Brain Power

Brain PowerStudents at UT can now complete a major or minor degree in neuroscience.

The Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, based in the college, brings together neuroscience research and education from all corners of the campus. It includes faculty from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, and Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis; and the Graduate School of Medicine at the UT Medical Center in Knoxville. The diversity of backgrounds and research perspectives within the program reflects the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience itself and provides a strong foundation in the neurosciences that emphasizes hands-on research training. Students have the opportunity to tailor their neuroscience degree to prepare for a wide variety of careers. Professor Rebecca Prosser and Associate Professor Jim Hall of the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology co-direct the program.

One impetus for developing the neuroscience major and for creating the Neuroscience Network of East Tennessee (NeuroNet) was the number of undergraduates interested in neuroscience.

Prosser and Hall established NeuroNet to promote and foster interactions among neuroscientists engaged in various aspects of neuroscience research, one of the fastest-growing areas of scientific investigation. NeuroNet includes more than sixty research groups representing nine departments across five colleges at the Knoxville campus—as well as the UT Medical Center, the UT Health Science Center (Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Although individual labs in the group are all advancing neuroscience independently, the potential synergies between and among groups led Prosser and Hall to create a unified NeuroNet research unit in 2012 that will be of mutual benefit to the investigators, add value to the university, and contribute to the health and well-being of society as a whole.

The strategic melding of researchers and assets from the various campuses in and around Knoxville creates a unique research and educational environment that will help propel UT into the Top 25 public research universities in the nation.