students to perform fundamental research in nearly all areas of neuroscience, from basic molecular biology through complex human neurological disorders. Our highly collaborative faculty share strong technology resources, ensuring that students will have the mentoring and equipment to pursue interdisciplinary projects. Additionally, clinical collaborations and mentored rotations in neurology clinics offer the opportunity for translational research. Neuroscience students take coursework in advanced neurobiology topics, and are also taught critical thinking, grant writing, and presentation skills. The Neuroscience program provides networking opportunities for students to interact with world class scientists from all over the world through weekly lunches with our seminar speakers and our annual Brain Aging Research Symposium. We are deeply committed to career development, and our broadly-trained PhD students are prepared to work in academia, government, biotech, the pharmaceutical industry, and more.
The Neuroscience Program celebrates the strengths of people from diverse backgrounds and encourages those underrepresented in STEM to apply.
"Neurologic diseases are becoming more prevalent as our population ages. Our interdisciplinary faculty train students to perform cutting-edge fundamental and translational neuroscience research to meet such challenges."
Dr. McCluskey received her PhD from the University of Virginia where she studied neural-immune interactions in the taste system. As a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham & Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School, she trained in CNS neuroimmunology before moving to the Medical College of Georgia to establish a laboratory studying the taste-immune-axis. Her research program developing this aspect of chemosensory biology was recognized by the Association for Chemoreception Sciences with the Ajinomoto Young Investigator in Gustation award and ongoing studies are funded by the National Institutes of Deafness & Communication Disorders. Dr. McCluskey directed the Molecular Medicine Graduate Program from 2009-2020 and was recently appointed director of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience in 2020. Her strong commitment to education over the past two decades was honored with the Distinguished Teacher and Distinguished Service awards presented by the Graduate School. Dr. McCluskey has mentored 6 PhD students, 4 of whom are now faculty members, 6 summer medical students, as well as dental and undergraduate students.
"Neuroscience RULES! End of quote."
Dr. Vitriol received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, he developed light microscopy techniques to manipulate and visualize signaling pathways in living cells. As a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University, Dr. Vitriol studied novel mechanisms of actin regulation in cell migration and neuronal development. He has continued this work in his independent faculty and is currently focused on how dysregulation of the actin cytoskeleton causes cellular toxicity in neurodegenerative disease. During his training, Dr. Vitriol was the recipient of F31, F32, and K99/R00 grants from the NIH and received the Emory Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Achievement Award. Dr. Vitriol has dedicated a large portion of his career to graduate training, serving as director of the Molecular Cell Biology program and a member of the admissions committee at the University of Florida; creating several graduate-level courses that emphasize critical thinking, grant writing, and presentation skills; sitting on fellowship grant review panels; and serving a three-year term as the faculty mentor for the graduate student-led Florida Translational Cell Biology Symposium.
"The faculty and student interactions are all so enjoyable. We are able to be comfortable and confident in a professional setting while still being able to make mistakes, ask questions, have fun, learn, and grow as scientists."
"My research area is neuronal reprogramming, which is a cutting-edge technology that facilitates potential treatment for patients with spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases.'"