Established by the Arizona Board of Regents: PhD 1988

The University of Arizona offers a Neuroscience through the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program. The Program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and tools that they will need to embark on careers as educators and researchers in the field of neuroscience. Students participate in designing their own individually tailored programs that provide a thorough base of knowledge in the many facets of neuroscience as well as depth in chosen areas of specialization. Because of the breadth of expertise represented by faculty, students have access to education and research training opportunities in areas ranging from molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, cognitive, theoretical, and clinical neuroscience.

Faculty Membership

Gene Alexander
John J. Allen
Jessica Andrews-Hanna
E. Fiona Bailey
Shaowen Bao
Carol A. Barnes
Roberta Diaz Brinton
Thomas G. Bever
Martha Bhattacharya
Haijiang Cai
Ying-hui Chou
Barbara Cone-Wesson
Speech, Language, & Hearing
Stephen Cowen
Thomas P. Davis
Anna Dornhaus
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Kristian Doyle
Erika Eggers
Torsten Falk
Jean-Marc Fellous
Fabian Fernandez
Ralph F. Fregosi, Executive Committee
Andrew J Fuglevand, Executive Committee
Amelia Gallitano-Mendel
Katalin Gothard, Executive Committee
Michael Grandner
Wulfila Gronenberg
Philipp Gutruf
Biomedical Engineering
Charles M. Higgins
John Hildebrand
Victor J. Hruby
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rajesh Khanna
May Khanna
Anita Koshy, Executive Committee
Kaveh Laksari
Biomedical Engineering
Richard Lane
Tally Largent-Milnes
Kevin Lin
Ronald J. Lukas
Lalitha Madhavan
Julie E. Miller
Alan Nighorn
Janko Nikolich-Zugich
Lynne Oland
Mary A. Peterson
Paulo Pires
Robin Polt
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Frank Porreca
Naomi Rance
John W. Regan
Pharmacology & Toxicology
Linda L. Restifo
Arthur Riegel
Patrick Ronaldson
Lee Ryan
Rita Sattler
Todd Schlenke
Rick Schnellmann
Jacob Schwartz
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Scott Sherman
Nicholas J. Strausfeld
John Streicher
George Sutphin
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Jennifer Teske
Nutritional Sciences
Todd W. Vanderah
Jean Marie Wilson (Bianchi)
Cellular & Molecular Medicine
Robert Wilson
Russell Witte
Medical Imaging
Melville Wohlgemuth
Fei Yin
Health Sciences
Daniela Zarnescu, Executive Committee
Molecular & Cellular Biology
Konrad Zinsmaier, Chair
Jiawei "Calvin" Zhang

Participating Colleges & Departments

Program Bylaws




I. Preamble


The Neuroscience Graduate Interdisciplinary Program is mandated to foster activities and communication among neuroscientists throughout the University and to offer graduate degrees in Neuroscience. The structure and organization of the programs conform to the guidelines for Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs. Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (GIDPs) report to the Dean of the Graduate College through the Faculty Director of GIDPs.


The Neuroscience GIDP comprises faculty members from many departments throughout the University who are principally or exclusively engaged in research and teaching in the field of neuroscience. Leading the affairs of the program is an Executive Committee, which is chaired by the Chairperson of the Neuroscience GIDP and includes several other faculty members and a representative of the graduate students in the Program in Neuroscience. 


II. Faculty of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience


The GIDP in Neuroscience recognizes a distinction between a broad-based community of neuroscience researchers with overlapping interests who benefit from campus-wide program activities (“Affiliated Faculty"), and the specific roles of UA faculty who run this GIDP and mentor its students (“Core GIDP Faculty”). Both membership types, but especially the GIDP Faculty category, have specific criteria and expectations, and these are enforced through a periodic review mechanism.


1. Core Neuroscience GIDP Faculty

Graduate Interdisciplinary Program faculty members are proposed for appointment to the Faculty Director of Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs by the Executive Committee, based on established criteria in Program Bylaws.

1.a. Criteria for membership. To become a member of the Core Neuroscience GIDP faculty, the following criteria must be met:

1.a.i. Appointment to tenure-track, tenured, or tenure-equivalent faculty position at the University of Arizona.

1.a.ii. Have an active research program in neuroscience, broadly defined.

1.a.iii. Written request to the program Chair, indicating willingness to participate in GIDP activities including recruiting, teaching, and GIDP committee work; and the existence of an active research program through which to supervise and mentor doctoral students (e.g., offer lab rotations and serve as major advisor).

1.a.iv. Research seminar presentation to Neuroscience community.

1.a.v. Positive vote of Neuroscience GIDP faculty. Meet expectations of membership (see section 1.c. below).


1.b. Benefits of membership. Core Neuroscience GIDP faculty will benefit in the following ways:

1.b.i. Listing on the Neuroscience GIDP website, research description, and link to homepage.

1.b.ii. Eligible to serve as major advisor for Neuroscience GIDP student.

1.b.iii. Eligible to vote on GIDP curriculum and policies.

1.b.iv. Eligible to serve on Executive Committee.

1.b.v. All other benefits of a Neuroscience affiliation (see section 2.b. below).


1.c. Expectations of membership. 

1.c.i. All Neuroscience GIDP faculty are expected to engage in ongoing active research in neuroscience.

1.c.ii. In addition, Program Faculty are expected to play substantive roles in the educational and research training mission of the Neuroscience Program, including participation in recruiting, mentoring, and teaching. High priority should be given to attendance at the weekly Neuroscience Colloquium events (currently scheduled on Tuesday afternoons), which include Neuroscience DataBlitz, student research seminars, invited seminar speakers, and journal club presentations. Faculty are requested to present their research at Neuroscience DataBlitz approximately once every two years. Other examples include participation on preliminary exam and thesis committees; willingness and ability to host graduate students for rotations and thesis research; participation in neuroscience courses (teaching, curriculum development); service on standing committees (Executive Committee, Seminar Committee, Admissions & Recruiting Committee); serving as Graduate Advisor; participation in recruitment activities (e.g., interviewing, presentation to candidates, attendance at social events); hosting Neuroscience seminar speaker; participation in annual Brain Awareness Week activities; attending the annual Neuroscience Faculty meeting; other ad hoc Neuroscience GIDP events.

1.c.iii. Annual membership renewal will be based on submission of a completed “Annual Report” that details participation in Neuroscience GIDP activities.


1.d. Review of membership. The EC will be responsible for review of Neuroscience GIDP Faculty membership.

1.d.i. Approximately one-third of the faculty will be reviewed each year.

1.d.ii. Each member will be reviewed every 3 years, based on a 3-year window of activity.

1.d.iii. If participation criteria are no longer met, or if the member is no longer able or willing to take graduate students, membership will be reclassified at the “Affiliate member” level (see section 2 below).


2. Affiliated Faculty

2.a. Criteria for membership. To become Affiliated Faculty of the program, the following criteria must be met:

2.a.i. Faculty-level appointment at UA, or at another nearby university, or at some other research facility.* This would include research faculty, instructors, and other non-tenure-track faculty.

2.a.ii. Strong interest in neuroscience research.

2.a.iii. Written request to the Chair explaining reasons for interest in membership.

2.a.iv. Positive vote of Executive Committee.


2.b. Benefits of membership. Affiliated Faculty will benefit in the following ways:

2.b.i. Listing on the Neuroscience website, brief research description, and link to homepage.

2.b.ii. Invitation to attend academic, community-outreach, and social activities.

2.b.iii. Eligible to nominate and host Neuroscience seminar speakers.

2.b.iv. Eligible to serve on Neuroscience graduate student advisory committees (but not as major advisor).

2.b.v. May be eligible to host Neuroscience GIDP students for lab rotations (students should confer with the Neuroscience Graduate Advisor in advance regarding the specifics of the research project to be carried out during the rotation). Affiliated Faculty may request transition to Neuroscience GIDP Faculty status if they are willing and able to meet those criteria (see section 1.a. above).


2.c. Expectations of membership.

2.c.i. Continued interest in neuroscience research.

2.c.ii. Periodically provide information about current neuroscience research activities for Neuroscience membership database.


III. Executive Committee of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience


The Executive Committee (EC) is charged with administration of the Neuroscience GIDP. The EC comprises at least seven members of the Neuroscience GIDP faculty, including the chairperson, the PI of the training grant, and one graduate student majoring in Neuroscience. Members of the EC should broadly represent the research interests of the GIDP faculty. The chairperson of the Neuroscience GIDP chairs the EC. The chairperson is elected by the Executive Committee and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College to a five-year term.  The chairperson may stand for re-election.


With the exceptions noted below, EC faculty members are elected by the Neuroscience GIDP faculty and appointed by the Faculty Director of GIDPs to renewable three-year terms. The PI of the training grant is selected and appointed by the EC. The student representative is elected by the students of the Neuroscience GIDP and appointed to a one-year term by the EC. The faculty chairpersons of the GIDP’s two main standing committees, the Graduate Student Admissions and Recruitment Committee (GSARC) and the Graduate Student Advisory and Progress Committee (GSAPC), may be elected members of the EC or other Neuroscience GIDP faculty; if they are not elected members, they will be appointed to EC membership for the period of their service as committee chairpersons throughout their tenure.  A representative to GIDPAC will be a member of the Neuroscience EC and be determined by a majority vote of the Executive Committee. The term will be three years beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30.


In the event of the Program Chair taking a sabbatical or resigning, an interim chair will be elected by the EC and appointed by the faculty director of GIDPs. The interim chair will serve a term of no more than one year while the chair is on sabbatical, or while preparations are made for the selection of a new chair.


1. The Executive Committee: 


a. develops and implements policies and procedures for the operation of the Program in Neuroscience and for associated teaching and research programs of the Neuroscience community;

b. evaluates nominations and applications for membership in the Neuroscience GIDP and reviews faculty appointments periodically;

c. appoints GIDP faculty members to serve on the standing committees;

d. acts on recommendations from the Graduate Student Admissions and Recruitment Committee regarding applications from prospective students;

e. acts on recommendations of the Graduate Student Advisory and Progress Committee regarding academic counsel to new students and evaluations of students at various stages of progress through the Program;

f. plans future developments in the area of neuroscience in the University;

g. ensures that regular reviews of the Program in Neuroscience, consistent with requirements of the Arizona Board of Regents, are carried out;

h. facilitates interaction and communication within the program and with interested parties in the University (such as the deans and the heads of related academic units);

i. seeks funding in support of the Program in Neuroscience; and

j. nominates GIDP faculty members for EC membership to ensure continuity over time.


The EC meets at least once each semester, and additional meetings are scheduled as needs arise. Decisions of the EC are made on the basis of majority votes; for this purpose, a quorum is a simple majority of the members of the EC, including the student member.


2. The Chairperson of the Executive Committee (and of its Program in Neuroscience): 


a. with the assistance of the graduate coordinator of the GIDP, administers the Program in Neuroscience and the other activities of the EC;

b. convenes and chairs meetings of the EC;

c. acts on behalf of the Neuroscience GIDP to implement certain policies of the Program in Neuroscience (e.g. to sign requests to schedule examinations);

d. serves as representative of the Program to the University Administration, granting agencies, prospective students, etc.; and

e. prepares and submits an annual report of activities and accomplishments of the the Program in Neuroscience according to University regulations.


The Program’s graduate coordinator works closely with the Chairperson of the EC as well as the students, faculty, EC and standing committees to ensure timely fulfillment of the policies of the UA and the Program in Neuroscience, as well as the flow of information among all concerned.


IV. Meetings of the Faculty Members of the Neuroscience GIDP


A general meeting of the faculty members of the GIDP is called at least once per year, early in the fall semester. A second general meeting may also take place early in the winter/spring semester. Other meetings may he held by the EC as needs arise.


V. Standing Committees of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience


In addition to the EC, two standing committees carry important responsibilities for the operation and welfare of the Neuroscience GIDP.


1. Graduate Student Admissions and Recruitment Committee (GSARC)


The GSARC comprises at least four members of the Neuroscience GIDP faculty, one of whom serves as Chairperson. The Committee members and chairperson are appointed for renewable three-year terms by the EC. The GSARC is responsible for evaluating applications from prospective graduate students for admission to the Program in Neuroscience, organizing the campus visits of finalists, recommending students to the EC for admission to the Program, and coordinating efforts to recruit admitted students. The GSARC also advises the EC with respect to publicizing the Program.


2. Graduate Student Advisory and Progress Committee (GSAPC)


The GSAPC comprises at least two members of the of the Neuroscience GIDP faculty, one of whom serves as Chairperson. The Committee members and chairperson are appointed for renewable three-year terms by the EC. The GSAPC is responsible for advising students in the Program in Neuroscience in their first year of study, helping each student select a dissertation advisor and individual dissertation committee, monitoring the progress of more advanced students through annual review of student records and reports of individual advisory committees, making recommendations about student advancement, probation, or termination to the EC, and advising the EC regarding Program policies and procedures as well as revisions of the Program Handbook.


Other standing committees may be established as the EC sees fit.


VI. Changes to these Bylaws


Changes to the Bylaws of the Neuroscience GIDP may be proposed to the EC by any members of the Neuroscience GIDP and require approval by two-thirds of the full membership of the EC.




*For example, this could include full-time clinicians, researchers at Muscular Dystrophy Association or local biotechnology companies. It could also include Arizona State University faculty and research scientists at TGen (Translational Genomics Research Institute) or Barrow Neurological Institute.