The National Science Foundation recently granted the University of Illinois $3 million for an interdisciplinary graduate student training program to help form new insight on the brain—and to expand participation in the field of brain science itself.
Sixty graduate students from across campus will participate in the five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship, led by Martha Gillette, professor of cell and developmental biology and director of the Neuroscience Program. HyunJoon Kong, professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering, is the lead co-principal investigator. Co-directors on the project include Rashid Bashir, professor of bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering and head of the Department of Bioengineering; Neal Cohen, professor of psychology; and Jonathan Sweedler, professor of chemistry.
The project’s primary goal is to provide students with an immersive research experience that blends techniques from multiple disciplines to better understand the many aspects of the human body’s most complex organ.
The program will teach students to use and understand miniature brain machinery critical to examining and regulating brain activities. It’s also designed to increase the participation of women, underrepresented minorities, and students with disabilities in the field of brain science.
A third goal is to improve scientists’ communication skills with the public.
Students will come from several departments across campus, including neuroscience, cell and developmental biology, molecular and integrative physiology, chemistry, psychology, chemical and biomolecular engineering, bioengineering, and electrical and computer engineering.
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences News Article
Samantha Jones Toal