Training Program


Program Background

Our center's Training Program in Neurobehavioral Genetics is a Kirschstein-NRSA predoctoral and postdoctoral training program jointly funded by NINDS and NIMH. Our integrated program rests on two premises:

  1. Genetic and genomic approaches are indispensable tools in understanding the nervous system and its diseases, and tie together basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience; 
  2. Phenotyping of the nervous system is a distinct scientific discipline that unifies the investigation of neural mechanisms with the study of behavior. 

Based on these premises, we have pursued two complementary goals:

  1. To provide rigorous training in genetics and genomics to individuals with prior expertise in phenotyping of the nervous system (including neurologists, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists); 
  2. To provide exposure to advanced nervous system phenotyping approaches to individuals with prior expertise in genetics, genomics, or other basic science disciplines.

These two complementary training goals rest on strong quantitative and computational principles.

Program Requirements

Trainees appointed to the program are required to complete related coursework, present a talk at the annual retreat, submit an individual NRSA award or equivalent fellowship during their first year of training, and participate in all program activities for (2) years.

Program activities include (but are not limited to):

  • Research training with a participating faculty mentor
  • Attendance at the Integrative Center for Neurogenetics (ICNG) seminars
  • Participation in the Neurobehavioral Genetics (NBG) Journal Club
  • Training in ethical conduct of research
  • Training in quantitative and computational principles

Required coursework include:

  • NS240: Phenotypic Measurement of Complex Traits
  • NS215: Current Research Topics in Neurobehavioral Genetics
  • MIMG C234: Ethics and Accountability in Biomedical Research

 Optional coursework include:

  • HG236B: Advanced Human Genetics 
  • HG244: Genomic Technologies

Program Eligibility

Per NIH Grants Policy, candidates for Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards must be U.S citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. Interested candidates should identify a participating faculty mentor, who will submit a nomination letter at the time of application to the program. Candidates will be selected mainly on the basis of prior research accomplishments and academic promise. 
We encourage nomination of outstanding candidates throughout the academic year. We particularly seek qualified minority candidates from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from economically, socially, culturally, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. In keeping with the program's goals, preference will be given to applicants who are trained in psychiatry, neurology, or psychology, although we also seek outstanding applicants with other backgrounds.
Trainees are guaranteed at least (1) year of funding from the training grant. Acceptance is contingent upon the mentor committing to provide supplemental funding for the first year of the program and supplementary/full funding for the second year.
For more information, please contact Adara Lui at