BEHAVIORALNEUROSCIENCEPSYCHOLOGYG R A D U AT EPROGRAMDEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CEWELCOMEWelcome to the UAB Behavioral Neuroscience Ph.D.Psychology Program. Behavioral Neuroscienceemphasizes the neural underpinnings of behavior.The mission of the Behavioral Neuroscience Ph.D.program is to produce outstanding junior scientistscapable of pursuing successful teaching and researchcareers. This goal is achieved by having each studentobtain firm academic and research training in bothpsychology and neuroscience-based domains. A majorstrength of the program is that it is an interdisciplinaryprogram that includes programmatic research andtraining under the supervision of any faculty memberwithin any department at UAB who has researchinterests that lie in the area of behavioral neuroscience.Current training and mentorship are provided by facultyin the departments of Anesthesiology, Biostatistics,Neurobiology, Physiology and Biophysics, Psychiatryand Behavioral Biology, Psychology, and VisionSciences.This system gives our students an advantage over otherprograms because it enables them not only to obtainfaculty positions in psychology, but also in many otherneuroscience-related departments within universitysettings, medical schools, research institutions, andprivate industry. We encourage you to investigate ourtraining page on our oralneuroscience) that provides a brief glimpse into thefacilities and faculty that make up our program, thedepartment, and the university. We encourage andwelcome you to learn more about our program throughthe links on our website. You can also directly contactfaculty members whose research intrigues you.We all look forward to hearing from you!Sincerely,David Knight, Ph.D.Director, Behavioral Neuroscience Doctoral Program02 / / W E L C O M E
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CEInside04ABOUT05RESEARCH EXPERIENCE & OPPORTUNITIES06RESEARCH AREAS OF FOCUS08COURSE OF STUDY09ADMISSIONS10FACULTY11QUICK FACTS12CAMPUS LIFE//MISSION////HISTORYUNIQUELY UABI N S I D E / / 03
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CEABOUTThe Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Programat the University of Alabama at Birmingham(UAB) is one of three Ph.D. granting programs(i.e. Behavioral Neuroscience, LifespanDevelopmental Psychology, and Medical/ClinicalPsychology) within UAB’s Department ofPsychology. Behavioral Neuroscience at UAB isfocused on elucidating the biological bases ofbehavior and cognition.MISSIONThe mission of the Behavioral NeuroscienceProgram in Psychology is to provide students withthe knowledge and skills required for successfulscientific research and teaching careers. It is thephilosophy of our program that this mission isbest achieved by having each student obtain afirm academic foundation in both psychology andneuroscience curricula, and to engage students insystematic research under the supervision of oneof the program faculty. Graduates of theBehavioral Neuroscience Ph.D. program haveshown excellence in their work and havesuccessfully obtained positions in institutions ofhigher learning, medical schools, researchinstitutions, and private industry.04 / / A B O U THistoryThe field of behavioral neuroscience evolvedfrom several traditional sub-disciplines withinpsychology (physiological psychology,experimental psychology, sensation andperception, conditioning and learning,motivation, cognition, and regulatory biology)to interface with the emerging field ofneuroscience. In this manner, the behavioralneuroscientist provides a vital contribution to thefield of neuroscience by emphasizing behavioral,cognitive, and functional endpoints in theirresearch.The Behavioral Neuroscience program at UAB isviewed as a campus-wide training programsupported by faculty from the College of Artsand Sciences and the School of Medicine. Thisprogram was approved by the Board of Regentsin 1980. Research in Behavioral Neuroscience atUAB occurs within an interdisciplinary contextthat provides a rich and diverse experience forgraduate students. Faculty in the BehavioralNeuroscience Ph.D. program hold primaryappointments in the Departments of Psychology,Vision Sciences, Ophthalmology, Cell Biology,Neurobiology, Physiology, and the BehavioralNeurobiology Division of Psychiatry. This breadthof perspective is reflected both in the coursesoffered by the program and the researchpursued by Behavioral Neuroscience students. Inthis spirit, students study core areas ofpsychology including statistics, behavioralneuroscience, learning, cognitive neuroscience,and neurorehabilitation.
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CERESEARCHEXPERIENCEStudents begin laboratory research uponentry into the program by completingtwo or three laboratory rotations duringtheir first year. Based on these rotations,students select a mentor and laboratoryin which to conduct their pre-dissertationand dissertation research. A uniqueaspect of the Behavioral Neuroscienceprogram is the ability to choose a mentorthat is engaged in behavioralneuroscience research from virtually anydepartment at UAB. Thus, although thePh.D. is awarded in Psychology, theprogram is truly interdisciplinary in termsof classroom and laboratory experience.OPPORTUNITIESResearch is one of the department'sstrongest traditions. Since 1999, ourprogram has been ranked by NationalScience Foundation (NSF) as one of thetop 100 recipients of federally financedR&D expenditures at universities andcolleges.The department is home to several ofUAB’s centers, research programs,laboratories, and teaching and trainingsites. As part of UAB's emphasis onmultidisciplinary centers, the departmentalso encourages and supportscollaboration with various departmentsand centers within the university.Dauphin IslandSea LabOne of the best experiences described by ourBehavioral Neuroscience students is their visit tothe Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Prior to starting thefirst semester of courses at UAB, students attenda three-week (end of July to middle of August)course held at the Dauphin Island researchfacility on the gulf coast of Alabama. This uniquecourse is taught by an interdisciplinary team ofUAB faculty and introduces incoming students tomany of the basic techniques and issues in thefield of neuroscience via didactic coursework,extensive laboratory activities, and a finalstudent research project. Students and faculty livein the Sea Lab housing and eat together in thecafeteria. Students from a number of UABgraduate programs visit Dauphin Island at thesame time and become a tightly knit,interdisciplinary group that provides a strongsocial infrastructure once they return toBirmingham and begin their graduate studies.R E S E A R C H / / 05
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CEHealth DisparitiesHIVResearch in the area of health disparities aims tostudy the causes of, and reduce the prevalenceof, the unequal effects of certain social, mentaland physical health challenges upon vulnerablepopulations. Among the many factors that arestudied are race, age, HIV, mental illness,education, and socioeconomic status.In the current era of effective HIV prevention andtreatment tools, treatment adherence has becomeof utmost importance. Psycho-social factors suchas stigma, social support, and mental health notonly affect the emotional well-being of peopleliving with HIV, they are also among the mostimportant determinants of adherence totreatment. The interplay between chronic painand HIV infection is also a rich area of inquiry forour research.Faculty: Karlene Ball (Psychology); Burel Goodin(Psychology); Bulent Turan (Psychology)Faculty: Burel Goodin (Psychology); Bulent Turan(Psychology)LanguageThe study of mental and neural mechanisms ofcomprehension and production of language. Amajor focus of Language research is onindividual differences in language ability,particularly neurodevelopmental and acquiredlanguage deficits such as aphasia and autismspectrum disorders. Research areas include theorganization of semantic knowledge, the neuralbasis of language processing, narrativecomprehension and pragmatic communication,reading comprehension, and the diagnosis andtreatment of language deficits.Faculty: Jerzy Szaflarski (Neurology); Edward Taub(Psychology)Neural Structure & Function,NeuromodulationThe study of neural structure and functionincludes the organization, connectivity, plasticity,and neurochemistry of the billions of neurons thatcompose the central nervous system. Research inthis area focuses on the functional organizationof neural systems for high-level functions such asperception, action, emotion, and cognition. Wealso study how pharmacological and electricalmodulation of these systems affects their function.Faculty: Frank Amthor (Psychology); Mary Boggiano(Psychology); Jennifer DeBerry (Anesthesiology);David Knight (Psychology); Adrienne Lahti (Psychiatry& Behavioral Neurobiology); Ron Lazar (Neurology);Lori McMahon (Cellular, Developmental andIntegrative Biology); Rosalind Roberts (Psychiatry &Behavioral Neurobiology); Robert Sorge (Psychology);Jerzy Szaflarski (Neurology); Edward Taub(Psychology); Kristina Visscher (Neurobiology); JarredYounger (Psychology)NeurodevelopmentNeurodevelopment is mediated by bothbiological and environmental factors. Among themany factors/influences that are studied byfaculty and their students are violence exposure,child abuse and neglect, neighborhooddisadvantage, Autism Spectrum Disorders,emotion, memory, and language development.The goal of these studies is to producetranslational research that benefits society.Faculty: David Knight (Psychology); Adrienne Lahti(Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology); KristinaVisscher (Neurobiology)06 / / A R E A S O F R E S E A R C HBEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE DEPARTMENTSFaculty from multiple departments across the UABcampus mentor our graduate students.Psychology, Radiology, Cell Biology, Anesthesiology,Ophthalmology, Neurobiology, Neurology,Physiology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology,Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vision Sciences
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CEObesity and Eating BehaviorDiet has a major effect on health. Drs. Boggianoand Sorge use human patients and preclinicalanimal models to investigate the impact of dietand eating patterns on obesity, eating disorders,neural responses, inflammation, and immunesystem activation. Their work is directed at usingdiet to promote better health and totreat/understand eating disorders. They are bothmembers of UAB’s Nutrition Obesity ResearchCenter.PainThe PAIN Collective aims to study and discovermethods of relieving and managing chronic painthrough both basic and clinical research. Thisarea of study has been of particular concern inrecent years due to the opioid abuse crisis andthe aging population.Faculty: Jennifer DeBerry (Anesthesiology); BurelGoodin (Psychology); Tim Ness (Anesthesiology);Robert Sorge (Psychology); Jarred Younger(Psychology)Faculty: Mary Boggiano (Psychology); Robert Sorge(Psychology)Psychophysiology, StressThe term psychophysiology refers to researchthat links psychological and physiologicalprocesses. For example, we study the effects ofpsychosocial stress on the physiological stressresponse, as measured by skin conductance,release of cortisol, and changes in bloodpressure and heart rate.Faculty: David Knight (Psychology); Lori McMahon(Cellular, Developmental and Integrative Biology);Bulent Turan (Psychology); Jerzy Szaflarski(Neurology)RehabilitationRehabilitation aims to restore function to peoplewith physical or cognitive disabilities due to aninjury to the nervous system, musculoskeletalsystem, or chronic illness. Psychologists studycognitive, behavioral, and affective factors, aswell as characteristics of the nervous system, thatcontribute to the development and ameliorationof disabilities. Areas of study in our Departmentinclude neuroplasticity, behavioral factors thatcontribute to physical disabilities and theirrehabilitation, the application of virtual reality torehabilitation, back pain, mobility limitations,visual attention, and speed of processing.Conditions of interest include stroke, cerebralpalsy, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis,spinal cord injury, aphasia, and mild cognitiveimpairment.Faculty: Edward Taub (Psychology)VisionUNIVERISTY-WIDE INTERDISCIPLINARYRESEARCH CENTERSComprehensive Neuroscience Center, CivitanInternational Research Center, McKnight Brain Institute,Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging, Center forClinical and Translational Science, Spain RehabilitationCenter, Epilepsy Center, Center for Exercise Medicine,Center for Glial Biology in Medicine, Heflin Center forGenomic Science, Injury Control Research Center,Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities ResearchCenterSome of our faculty are engaged in basic andapplied vision research, including the topics ofretinal anatomy and function, glaucoma, agerelated diseases such as macular degenerationand Alzheimer’s Disease, the effects of CNSdiseases such as Parkinson’s, neural prosthesisand sensory substitution aids, driving safety,brain training, and many other topics.Faculty: Frank Amthor (Psychology); Paul Gamlin(Ophthalmology); Kent Keyser (Optometry);Christianne Strang (Psychology); Kristina Visscher(Neurobiology)A R E A S O F R E S E A R C H / / 07
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CETYPICAL BEHAVIORALNEUROSCIENCE REQUIREMENTS& COURSEWORKYear 1LABORATORY ROTATIONSCore curriculum in neuroscience and psychologyYear 22nd YEAR RESEARCH PROJECTCore curriculum in student’s research areaCourseOf StudyCURRICULUM AND REQUIREMENTSYear 3QUALIFYING EXAMINATIONElective curriculumYear 4DISSERTATION RESEARCH PROPOSALBegin dissertation research, elective curriculumYear 5COMPLETE DISSERTATION RESEARCHFormal presentation of dissertation research, electivecurriculumThe first year Behavioral Neuroscience programrequirements include two to three laboratoryrotations and course work in BehavioralNeuroscience and Statistics. In the second year,students complete, write, and present a 2ndYear Project and select an additional fourcourses that are germane to their own researchinterests. In the third year, students completethe Qualifying Examination, which typicallytakes the form of a comprehensive, integrativereview paper and oral defense in an area ofthe student’s choice. In the fourth year, studentscomplete the Dissertation Proposal, a researchgrant in the form of a National Institutes ofHealth (NIH) F31 proposal. In the fifth year, theDissertation is defended and the doctoraldegree is awarded. In years three through five,students are encouraged to select additionalcoursework, with advice from their mentor, thatwill further develop their background in areasrelated to their research. Students alsoparticipate in journal clubs, workshops,colloquia, and seminar programs throughout allyears across a number of departments at UAB.08 / / C O U R S E O F S T U D YPARTIAL PROGRAMREQUIREMENTS2ND YEAR RESEARCH REQUIREMENTStudents complete a research project under thedirection of their mentor. A copy of a manuscript ora written research report is submitted for evaluationand approval by the Behavioral NeuroscienceDirector to satisfy the 2nd Year ResearchRequirement.QUALIFYING EXAMINATIONStudents complete a comprehensive review paper forthe Qualifying Examination requirement of theGraduate School. The student’s review paper isdeveloped in consultation with the research mentorand assessed by the Qualifying ExaminationCommittee.DISSERTATION PROPOSALThe dissertation proposal is prepared in the formatof an NIH F31 grant proposal. After the proposal isapproved by the dissertation committee, the studentis admitted to candidacy.DOCTORAL DEGREEThe doctoral degree is awarded after successfuldefense of the dissertation and submission of a finalcopy to the Graduate School.
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CECOMMUNITY INVOLVEMENTStudents in the Behavioral Neuroscience programregularly connect with the local community throughservice learning and other volunteer activities. Thistype of student involvement offers a number ofopportunities for students to connect with each otherand with the greater Birmingham community. Forexample, students typically support Brain AwarenessWeek activities each year at the McWane ScienceCenter. Brain Awareness Week is the globalcampaign to increase public awareness of thebenefits of brain research. UAB faculty, students, andother trainees share their knowledge of the brain,cognition, and behavior with the children ofBirmingham during Brain Awareness Week viademonstrations that include sheep brain and coweye dissections, protecting the brain, illusions, andother activities that are both fun and educational.Behavioral Neuroscience students also supportCORD (Community Outreach Development), whichoffers children and teachers in grades K-12 in-depthand hands-on science experiences at local areaschools, McWane Science Center, and UABclassrooms. Students also give back to thecommunity through education and service projects,associated with the Civitan International ResearchCenter, that benefit children and adults withdevelopmental disabilities. Students in the BehavioralNeuroscience program regularly share informationabout scientific findings and local resources atannual charity events like the Multiple Sclerosis andAutism Walks.AdmissionsApplication materials for graduate study inBehavioral Neuroscience are submitted to the UABGraduate School by November 30 of the yearpreceding admission. Students are typically invitedfor interviews in February. Notification ofacceptance in the program is typically made bythe end of March. Students admitted to theBehavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program musthave demonstrated excellence in academicperformance typically by:ONEOutstanding Undergraduate AcademicPerformance (including courses in experimentalpsychology, biology, chemistry, and mathematics)TWOOutstanding Graduate Record Examination ScoresSTUDENT SUPPORTGraduate students in the Behavioral NeuroscienceProgram are supported by university fellowships intheir first year. Faculty members in the BehavioralNeuroscience Ph.D. program typically haveextramural funding sources that are used to supportgraduate students in their second year and beyond.Most students select mentors that have funding tosupport research assistantships. However, studentsare also supported through university fellowships,training grant fellowships, and teachingassistantships. Students are also encouraged to writegrant proposals for externally funded pre-doctoralfellowships to provide support during theirdissertation research.Tuition and stipends are virtually always provided forthe duration of the graduate student’s tenure in theBehavioral Neuroscience program. Students mayapply for travel funds available both through thePsychology Department and the Graduate School topresent findings at scientific meetings.THREEUndergraduate Research ExperienceThe Behavioral Neuroscience faculty stronglyencourages applications from students of diverseethnic backgrounds. More information on UAB’sBehavioral Neuroscience program is available -neuroscience)Application material is available at:www.uab.edu/graduate Choose Psychology (PhD) Concentration:Behavioral NeuroscienceA D M I S S I O N S / / 09
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CEFACULTYA critical feature in our training program isthat each student has a faculty mentor, whois responsible for both funding and guidingthe student through the program andteaching the student how to function as abehavioral neuroscientist. The facultymentor-doctoral student relationship isformed by mutual consent in the secondyear of training. Therefore it is importantFrank Amthor, Ph.D.Mary Boggiano, Ph.D.Rita M. Cowell, Ph.D.Jennifer DeBerry, Ph.D.Yogesh Dwivedi, Ph.D.Karen Gamble, Ph.D.Paul Gamlin, Ph.D.that a student can identify a faculty memberwhose research is of significant interest toBurel Goodin, Ph.D.him or her at the time of applying to ourprogram. Consult the faculty descriptions ioral-neuroscience/coreprogram-faculty for more information aboutcurrent research. The doctoral studentdevelops a systematic line of research incollaboration with one (or more) facultymentors, and in the process completes theresearch requirements for the Ph.D.Students are actively engaged in researchAndrew Hardaway, Ph.D.David Knight, Ph.D.Nina Kraguljac, M.D.Adrienne Lahti, M.D.Ronald Lazar, Ph.D.Junghee Lee, Ph.D.every semester, including summers.Matthew Nelson, Ph.D.Minae Niwa, Ph.D.Rosalinda Roberts, Ph.D.Robert Sorge, Ph.D.Christianne Strang, Ph.D.Jerzy Szaflarski, M.D., Ph.D.Edward Taub, Ph.D.Kristina Visscher, Ph.D.Jarred Younger, Ph.D.10 / / C O R E F A C U L T Y
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CEQUICK FACTSRECORD ENROLLMENTUAB has experienced record enrollment,with a student body exceeding 21,000who can select from 137 degree programsin arts and sciences, business, dentistry,education, engineering, health professions,medicine, nursing, optometry, and publichealth.DIVERSITYUAB is regularly ranked among PrincetonReview’s top 10 universities for diversity.More than 35 percent of students areminorities and nearly 61 percent arefemale; they hail from every region of thecountry and more than 110 nations.NIH FUNDEDUAB ranks 23rd (top 4 percent) nationallyand 8th (top 2 percent) among publicinstitutions in funding from the NationalInstitutes of HealthRESEARCHThe Carnegie Foundation identifies UAB asone of a handful of institutions rated for“very high research activity” that also is aleader in “community engagement.”No. 1The University of Alabama at Birminghamhas been ranked the top young universityin the United States and No. 10 worldwidein the Times Higher Education WorldUniversity Rankings, 2018 YoungUniversity Rankings.11 / / U N I Q U E L Y U A BUNIQUELY UABBirmingham is a growing, diverse, and progressive citylocated in the foothills of the Appalachians. Thehospitality of the people and the temperate climate ofthe “Magic City” complement a wide variety ofeducational offerings, cultural and entertainmentactivities, and sporting events. Health care andeducation have replaced industry as Birmingham’seconomic base, and UAB is now the city’s leadingemployer.UAB is a comprehensive, urban research universitywith an enrollment of approximately 21,000 students.The university is a nationally and internationallyrespected center for educational, research, and serviceprograms. The UAB campus encompasses more than100 city blocks on Birmingham’s Southside, offering allof the advantages of a university within a highlysupportive city. A particular strength of the school is itsmany interdisciplinary programs, like the BehavioralNeuroscience Program, that cross departmental andschool lines. UAB attracts over 400 million annuallyin external research funding and ranks consistently inthe top 25 nationally in funding from the NationalInstitutes of Health. For graduate students, this fundingstatus means availability of financial support, access towell-equipped research laboratories, and interactionwith faculty members who have earned researchsupport based on the favorable judgment of theircolleagues nationwide.UAB is regularly ranked in the top 10 best medicalschools in the U.S. and offers a wide selection ofresearch opportunities spanning cellular/molecular,behavioral, cognitive, genetic, and patient orientedstudies. Researchers at UAB actively support andencourage students to explore questions beyonddisciplinary boundaries. This collaborative atmosphereallows students to tailor educational and researchexperiences to individual research questions andcareer goals. In fact, UAB offers access to over 100Core Facilities with cutting edge instruments andresources to support student research and careerdevelopment. Further, UAB provides ongoingprofessional development and support to youngscientists through the Comprehensive NeuroscienceCenter, Center for Clinical and Translational Science,the Office of Postdoctoral Education, and theGraduate Career Awareness and Trends programswhich offer courses in grant writing, manuscriptpublication, lab management, translational science,and other professional development skills.
U ABB E HA VI O RA LN E U RO SCI E N CECAMPUSLIFECampus life at UAB is characterized by the bustleand diversity of the university’s urban setting.UAB has an active international community ofstudents and faculty.The Alys Stephens PerformingArts Centerprovides an acoustically superb setting for abroad range of world-renowned performers whoare brought to the UAB campus. Dance groupsoffer opportunities in ballet and jazz. Artwork iscontinuously exhibited in the Visual Arts Galleryand several other galleries on campus.The Birmingham Civil Rights InstituteBirmingham offers collegiate sports, such asbasketball, soccer, baseball, and football, aswell as minor league baseball. Birmingham isfrequently selected as the site for collegebasketball tournament events, including variousrounds of the NCAA Tournament. The UABBlazers basketball team regularly earns a berthin the NCAA tournament. The state’s largestpark, located just 15 miles south of town at OakMountain, offers boating, swimming, camping,hiking, golf, tennis, and fishing.Alabama Jazz Hall of FameAlabama Theatreexhibits a self-directed journey through the civilrights movement, as well as temporary exhibitswhich include interactive video and computerprograms. The Institute also houses a resourcegallery for teachers, students, and others seekinginformation on civil and human rights.Birmingham Botanical GardensThe Birmingham Museum of ArtRickwood Fieldhouses one of the most comprehensivepermanent collections in the southeast with morethan 24,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, andprints.Birmingham ZooMcWane Science CenterRailroad ParkRed Mountain ParkSloss FurnacesVulcan ParkC A M P U S L I F E / / 12
FOR MOREINFORMATIONWEB: rosciencePHONE: 205-934-8723EMAIL: [email protected] KNIGHT, PH.D.Director,Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate ProgramThe University of Alabama at Birmingham
Developmental Psychology, and Medical/Clinical Psychology) within UAB’s Department of Psychology. Behavioral Neuroscience at UAB is focused on elucidating the biological bases of behavior and cognition. The mission of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program in Psychology is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required for successful