The members of the Behavioral Neuroscience program area use neuroscience techniques mostly (but not exclusively) in animals to understand how the brain works to produce behavior. The program is strongly research oriented and each student works directly with a faculty mentor. Topics that individual researchers explore include neural plasticity, hormonal effects on neural development, adolescence, drugs of abuse and addiction, mechanisms of eating, behavior, and the effects of exercise. The faculty and students in Behavioral Neuroscience interact with other program areas in Psychology as well as the campus-wide Neuroscience Program.
The curriculum is tailored to the individual student's interests and goals. The only course requirements are those set by the department and the weekly Proseminar in Psychology for Behavioral Neuroscience. Most students take courses in the various biology departments outside of Psychology as part of the department's minor requirement. Participation in research is emphasized and each student presents a first year project by the end of their third semester in graduate school.
Facilities and Resources
Faculty laboratories are either in the Psychology Building or in the interdisciplinary Beckman Institute. There are animal housing facilities in both buildings. In addition, all faculty and students have access to group facilities for such techniques as electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Affiliated Departments, Programs, and Institutes
All of the faculty in Behavioral Neuroscience are also members of the campus-wide Neuroscience Program. There are also close ties to the interdisciplinary Beckman Institute and to several departments within the Schools of Molecular and Cellular Biology and of Integrative Biology. Faculty and students in Behavioral Neuroscience also interact with the Institute for Genomic Biology.