huknows00

huknows00
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So I guess U.S News is the authoritative ranking for Medical Schools, what about for the graduate programs? I have seen some NRC rankings online and they all seem outdated. US News rankings for graduate schools seem rather arbitrary, placing UCSD at only 7th for neuro?!

So I was wondering for you more experienced folks, what are the top places to train in neuroscience these days? I'm interested in Yale, Wash U, Columbia, UW, and Penn. How do these and other programs match up with each other and what are their areas of strength?

In particular, Yale has ranked 2nd in the NRC rankings for neuro conducted back in 1994, but thinking back wasn't Yale also a top five medical school back then? What happend? I really like their curriculum and research enviroment but It seems like Yale has been on a down turn... anyone with any ideas?
 

Habari

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It really depends what in particular you are interested. The strengths of an institution is driven more by individual investigators, though the general ethos of the department certainly contributes. Realize that the reputation of a department may also shield the program from people leaving/decline in productivity/poor recruitment, so it helps to have something more specific in mind when asking these sort of questions (system? molecular? development? behavior? computational? model systems? pathology? basic physiology/function/mechanism? clinical? etc...). While some schools have many of these fields well covered, there are many places that choose to focus (or simply happen to have) people who are excellent in one or more subgroups of "neuro".
 

huknows00

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Thanks for your reply. So now I'm thinking about doing my future thesis in something related to systems neuro/imaging, mainly because from what I've heard it is a very physician-scientist-friendly field because it provides a good interface for the clinic and research. I understand that the quality of training one receives in a program is largely up to who you work with, but the overall reputation of the department probably reflects the amount of funding, attention, and future contacts etc. you'll receive. So for someone like me, who will definitely be ecstatic to go to any of the great programs mentioned above, which one stands out in what areas? I'm just interested in knowing so I don't just make up an answer to "why are you interested in our program?" at interviews, also to form a preliminary idea of my preferences as to where to concentrate my efforts.
 
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Wertt

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For neuroimaging/cognitive type work WashU and UCLA (human brain project) stick out in my mind. Also Minnesota (the CMRR) and Dartmouth, and Caltech (new home to Ralph Adolphs). I'd love to say the UCL in England or the MRC at Cambridge...but something tells me they don't have NIH funded MST programs...
 

Napoleon4000

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Harvard: has several institutes devoted to neuro (molecular and psychiatric) many leaders in the field are there (duh!)[Shatz;Selkoe;Martin just to name a few]
U. Washington: has very strong departments specially in psychiatry
UCLA: several departments and buildings devoted to neuro a whole community here devoted to neuro; it permeates everything
UCSF: strong molecular neuro/ human neuro (genomic studies here!) they work together with Berkley (another great place)
Stanford: a lot of stuff (neurophis/anatomy/great psychia dept.) a lot of abtract but very exciting neuro being done there
Wash. U: many stem cell people with neuro interests!
Columbia: Kandel is there!
MSSM: for molecular neuro/geriatric psychiatry/Ken Davis is there - edits/writes major books in the field [Neuropsychopharmacology]

I hope this gets you started. :D
 

SeventhSon

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What I always hear here at UCSD is that our one top-notch program is neuro. It's just monstrous here, especially in the MSTP students. Don't know how it really stacks up to everywhere else???
 

scooter31

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Ah, neuroimaging, now we're talkin'. Along with the aforementioned schools, I would include one more: Iowa. Great facilities, lots going on, and from what I understand a decent amount of money/projects/PI's. I only say this through listening to others in my lab that have collaborated with folks at UI, so take it with a grain of salt. It isnt UCLA/UCSD/Harvard/MIT, but they are definitely underrated...
 

Vader

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Although it is an excellent, exciting area of neuroscience, my advice at this stage of your training to not to necessarily limit yourself to human neuroimaging. While there is an obvious clinical connection here (i.e. scanning patients), there are many excellent systems neuroscience approaches that use model organisms to understand things like addiction, plasticity, and behavior.

The big, fundamental advances in disease-related neuroscience will be made by people who can successfully combine molecular and systems approaches.

Just my humble 2 cents. :)
 

Wertt

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Vader said:
Although it is an excellent, exciting area of neuroscience, my advice at this stage of your training to not to necessarily limit yourself to human neuroimaging. While there is an obvious clinical connection here (i.e. scanning patients), there are many excellent systems neuroscience approaches that use model organisms to understand things like addiction, plasticity, and behavior.

The big, fundamental advances in disease-related neuroscience will be made by people who can successfully combine molecular and systems approaches.

Just my humble 2 cents. :)
I definitely agree with this - don't get stuck with a Method, but rather have an interesting question and look at all levels of analysis that will help you answer it.
There are a lot of people doing a lot of bad neuroimaging out there just because they can and its relatively easy to throw someone in the scanner.
 
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