Neurobiology of Aging

Fields of Study]

Michael J. Forster, Ph.D., Graduate Advisor
Center for BioHealth 521
817-735-5429
E-mail:
forsterm@hsc.unt.edu

Graduate Faculty: Basu, Das, Dillon, Forster, Gatch, Gwirtz, Jones, Jung, Krishnamoorthy, Luedtke, Netjek, Prokai, Prokai-Tatrai, Roby, Schetz, Singh, Sumien, Uht, Yang, Yorio

The Neurobiology of Aging program offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in a wide range of research areas, but with focus on biological aging processes and age-related diseases affecting the nervous system. The Neurobiology of Aging program bridges all major discipline-oriented programs. Students are encouraged to acquire a broad base of knowledge and techniques in biomedical sciences, and to acquire a basic understanding of biological aging processes and how they promote increase susceptibility to brain injury and conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Serious nervous system-related dysfunctions occur with alarming frequency within the ever-expanding population of individuals of advanced age. These conditions diminish qualify of life and productivity, and contribute to increased dependency and economic burden. Thus, there is a pressing need for research personnel trained in multidisciplinary approaches, to develop appropriate systems for early detection, treatment and prevention. The specific goal of the Neurobiology of Aging program is to provide students with the specialized academic guidance, support, and training in the relevant disciplines of biomedical sciences that will allow them to develop academic research programs addressing: (1) the understanding of normal aging processes in the nervous system and (ii) the understanding of debilitating neurological and neurodegenerative diseases of aging.

Students with a variety of academic backgrounds may gain acceptance to the Neurobiology of Aging program, though they must be prepared to complete an integrated biomedical science core curriculum that includes fundamental principles of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, microbiology and immunology, pharmacology, physiology and neurobiology. Following the completion of the core curriculum, advanced courses in Functional Neuroscience and the Neurobiology of Aging must be completed. Students will also participate in seminars and group discussions of current research topics, and receive training in a number of techniques required to address existing research problems in the Neurobiology of Aging. Both M.S. and Ph.D. students will conduct original, publishable research and will be expected to present their results at both local and national scientific conferences.

Completion of the M.S. degree typically requires two years; the Ph.D. degree is generally completed in four to five years. Students who successfully complete a graduate degree in the Neurobiology of Aging will be well prepared for careers in academic and government research laboratories, as well as in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry.

Degree Plans

The following are typical degree plans for students in the Neurobiology of Aging program. It is advantageous for the student to begin graduate study in a fall semester. Degree plans may vary depending upon availability of course offerings in a given semester and each student's progress toward thesis and dissertation research.

MS Degree Plan for Neurobiology of Aging

Year 1: Fall

BMSC 5600

Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry

4 SCH

BMSC 5610

Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology

4 SCH

BMSC 5935

Introduction to Faculty Research Programs

2 SCH

BMSC 5650

Lab Rotations

1 SCH

BMSC 5960

Biomedical Ethics

1 SCH



12 SCH

Year 1: Spring

BMSC 5010

Scientific Communications

3 SCH

BMSC 5700

Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology

3 SCH

BMSC 5705

Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology

2 SCH

BMSC 5710

Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology and Microbiology

3 SCH

BMSC 5650

Laboratory Rotations

1 SCH



12 SCH

Year 1: Summer

BMSC 5200

Biostatistics for BMSC

4 SCH

BMSC 5930

Individual Research for MS Students

2 SCH



6 SCH




Year 2: Fall

BMSC 5950

Thesis

9 SCH




Year 2: Spring

BMSC 5950

Thesis

9 SCH




TOTAL


48 SCH


PhD Degree Plan for Neurobiology of Aging

Year 1: Fall

BMSC 5600

Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry

4 SCH

BMSC 5610

Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology

4 SCH

BMSC 5935

Introduction to Faculty Research Programs

1 SCH

BMSC 5650

Lab Rotations

2 SCH

BMSC 5960

Biomedical Ethics

1 SCH



12 SCH

Year 1: Spring

BMSC 5010

Scientific Communications

3 SCH

BMSC 5700

Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology

3 SCH

BMSC 5705

Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology

2 SCH

BMSC 5710

Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology and Microbiology

3 SCH

BMSC 5650

Laboratory Rotations

1 SCH



12 SCH

Year 1: Summer

BMSC 5200

Biostatistics for BMSC

4 SCH

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

2 SCH



6 SCH

Year 2: Fall

PHRM 6000

Functional Neuroscience

4 SCH

PHRM 5100

Neurobiology of Aging

3 SCH

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

1-5 SCH


Electives*

0-5 SCH



12 SCH

Year 2: Spring

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

1-8 SCH


Electives*

1-8 SCH



12 SCH

Year 2: Summer

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

6 SCH


Qualifying Examination

0 SCH



6 SCH

Year 3: Fall

BMSC 6010

Grant Writing

3 SCH

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

3-8 SCH


Electives*

0-6 SCH



12 SCH

Year 3: Spring

BMSC 6950

Doctoral Dissertation

3-9 SCH


Electives

0-3 SCH



9 SCH




Year 3: Summer

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

6 SCH

BMSC 6950

Doctoral Dissertation

3 SCH



9 SCH




Year 4: Fall

BMSC 6940

Individual Research

6 SCH

BMSC 6950

Doctoral Dissertation

3 SCH



9 SCH


Year 4: Spring

BMSC 6950

Doctoral Dissertation

9 SCH




TOTAL


110 SCH

*Elective courses must include 9 SCH in courses offered by any discipline. These may include but are not limited to Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience electives (below). Course offerings of other departments are listed elsewhere in this catalog. The successful completion of Functional Neuroscience (PHRM 6000) and Neurobiology of Aging (PHRM 5100), as well as one of the elective courses, is required before a student can take his/her oral examination.

Courses offered each year:

PHRM 5200

Intracellular Calcium Signaling

1 SCH

PHRM 5900

Special Problems

3 SCH

PHRM 5910

Special Problems

3 SCH

PHRM 6000

Functional Neuroscience

4 SCH

PHRM 6040 Neurobiological Basis of Neuropsychiatric Disorders 3 SCH

PHRM 6050

Ocular Pharmacology

3 SCH




Courses offered "even" years:

PHRM 5070

Neuropharmacology

4 SCH




Courses offered "odd" years:

PHRM 5100

Neurobiology of Aging

3 SCH

PHRM 5435

Molecular Aspects of Cell Signaling

4 SCH

PHRM 6080

Receptors and Drug Action

4 SCH


Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination determines if the doctoral student has mastered information needed to succeed in the discipline of Neurobiology of Aging. The student is required to demonstrate reasonable proficiency in the topics of general biomedical science, functional neuroscience, and the neurobiology of aging presented during the first two years of graduate study. An oral qualifying examination will be administered by a committee comprised of graduate faculty, selected by the graduate advisor, and may also include faculty from another discipline when appropriate. The student's major professor may be present but will not participate in the examination. The initial phase of the qualifying examination consists of presentation of a published neurobiology of aging journal article, approved by the graduate advisor, with a subsequent question period. In the second phase of the examination, the student will be required to address questions on his/her knowledge of biomedical science and the neurobiology of aging.

A maximum of two attempts to pass the qualifying examination will be allowed. A doctoral student who does not pass after the second attempt may be dismissed or allowed to complete the requirements for a Master of Science degree.


Grant Writing (BMSC 6310)

Successful completion of Grant Writing (BMSC 6310) requires the preparation and oral defense of an original NIH-style grant proposal. The student's doctoral advisory committee serves as the student's grant proposal committee. The graduate advisor and the student's major professor instruct the student on the regulations of the course and assist in initiating and preparing the proposal. The proposal must consist of the student's original ideas and is expected to significantly extend scientific knowledge in the chosen research area. The student will first submit a summary report, which presents the hypothesis, experimental strategy, and specific aims for the proposal to the examination committee within the first three weeks of the semester. Once the committee approves the summary, the student must then proceed to prepare a detailed written report of the research proposal in NIH-R21 format. The final proposal will be distributed to the committee at least two weeks prior to the oral defense. The student will present the proposal to faculty and graduate students in a public defense that will be evaluated by the committee on the basis of originality and ability to organize and communicate information. A maximum of two attempts to pass will be allowed.

This page last updated 14th Nov 2013