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Graduate Programs The Neuroscience Paradigm

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									                         Graduate Programs: The Neuroscience Paradigm

                                        Anastasia S. Tsingotjidou
                                    Lab. of Anatomy and Histology,
                                     Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,
                                   Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
                                                 Greece

                                        Georgios C. Papadopoulos
                                    Lab. of Anatomy and Histology,
                                     Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,
                                   Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
                                                 Greece


                                                        subject. However, there is a common desire to
                ABSTRACT                                harmonize education in Europe
The aim of this paper is to provide an insight
                                                        and to integrate it with the educational
on the global organization of graduate studies
                                                        programs of international institutions in the
in Neuroscience and set an example for other
                                                        United States or elsewhere. The Neuroscience
scientific disciplines. Neuroscience has been
                                                        Graduate Programs offer an excellent example
growing rapidly the last decades; this review
                                                        of this process.
will explain the reasons of the expansion on
this research field and document its
                                                        The highlight of Bologna Declaration is based
importance. An overview of the existing
                                                        on the following themes:
programs in the United States, Europe, and
elsewhere in the world will be given. The                  Adoption of a system of easily readable
Neuroscience paradigm will help the                         and comparable degrees.
interested academicians to harmonize their
scientific fields of interest while complying              Adoption of a system essentially based on
with the Bologna Declaration.                               two main cycles, undergraduate and
                                                            graduate.
Keywords:        Neuroscience,        Graduate
                                                           Establishment of a system of credits.
Programs,       Harmonization,        Bologna
Declaration, Global Integration.                           Promotion of mobility by overcoming
                                                            obstacles to the effective exercise of free
            INTRODUCTION                                    movement.
Bologna Declaration (1999) was the                         Promotion of European co-operation in
implementation of significant educational                   quality assurance.
reforms in pre- and post-graduate level. Since
the establishment of these principles, some                Promotion of the necessary European
European countries (France, Germany, Italy                  dimensions     in  higher  education,
and Austria) have introduced Bachelor’s and                 particularly in regards to curricular
Master’s degree programs as an alternative to               development.
their traditional one-tiered systems of higher
education. Others are still debating on this            This article will give a quick review of
                                                        Neuroscience worldwide and focus on its
aspects that make this field an example for the   tasks that Bologna Declaration is aiming for.
                                                  pan-European funding initiatives. FENS, the
             NEUROSCIENCE                         Federation of European Neuroscience
                                                  Societies, represents a large number of
Neuroscience has become one of the major
                                                  national European Neuroscience societies and
post-graduate     choices    worldwide.     It
                                                  several monodisciplinary societies. FENS was
investigates the molecular and cellular levels
                                                  founded in 1998 at the Forum of European
of the nervous system; the neuronal systems
                                                  Neuroscience in Berlin and is the successor
responsible for sensory and motor function;
                                                  organisation of ENA, the European
the basis of higher order processes, such as
                                                  Neuroscience Association.
cognition and emotion. This area provides the
basis for understanding the medical and
                                                  FENS was founded with the goal of advancing
veterinary fields that are concerned with
                                                  research and education in Neuroscience and
treating nervous system disorders. These
                                                  representing Neuroscience research in the
medical specialties include neurology,
                                                  European Commission, International Brain
neurosurgery, psychiatry and ophthalmology.
                                                  Research Organization (IBRO), and other
                                                  granting bodies. FENS is the European partner
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN), based in
                                                  of the American Society for Neuroscience and
the United States of America, is a non-profit
                                                  has members the following national societies:
membership organization of basic scientists
and physicians who study the brain and
nervous system. Recognizing the tremendous           Armenian Neuroscience Society
potential for the study of the brain and             Austrian Neuroscience Association
nervous system as a separate field, the Society      Belgium Society of Neuroscience
was formed in 1970. It has grown from 500            Brain Research Society of Finland
members to more than 36,000 and is the               British Neuroscience Association
world's largest organization of scientists           Croatian Society for Neuroscience
devoted to the study of the brain. The               Czech Neuroscience Society
Society's primary goal is to promote the             Danish Society for Neuroscience
exchange of information among researchers.           Dutch Neurofederation
The Society works closely with other                 Georgian Neuroscience Association
scientific    societies,   disease    advocacy       German Neuroscience Society
organizations, and the National Institutes of        Hellenic Society for Neuroscience
Health. It relies on its 111 local chapters for      Hungarian Neuroscience Society
grassroots representation of the neuroscience        Israel Society for Neurosciences
community. SfN chapters across North
                                                     National Neuroscience Society of
America hold scientific lectures and other
                                                      Romania
activities for the educational advancement of
                                                     Norwegian Neuroscience Society
local neuroscience communities. The Society
also produces a variety of publications.             Polish Neuroscience Society
                                                     Russian Physiological Society
The number of neuroscientists in Europe is            Neuroscience Center
large enough to match that of the                    Slovenian Neuroscience Association
neuroscientific community in North America.          Sociedad Española de Neurociencia
However, the degree of cohesiveness in the           Sociedade Portuguesa de Neurosciências
former is hampered by, among other things,           Società Italiana di Neuroscienze
the lack of a common language, the existence         Societé des Neurosciences
of geopolitical boundaries, and the dearth of        Swedish Neuroscience Network
   Swiss Society for Neuroscience                   Decade of the Brain: "to enhance public
   Turkish Neuroscience Association                 awareness of the benefits to be derived from
                                                     brain    research"       through    "appropriate
This is indicative of a network well organized       programs, ceremonies, and activities." To
based on local societies to form gradually           achieve this public recognition, the LC/NIMH
larger scientific groups both in Europe and the      Project on the Decade of the Brain sponsored
United States, but elsewhere around the world        a variety of activities including publications and
as well. It provides a promotion of mobility         programs aimed at introducing Members of
between individuals, which is one of the             Congress, their staffs, and the general public
prerequisites of Bologna Declaration. The            to cutting-edge research on the brain and
flow of information is moving easier among           encouraging public dialogue on the ethical,
the groups and gives opportunities for               philosophical, and humanistic implications of
collaboration in research.                           these emerging discoveries.

          THE IMPORTANCE OF                          During this decade, Neuroscience made
            NEUROSCIENCE                             significant discoveries in the following areas:
                                                     genetics, brain plasticity and development,
The impact of Neuroscience can be easily             new drugs, imaging and cell death.
demonstrated by the following numbers: at the        Apparently, the standardization of post-
annual fall meeting of SfN more than 28,000          graduate studies in Neuroscience facilitates
participants present more than 15,000 reports        the progress of research in this area and the
of new scientific findings. In the United States     continuation of scientific accomplishments
more than 1,000 disorders of the brain and           leading in translational discoveries for
nervous system result in more hospitalizations       treatment of many neurological diseases,
than any other disease group, including heart        including Parkinson’s disease, Multiple
disease and cancer. Neurological illnesses           Sclerosis, Stroke and Stress. It is apparent that
affect more than 50 million Americans                the field of Neuroscience has made startling
annually at costs exceeding $400 billion [1].        discoveries that have transformed our
                                                     understanding of the healthy brain and helped
In Europe, 3 out of 10 people suffer from            to deliver treatments for disorders affecting
brain dysfunction, and 1 out of 5 from               millions.
depression. Neurological diseases cost over
the 1/3 of the total cost for any other illness in   In addition to its scientific focus, the Society
the European Health Network. In 2004, this           administers a range of programs in support of
cost reached 386 billion Euros [2].                  the Neuroscience community's interests in
                                                     government    relations,    public information,
              The         significance       of      educational outreach, minority advancement,
              Neuroscience is also shown by          chapters and international affairs. SfN also has a
              the activities taken place during      number of awards recognizing excellence in
              the congressionally designated         neuroscience.
              Decade of the Brain. From 1990
              to the end of 1999, the Library        The Government Affairs Program, in conjunction
of Congress and the National Institute of            with the Governmental and Public Affairs
Mental Health (LC/NIMH) of the National              Committee, the Committee on Animals in
Institutes of Health sponsored a unique              Research and the Social Issues Committee,
interagency initiative to advance the goals set      informs legislators and policy makers about
forth in a proclamation by the President of the      recent developments in Neuroscience research
United States designating the 1990s as the           and the implications of the discoveries for
public policy, societal benefit and continued               NEUROSCIENCE PROGRAMS
scientific progress.
                                                       In 1970, Neuroscience barely existed as a
The newly-created Educational Programs                 separate discipline. Today, more than 300
department, in conjunction with the Education          training programs exist in Neuroscience alone,
Committee, the Committee on Neuroscience               and Neuroscience is one of the most exciting
Literacy and the Neurobiology of Disease               areas of biomedical research. Graduate
Advisory Committee, focuses on educational             Programs in this field are given by schools
outreach programs including Brain Awareness            relevant to the medical profession (medical
Week, Neuroscientist-Teacher Partner Programs, Short
                                                       and/or veterinary medical schools).
Courses taken place in the annual meeting, and the
Neurobiology of Disease Workshop. Educational          In USA, every state possesses more than one
Programs also focus on bringing Neuroscience in        Neuroscience Graduate Programs. In the West
the news.                                              Coast areas more than 22 programs exist. The
                                                       Interdepartmental     Ph.D.    Program      for
As outlined in the new SfN Strategic Plan, the         Neuroscience at the University of California at
Educational Programs Department is working             Los              Angeles              (UCLA;
to create more professional development                http://www.neuroscience.ucla.edu)         was
opportunities for SfN members by offering              established in 1965 as one of the first
career development activities, information and         interdisciplinary Predoctoral Neuroscience
educational resources for neuroscientists at all       Programs. As the educational arm of the Brain
stages from undergraduate students on up               Research Institute, the Program draws on the
through senior faculty.                                research and teaching expertise of a
                                                       Neuroscience Faculty of nearly 150
SfN advances the public’s understanding of             individuals, one of the world's largest and
the brain and the nervous system by producing          most diverse faculties in this discipline.
publications aimed at teachers, students and           (http://www.gradschools.com/programs/neuro
members of the public, including Brain                 science.html).
Briefings, a monthly two-page newsletter
explaining how basic Neuroscience discoveries          In Northeast side of USA there are 60
lead to clinical applications and Brain Facts, a       Neuroscience Programs, given by different
52-page primer on the brain and nervous                Schools.      Massachusetts      Institute    of
system.                                                Technology (MIT)’s Department of Brain and
                                                       Cognitive Sciences stands at the nexus of
SfN seeks to increase participation of                 Neuroscience, Biology and Psychology. This
scientists from diverse cultural and ethnic            Department combines these disciplines to
backgrounds by offering fellowships, grants and        study specific aspects of the brain and mind,
awards along with workshops and poster sessions at     including vision, movement systems, learning
the annual meetings.                                   and     memory,      neural    and     cognitive
                                                       development, language and reasoning.
This represents a nice model to compare and            Working collaboratively, it applies its
follow for many different fields of research           expertise, tools, and techniques to address and
seeking globalization as part of the objectives        answer both fundamental and universal
of Bologna Declaration.                                questions about how the brain and mind work
                                                       (http://web.mit.edu/bcs/).

                                                       At Yale, the Inter-departmental Neuroscience
                                                       Program offers flexible but structured
interdisciplinary training for independent         (http://www.gradschools.com/listings/Canada/
research and teaching in Neuroscience. The         neuroscience_canada.html).
goal of the program is to ensure that degree
candidates obtain a solid understanding of         In continental Europe there is an example of
cellular     and    molecular    neurobiology,     how degrees can be given by two
physiology       and     biophysics,    neural     collaborating institutes located overseas: The
development, systems and behaviour, and            National Institutes of Health (USA)-
neural computation. The Program investigates       Karolinska Institute (Sweden) Scholars
the development, neuronal organization, and        Program in Neuroscience for predoctoral
function of the mammalian central nervous          training of graduate students is a collaborative
system. It represents part of the Yale             research program building on the excellence
Combined Program in the Biological and             of both institutions and a common interest in
Biomedical                            Sciences     educating highly talented individuals for
(http://info.med.yale.edu/neurosci/).              careers as professional scientists. The Scholars
                                                   Program in Neuroscience wishes to promote
All Neuroscience Graduate Programs in the          ground-breaking research in fundamental
US are highly competitive. Amongst other           areas of neuroscience and psychiatry that
requirements for acceptance is knowledge of        could lead to a better understanding of brain
mathematics through calculus, general and          function and neuropsychiatric disorders, new
organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and      medical diagnostics and treatments, and the
basic biology, including molecular and cell        advancement of methodology for human brain
biology. From their side, Universities offer       imaging. This program provides the
interdepartmental programs, meaning that they      possibility for graduate students from both the
provide an integrated curriculum of several        United States and Sweden to divide their
disciplines. For example, at UCLA the              training for a doctoral degree between the two
curriculum has six major components: core          participating Institutes. In this manner
courses (Cell, Developmental and Molecular         graduate students in this program will benefit
Neurobiology, Cellular Neurophysiology,            from a broadened scientific experience.
Neuroanatomy, and Systems Neuroscience),           Another example of multidisciplinary
laboratory rotations, literature-based seminars,   graduate program is given in one of the some
advanced courses, teaching, and dissertation       prestigious European Universities: The
research.                                          International Max Planck Research School for
                                                   Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences is jointly
In Canada, at least 20 Graduate Neuroscience       conducted by the Max Planck Institutes of
Programs exist, leading to Master’s and/or         Biochemistry, Neurobiology and Psychiatry in
Ph.D. degrees. Usually, the program is run in      cooperation with the Ludwig Maximilian
conjunction with numerous departments in the       University Munich and the Technical
Medical School (e.g.: Anatomy and                  University Munich. The interdisciplinary
Neurobiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology,          Ph.D. program, entirely taught in English,
Physiology, and Biophysics) and in the             provides comprehensive scientific training in a
Faculty of Science (Psychology). These             superb and vibrant research environment,
Programs offer opportunities for graduate          covering the areas of modern biochemistry,
studies in a variety of clinically-applied         cell     biology,      molecular      medicine,
neuroscience disciplines. Others given solely      neurobiology and structural biology.
by Psychology Departments may deal with
how we see and hear, learn and remember the        In United Kingdom and Ireland over 20
development of perceptual and cognitive            Neuroscience Programs exist; some were
abilities                                          founded many decades ago. Once again, all
degrees can be taken as part of                    Program graduates include colleges and
multidisciplinary modular scheme suitable for a    universities,        pharmaceutical         and
range of professional groups, offered by           biotechnology companies, and governmental
different Faculties, e.g.: Faculty of Natural      agencies. Graduates are capable of teaching
Sciences and the Faculty of Health and Human       neuroscience, physiology, and pharmacology
Sciences. In some programs, this gives the         to professional and graduate students in the
opportunity to students to select optional         health sciences. Graduates are trained to
courses according to their professional            pursue research in neuroscience with a
background             and            interests    specialization in an area of their choice. Upon
(http://www.gradschools.com/listings/UK/neur       graduation, they are credible experts in the
oscience_UK.html).                                 areas of their thesis research. Graduates can
                                                   identify significant research problems and
In Australia and New Zealand 12                    formulate logical, comprehensive strategies
Neuroscience Graduate Programs exist               for studying these problems. They have
(http://www.gradschools.com                        extensive knowledge of the scientific method
/listings/Australia/neuroscience_Australia.htm     and an appreciation for the demands that this
l), and elsewhere in the world, including India,   method makes on the integrity of scientists.
China and Korea 20 more programs are taken
place                                              All Neuroscience Programs, within the years,
(http://www.gradschools.com/listings/out/neur      have been more or less integrated, although
oscience_out.html).                                their research areas have broaden, including:
                                                   Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience;
In the veterinary medicine schools many            Systems      Neuroscience;    Developmental
Departments        conduct      research      in   Neuroscience; Behavioural & Cognitive
Neuroscience, e.g. the Royal (Dick) School of      Neuroscience; Clinical Neuroscience; Imaging
Veterinary Studies in UK. The Division of          in Neuroscience; Neuroengineering.
Veterinary Biomedical Sciences of this School
has a strong research record and is particularly   What is apparent in Neuroscience Programs in
active in the areas of Neuroscience and studies    different Universities is the promotion of
at the single cell level, with many programs       appropriate interdepartmental communication,
cutting across these two major areas.              initiation of development of grant proposal
                                                   and new program activities as needs and
The Department of Veterinary & Comparative         opportunities arise. These characteristics
Anatomy, Pharmacology & Physiology of              strengthen the integration of the studies which
Veterinary Medicine School of Washington           is based on promotion of mobility, co-
State University offers a Graduate Program in      operation in quality assurance, and promotion
Neuroscience.     Neuroscience     plays    an     of the attractiveness of the European Higher
important role to advance medical science for      Education Area.
both humans and animals. The mission of the
Graduate Program in Neuroscience is to                       CONCLUSIONS
formalize this study through research and             THE NEUROSCIENCE PARADIGM
graduate                             education
                                                   From the time of Hippocrates who first stated
(http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-
                                                   that the brain is involved in sensation and is
vcapp/neurosci/).
                                                   the seat of intelligence, Neuroscience has been
                                                   a very exciting and fascinating field for
Graduates of the Neuroscience Program are
                                                   research. Over the years, Neuroscience
prepared for careers in teaching, research, and
public service. Potential employers of
network has grown to become a global              Graduate Programs. Hence, another fulfilled
association of scientists and/or educators.       objective of Bologna Declaration is the
                                                  promotion of the necessary European (and not
National Neuroscience Societies have been         only) dimensions in higher education,
established,     including    Society     for     particularly with regards to curricular
Neuroscience in the United States and             development, inter-institutional co-operation,
comprise all together the International Brain     mobility schemes and integrated programs of
Research     Organization.    Annually     or     study, training and research.
biannually these societies are holding
meetings to present their new data; in some       The same Ministers that constructed Bologna
cases (Society for Neuroscience meetings) the     Declaration      actively    supported     the
participants are more than 28,000. Progress       development of adequate quality assurance of
has been made on the research field with new      integrated curricula leading to joint degrees.
findings and researchers have become Nobel        This goal is apparently achieved in almost
laureates due to the importance of their          every Neuroscience Graduate Program, since
discoveries.                                      the degrees are given by different departments
                                                  of the same institution, and sometimes by
On the other hand, many Universities              different universities located in different
worldwide have launched Neuroscience              countries. This gives the opportunity to
Graduate Programs to educate students in this     develop      comparable        criteria   and
field. Some of these programs have been           methodologies.
described in previous paragraphs. One
common characteristic they share is their         In conclusion, in Europe and elsewhere
dependency on many different specialties, so      citizens’ employability is being promoted
that courses of these programs are given by       through degrees given by Neuroscience
many different departments. All these             Programs as well as the international
programs provide students with access to          competitiveness of the European higher
diverse study and training opportunities.         education system and livelong learning.
Teachers, researchers and administrative staff
receive recognition and valorisation of periods   Overall, Neuroscience represents a paradigm
spent in a European context, or elsewhere in      as a scientific field structured and organized in
the world researching, teaching and training,     compliance        to     Bologna      Declaration
without prejudicing their statutory rights. In    objectives. The organizational experience
other words, this satisfies one of Bologna        gained in Neuroscience can hopefully be
Declaration’s priorities which is the             transferred to other scientific fields.
promotion of mobility by overcoming
obstacles to the effective exercise of free
movement.
                                                                 REFERENCES
Furthermore, mobility at higher levels has also   [1]   Brain Facts (2002) Society for
been achieved. In Bologna Declaration:                  Neuroscience; Editor: Joseph Carey,
“Ministers call for increased mobility at the           Washington, USA.
doctoral and postdoctoral levels and
encourage the institutions concerned to           [2]   Meeting of Minds, European Citizens
increase their co-operation in doctoral studies         Deliberation on Brain Science, Brussels
and the training of young researchers”. As              (2005).
explained in previous paragraphs, cooperation
                                                  http://info.med.yale.edu/neurosci/
at doctoral level exists in all Neuroscience
http://www.gradschools.com/programs/neuros      http://www.gradschools.com/listings/out/neur
      cience.html                                     oscience_out.html
http://www.gradschools.com/listings/UK/neur     http://www.neuroscience.ucla.edu
      oscience_UK.html
                                                http://web.mit.edu/bcs/
http://www.gradschools.com/listings/Canada/
      neuroscience_canada.html                  http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-
                                                      vcapp/neurosci/
http://www.gradschools.com/listings/Australia
      /neuroscience_australia.html              http://www.neuroscience.ucla.edu

								
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