Transitioning from Training in the Dept of Anatomy and Neurobiology to a University of Vermont Multidisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program

Discussions undertaken as part of the CID significantly guided our planning in creating an interdisciplinary, university-wide graduate program in Neuroscience. We initiated the process of planning this graduate program nearly simultaneously with becoming part of the CID. Planning included: examining the objectives of the program, identifying resources for support, developing a training program, and obtaining the support of the Chairs and Deans whose faculty had a stake in Neuroscience. In a sense, we decided to experiment with our entire graduate program.

Anatomy and Neurobiology Graduate Students
Anatomy and Neurobiology Graduate Students

Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

University of Vermont

CID Leadership Team

  • Rae Nishi, Ph.D., Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Graduate Program Coordinator
  • Cynthia Forehand, Ph.D., Professor, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Graduate Program Advisor
  • Rona Delay, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biology
  • John Green, Assistant. Professor, Psychology
  • Sue Buckingham, Graduate Student, Anatomy & Neurobiology
  • Susan Hendricks, Postdoctoral Fellow, Anatomy & Neurobiology
  • Matthew Maneen, Graduate Student, Anatomy & Neurobiology
  • Liviu Muresan, Graduate Student, Biology
  • Wenling Zhang, Graduate Student, Biology
  • Contact:

    Dr. Rae Nishi,, (802) 656-4504

    Department Home Page
    This is a link to the University URL for the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology.

    Graduate Program Home Page
    This is a link to the URL for the new Neuroscience Graduate Program.

    What do we want to accomplish in the CID?

    We want to create a dialog between departments at the University of Vermont who presently have a stake in Neuroscience Training so that we can effectively design a new multidisciplinary graduate program in Neuroscience.

    More About Our Department

    The Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology has long had a small graduate program that emphasized research training in neurobiology while also training students in gross anatomy, histology and neuroanatomy. However, other graduate programs, particularly Biology and Psychology have also trained students who completed dissertations in Neuroscience. In 2002 we made the decision to expand the mentors available in the Anatomy and Neurobiology Program in order to start the process of creating a university-wide graduate program. At the same time, we started meeting with other departments to plan a larger, multidisciplinary program.

    Exemplary Element Snapshot
    Graduate Student Journal Club has been an exemplary feature of the graduate program in the Dept of Anatomy and Neurobiology since 1987. It is required of all students every year that they are enrolled. This feature will be retained in the new Neuroscience Graduate Program.

    What are we doing?

  • Identify goals for training Stewards of the discipline of Neuroscience
  • Create a graduate program that meets these goals
  • Design courses that integrate teaching of didactic material with training in scientific survival skills
  • Integrate clinical and basic science in training students
  • Innovations Snapshot
    This innovation is a new course on Basic Science of Neurological Disease that we implemented in 2003.


    Discussions were initiated at UVM in 2002 regarding a new university-side graduate neuroscience program. This was also when we applied for and was accepted as an affiliate program of the CID. Our timeline was to get this new graduate program approved by the time our participation in the CID expired.

    The documents that we generated in the process of planning this program can be downloaded from the links below.

    MOU 7-8-04
    This is the first memorandum of understanding that was generated that detailed what the program would be like and how resources to support the program would be provided.

    MOU 3-28-05
    This MOU detailed how the program would be run and how it would be evaluated.

    Grad Program Proposal
    This is the final document that we generated. It had to be approved by Chairs, Deans, Curricula Committees, the Academic Senate, Dean of the Graduate College, Provost, President, and Board of Trustees. On Feb 11, 2006 final approval was obtained (hooray).

    This electronic portfolio was created using the KML Snapshot Tool™, a part of the KEEP Toolkit™,
    developed at the Knowledge Media Lab of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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