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Graduate Program in Neuroscience

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The World Health Organization estimates that 1 billion people world-wide are affected by neurological illness. In Canada, the annual total cost of treating neurological illness is estimated at $8.8 billion. As a result, neuroscience research has become a major focus of Canadian health funding.

The interdisciplinary nature of the University of Victoria's Graduate Program in Neuroscience enables the mobilization of neuroscience research and knowledge, helping to address this pressing societal health issue.

Research
Areas  

Learning and memory

Learning and memory

Primary Faculty: Dr. Craig Brown, Dr. Brian Christie, Dr. Patrick Nahirney, Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne, Dr. Clay Holroyd, Dr. Stephen Lindsay, Dr. Michael Masson, Dr. Ron Skelton, Dr. Paul Zehr

Associated Faculty: Dr. Elizabeth Brimacombe, Dr. Mauricio Garcia-Barrera, Dr. Kim Kerns, Dr. Catherine Mateer

Understanding the cellular, molecular and cognitive mechanisms underlying learning and memory is one of the greatest challenges in neurobiology. A deeper understanding of these mechanisms may ultimately result in new approaches for establishing, maintaining, and even enhancing brain cells, and their connections, as we age.

Synaptic function

Synaptic function

Primary Faculty: Dr. Craig Brown, Dr. Brian Christie, Dr. Kerry Delaney, Dr. Patrick Nahirney, Dr. Raad Nashmi, Dr. Robert Chow

It's estimated that there are approximately 100 trillion synaptic interconnections between the 100 billion neurons in the human brain, reflecting the fundamental importance of the synapse for neural function.

Since the synapse is the element linking neurons together into circuits, it follows that synaptic dysfunction lies at the centre of most neural disorders. This results in enormous societal and economic costs.

Not surprisingly, synapses are a primary therapeutic target for interventions to treat neurological problems from schizophrenia to addiction to chronic pain.

Developmental neuroscience

Developmental neuroscience

Primary Faculty: Dr. Robert Burke, Dr. Robert Chow , Dr. Brian Christie, Dr. Louis Page, Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne, Dr. Kerry Delaney, Dr. Patrick Nahirney

Associated Faculty: Dr. Mauricio Garcia-Barrera, Dr. Kim Kerns, Dr. Stuart MacDonald, Dr. Ulrich Mueller, Dr. Nancy Sherwood

Cellular and cognitive mechanisms involved in normal, day-to-day neurological activity are hugely complex. So too are the mechanisms that determine the formation and maturation of the neural network responsible for this activity.

The cellular and cognitive branches of developmental neuroscience at UVic comprise two very distinct areas, using different experimental approaches, systems and techniques.
As basic research in these areas increases our knowledge of neurodevelopment, a bridging of the core cellular and cognitive branches of neuroscience will provide tremendous insight into the understanding and potential treatment of neurodevelopment disorders.

Sensory systems

Sensory systems

Primary Faculty: Dr. Craig Brown, Dr. Robert Chow, Dr. Kerry Delaney, Dr. Sandra Hundza , Dr. James Tanaka, Dr. John Taylor, Dr. Paul Zehr

Associated Faculty: Dr. Tony Marley

Areas of expertise in sensory systems at UVic include cellular development, synaptic transmission and cognition. In addition to providing fundamental knowledge about the biology of sensory systems, this knowledge is essential for the design of therapies or cures for sensory disorders.
Because sensory systems tend to provide a tractable, easily-controlled experimental system, the knowledge acquired from this type of research is often very useful for our understanding of other neuronal processes.

Disease / injury

Disease / injury

Primary Faculty: Dr. Craig Brown, Dr. Daniel Bub, Dr. Robert Chow, Dr. Brian Christie, Dr. Kerry Delaney, Dr. Clay Holroyd, Dr. Patrick Nahirney, Dr., Sandra Hundza, Dr. Raad Nashmi, Dr. Ron Skelton, Dr. James Tanaka, Dr. Paul Zehr, Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne

Associated Faculty: Dr. Mauricio Garcia-Barrera, Dr. Kim Kerns, Dr. Stuart MacDonald, Dr. Catherine Mateer

A key area of the neuroscience program that brings together the largest number of permanent and associate neuroscience faculty is focused on neuronal-related disease or injury.
Ten permanent and seven associate faculty members from Biology, Psychology, Division of Medical Sciences and the School of Exercise Science, Physical Health and Education have research interests and/or expertise that are directly related to some form of neuronal pathology.

Cognition and Neuropsychology

Cognition and Neuropsychology

Primary Faculty: Dr. Daniel Bub, Dr. Clay Holroyd, Dr. Adam Krawitz, Dr. Stephen Lindsay, Dr. Michael Masson, Dr. Ron Skelton, Dr. Jim Tanaka

Our goal is to understand the nature of the representations and processes that give rise to mental events, and the influence of memory for past mental events on subsequent experience and behaviour. We adopt a variety of empirical approaches to this enterprise, including naturalistic studies of children and adults, experiments conducted in laboratrory contexts, brain imaging, case studies of brain-damaged patients, and computational modeling.

Neuroscience
Program


The UVic Neuroscience Graduate Program (MSc and PhD) was given final approval by the Ministry of Advanced Education on May 19, 2011. The program is interdisciplinary, building on existing strengths in the Psychology, Biology, Division of Medical Sciences, Biochemistry and Microbiology and Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education Departments and will be hosted by the Division of Medical Sciences located in the Medical Sciences Building, room 214. http://web.uvic.ca/calendar2013/GRAD/GPROGS/Neur/index.html

The program will produce students who have a research-based background in either cellular or cognitive neurosciences, reflecting the two major neuroscience research streams at UVic. The program is designed to emphasize connections between the core areas (learning and memory; synaptic function; developmental neuroscience; sensory motor systems; disease and injury) and to encourage students to develop competencies in more than one area.

 

Neuroscience
Core Faculty

Dr. Craig Brown

Dr. Craig Brown
Division of Medical Sciences
Visit Dr. Brown's web page

Research interests: Stroke & diabetes; Synaptic plasticity; In vivo imaging

Brian Christie

Dr. Brian Christie
Division of Medical Sciences
Visit Dr. Christie's web page

Research interests: Learning and Memory; Synaptic plasticity; Neurogenesis

Dr. Patrick Nahirney

Dr. Patrick Nahirney
Division of Medical Sciences
Visit Dr. Nahirney's web page

Research interests: Synapse ultrastructure; 3-D modeling; Fragile X syndrome

Dr. Craig Brown

Dr. Leigh Anne Swayne
Division of Medical Sciences
Visit Dr. Swayne's web page

Research interests: Neurogenesis and the bioelectric control of new neurons in healthy and injured/diseased brain.

Dr. Robert Burke

Dr. Robert Burke
Biology and Biochemistry and Microbiology
Visit Dr. Burke's web page

Research interests: Developmental neuroscience

Dr. Robert Chow

Dr. Robert Chow
Biology
Visit Dr. Chow's web page

Research interests: Retinal development

Dr. Kerry Delaney

Dr. Kerry Delaney
Biology
Visit Dr. Delaney's web page

Research interests: Neurotransmission; Synapse function; Rett's syndrome

Dr. Raad Nashmi

Dr. Raad Nashmi
Biology
Visit Dr. Raad Nashmi's web page

Research interests: Nicotinic receptors; Neurotransmission

Dr. Louis Page

Dr. Louis Page
Biology
Visit Dr. Page's web page

Research interests: Evolutionary biology; Larval nervous system

Dr. John Taylor

Dr. John Taylor
Biology
Visit Dr. Taylor's web page

Research interests: Comparative genomics; Opsins and olfactory receptors

Dr. Sandra Hundza

Dr. Sandra Hundza
Exercise Science and Physical Health Education
Visit Dr. Hundza's web page

Research interests: Exercise science and physical health education; Neural control of human movement

Dr. Paul Zehr

Dr. Paul Zehr
Exercise Science and Physical Health Education
Visit Dr. Zehr's web page

Research interests: Spinal reflexes and rehabilitation

Dr. Daniel Bub

Dr. Daniel Bub
Psychology
Visit Dr. Bub's web page

Research interests: Cognitive neuropsychology

Dr. Clay Holroyd

Dr. Clay Holroyd
Psychology
Visit Dr. Holroyd's web page

Research interests: Neurobiological mechanisms of cognitive control

Dr. Stephen Lindsay

Dr. Stephen Lindsay
Psychology
Visit Dr. Lindsay's web page

Research interests: Memory and cognition; Eyewitness memory

Dr. Michael Masson

Dr. Michael Masson
Psychology
Visit Dr. Masson's web page

Research interests: Cognition and action; Human memory

Dr. Ron Skelton

Dr. Ron Skelton
Psychology
Visit Dr. Skelton's web page

Research interests: Cognitive neuroscience and recovery after brain damage

Adam Krawitz

Dr. Adam Krawitz
Psychology
Visit Dr. Krawitz web page

Research interests: computational cognitive neuroscience of working memory, executive control, and decision making

Dr. Jim Tanaka

Dr. Jim Tanaka
Psychology
Visit Dr. Tanaka's web page

Research interests: Visual object and face recognition

Gautam Awatramani

Dr. Gautam Awatramani

Biology

Visit Dr. Awatramani's web page

Research interests: synaptic physiology, multi-photon imaging, retina, optogenetics     

Jodie R. Gawryluk

Dr. Jodie R. Gawryluk

Psychology

Research interests: Clinical neuropsychology, neuroimaging, functional magnetic resonance imaging, changes in brain structure/function in disorder and recovery.

How to Apply

  1. Find a Prospective Supervisor: All incoming applicants are responsible for finding a Neuroscience faculty willing to supervise them in their graduate studies. This is best done by examining the different faculty interests on the Neuroscience faculty webpage and contacting them directly by email. Send an email directly to the individual faculty member, along with a copy of your CV or resume, to enquire about pursuing graduate studies under their supervision. Also, students applying to the Neuroscience Graduate program are asked to complete the prospective graduate student information form.
  2. Academic Background: To enter any graduate program at the University of Victoria you must have an undergraduate degree. This can from any discipline, but traditionally students in the Neuroscience program come with backgrounds in biology, biochemistry, mathematics, pharmacology, physics, physiology, psychology and zoology.

MSc/Ph.D. Degree

Admissions requirements to MSc program

Students meeting the Faculty of Graduate Studies minimum (5.0 on the UVic scale or a "B"average will be conditionally considered for admission on a case-by-case basis. Please note the minimum GPA requirements of the home department of the supervisor can supersede this requirement. Some departments have a minimum requirement of 7.0 (A-) to enter graduate studies.

Direct admission to Ph.D. in Neurosciences

To apply for direct admission to the Ph.D. program in neurosciences an individual should either have an honours or master's degree. In addition, individuals with a minimum GPA equivalent to 80% or higher in upper division science courses may apply for direct admission to the Ph.D. program.

International Students

Applicants whose first language is not English, and who have not resided in a designated English-speaking country for three years immediately prior to the entry-point applied for, must provide proof of English language proficiency. Normally, this is done by providing results directly to the university form TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB test. Official test score reports must be sent directly to the University of Victoria by the testing agency. Scores older than two years are not acceptable. Applicants holding a recognized degree from a designated English-speaking country are exepted from the language proficiency requrements.

  • Minimum score of 630 on the paper-based test
  • Minimum score of 267 on the computer-based test
  • Minumum overall score of 90 on the internet-based test

 

 

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Links of interest

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Funding Opportunities

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