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New neuroscience program established at IUPUI


July 19, 2012

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The School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has established a new neuroscience program, offering students an opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree in a rapidly advancing field on a campus with a climate of strong interdisciplinary collaboration.

The undergraduate baccalaureate program in neuroscience at IUPUI will provide a foundation for the pursuit of graduate and professional degrees that culminate in careers in science and medicine.

Additionally, undergraduate neuroscience majors will be well prepared to fill the high demand -- in Indiana and across the country -- for trained neuroscience professionals in medical, academic or government-supported research, health-related sciences and biotechnology.

“The School of Science continues to innovate in the classroom and in the laboratory,” said Simon Rhodes, dean of the School of Science. “Neuroscience is an integral part of the future of the life and health sciences industries in Indiana, and this program is a strong example of the school’s commitment to collaboration across campus and with the community.”

Neuroscience majors at IUPUI will have opportunities for research and internship experiences in the School of Science and the Indiana University School of Medicine as well as through companies in central Indiana that are aligned with the life science, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. In addition, the new IU Health Neuroscience Campus will offer many benefits for students and provide future job opportunities.

“We are training a new generation of neuroscientists,” said Stephen Boehm, associate professor and founding director of the program. “No other campus provides the cross-disciplinary research and learning environment that IUPUI offers our students. Neuroscience students will get a unique experience because of our strong partnerships and the strong research interests on campus.”

Neuroscience addresses the structure and function of the nervous system, with particular focus on intersection between the brain and behavior. Neuroscientists routinely draw on the fields of psychology, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and computer science.

Neuroscience is not a new topic at the School of Science; students have been able to pursue a psychology degree with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience since 2002, and interest has grown in recent years. However, the field now demands highly trained professionals. Students in the new program can pursue training in cellular/molecular, computational, or behavioral neuroscience. Faculty across the School of Science will play important roles in the curriculum.

Only 27 universities across the country offer a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, and IU Bloomington offers the only other one in Indiana.

“The interdisciplinary nature of our program, long history of collaboration and research at IUPUI, and the growing neuroscience-related interests in Indianapolis make the School of Science a desirable and unique destination for prospective students,” Boehm said. He estimates 30 students will enroll in the first year.

The Indiana University Life Sciences Initiative has identified neuroscience as one of its strategic priorities for the future, recognizing the importance of the field to the regional life sciences business environment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in the next six years, the number of employed life scientists will increase by 40 percent for medical scientists and 21 percent for biological scientists.

The School of Science at IUPUI is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service in the biological, physical, behavioral and mathematical sciences. The school is dedicated to being a leading resource for interdisciplinary research and science education in support of Indiana's effort to expand and diversify its economy.