Georgia State University’s strategic plan highlights efforts to increase the strength of its research activities while increasing the number and quality of its graduate and undergraduate programs. GSU’s neuroscience community continues to be an important factor in reaching those goals. As we enter the 2012-13 academic year the Neuroscience Institute can reflect on the rapid changes that have occurred and in just the past two years since we moved into new laboratories and offices in the Petit Science Building, and look forward to our continuing growth.
This year we welcome 13 new students into the Neuroscience doctoral program. Since the graduate program began in 2010 it has grown from 26 to 38 graduate students, a remarkable increase of 46%. The graduate program also added a new concentration in Neuroethics in partnership with our associate faculty in the Philosophy Department, and our first privately funded fellowship program for graduate students, the Honeycutt Fellowship, was established. The second year of a new Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience is now underway, and this undergraduate major has shown an even more dramatic growth. In September 2011 at the start of the degree program we had 15 majors; at the beginning of the Fall 2012 semester, the number has grown to 112. Our faculty has grown as well. Three new distinguished faculty members are joining the Institute’s core faculty this year and are bringing nationally recognized, NIH funded research programs with them. Their new research programs, combined with an increase in grants to our existing core faculty, have nearly doubled the amount of grant funding in the Institute from $1.53M two years ago to $3.31M as of July, 2012.
Looking toward the future, we continue efforts to grow neuroscience both within the Institute and beyond it in partnership with the many other departments that participate with us in neuroscience activities. Through our participation in GSU’s Second Century Initiative we hope to add additional faculty in the area of Neurogenomics and the Molecular Basis of Behavior, and, in partnership with other departments, in Neural Imaging, Neuroethics, Neurotherapeutics, and Primate Social Behavior. We see both our graduate and undergraduate programs growing, and this year will start efforts to increase our students’ opportunities to participate in international activities. The Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, an internationally recognized, multi-institutional neuroscience center headquartered at GSU has moved into new space on the 7th floor of the Petit Science Center and will be expanding its efforts to link the neuroscience research, education, and outreach activities across the extraordinary neuroscience community we have at multiple colleges and universities across Atlanta. The Brains & Behavior Program, now administered through the NI, continues to support graduate students in the Neuroscience doctoral program as well as in graduate programs in Biology, Psychology, Math & Statistics, Physics & Astronomy, Philosophy, and Computer Science, while also awarding competitive Seed Grants for innovative research to neuroscience faculty throughout GSU.
These accomplishments would not be possible without the extraordinary efforts and strong support of faculty, students, staff, and administrators across the University. Each year, neuroscience researchers and educators at GSU offer up new, innovative ideas that continue our momentum. Because of this, I am sure that neuroscience will continue to grow and strengthen at GSU, and remain an important component of the University’s strategic goals to move research and education to an even higher level.
Walter Wilczynski, PhD
Professor and Director
Georgia State University