What Students Say
About the Neuroscience Interdepartmental
"The Neuroscience Graduate IDP was what attracted me to UCLA in the first place. UCLA has a fantastic and diverse neuroscience community, and the IDP gives you access to all of it. The program encourages getting to know faculty from several different areas of neuroscience from fMRI to molecular biology, and the students themselves have a wide range of backgrounds. Most importantly, overall there is still a friendly feeling of a closely knit group. Once you choose a specific area of research, you still have connections to the rest of the community through IDP organized talks, program retreats, journal clubs and, of course, your friends. I definitely think that my work has
benefited from this contact with people from other departments who can bring different areas of expertise to bear on my research."
About the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program and L.A.
"One of the things that inspires me about the UCLA Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program for Neuroscience is the great number of people involved in its research and development. People from very contrasting backgrounds and from all over the world unite here to understand a common and ultimate goal, human behavior. This diversity of knowledge is reflected in the dynamic curriculum, where students are in touch with a variety of topics taught by some of the most prominent people in their fields. Another plus about the program is the willingness and dedication of the faculty members to help us get through the many difficult decisions we have to make as graduate students. On a more relaxing note, Los Angeles is the perfect place to enjoy people and life. It has a great community surrounding the University, all kind of restaurants and entertainment, and the nightlife is the best to make new friends. Overall, I think I have made a great decision in spending five years of my life at this institution."
About Los Angeles
"It was only a few years ago that I first visited Los Angeles while interviewing at UCLA. It was a very pleasant surprise. Having grown up several thousand miles from the West Coast, I wasn't really sure what to expect, save what few stereotypes I had picked up along the way. On my interview trip someone drove me by the Pacific Ocean, and I fell in love. The natural beauty of this part of the country is hard to match. You can go scuba diving off Catalina island, hike or bike in mountains only a few miles from campus, and ski in the bigger mountains farther inland, all in one long weekend that is virtually guaranteed to be sunny. The city itself is enormous, and offers a huge number of places and events to explore--from museums and movie premieres to the drum circle at Venice beach. LA is as diverse as it is big, and this diversity is reflected well in the diversity of the graduate and undergraduate students at UCLA."
"Being a graduate student at UCLA is so much more than taking classes and doing research. You are immersed in a stunningly beautiful campus filled with sculpture, trees of every kind, and people from every corner of the world. You cannot help but to develop and mature not just academically, but personally. Much of my identity has been shaped not only by the classes I have taken, the research I have done, and the academic life I have been surrounded by, but also by the people I have met and things I have been a part of on our campus!"
About Faculty at UCLA
"I have been continually surprised by the openness and willingness of the faculty not only to listen to students' ideas, but also actually to perform experiments testing these ideas. Whether or not a faculty member is your specific advisor, I have found that they are readily willing to work with
you -- which is an exciting prospect for a graduate student. In my first year, I was able to begin projects in very different fields -- including electrophysiological recordings from crayfish neurons, neuropsychological tests on a prison inmate with a brain tumor, and a functional MRI study of preconscious perception. And my dissertation research will be in another area altogether. In no other program that I considered, was there such flexibility. With the immensity of the Brain Research Institute and the prestige of its faculty, UCLA is clearly a great place to do multidisciplinary research."
About Project Brainstorm
"Fascination with the brain is not limited to just those of us who have focused our career on the brain, but also to everyone around us. This is really apparent to some of us who have been involved in Project Brainstorm, a program in which we visit elementary classrooms throughout the Los Angeles area. Our goal is to stimulate interest in science by emphasizing the function and importance of the brain and sharing our enthusiasm for the subject. Through group participation, novel games and hands-on exercises, we not only teach the basic science of the brain, but we demonstrate how to take care of the it. The favorite part of the visit is providing the students with the unique experience of seeing and touching a real brain. Boy, do their eyes widen! Project Brainstorm is a rewarding experience for all participants. It gives us, the researchers of today, the fun of sharing our knowledge in order to spark interest and motivate the researchers of tomorrow!"
About Brain Imaging at UCLA
"For Neuroscience students wishing to specialize in brain imaging, UCLA offers an outstanding range of research opportunities. In the UCLA Division of Brain Mapping, many multidisciplinary projects take place that cross common divisional, departmental and institutional boundaries. These studies bring together the talents and skills of individuals who are experts in neuroscience, engineering, computer science and clinical medicine. This rich interdisciplinary collaboration creates an exciting environment for students. In a typical first-year laboratory rotation, a student may participate in the development of new types of digital brain atlases, perform optical intrinsic signal imaging of the live brain, and learn computer techniques for modeling structural and functional entities in the brain, based on 3D PET, MRI and histologic images of subjects with Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia."
About the Faculty
"The faculty involved in the Neuroscience Program are an enormous asset to the students. They are not only experts in their field, but they contribute to the program in many ways. They participate in the annual Neuroscience retreat, mentor rotation students, and lead journal clubs. Faculty-student interactions are the framework for constructing a scientific community driven by collaboration. I benefit from the guidance of faculty members in various fields of research. Their input promotes the advancement of my research and my knowledge of neuroscience in general. In a field as diverse and complex as neuroscience, relationships with such excellent faculty are extremely valuable."