Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy
Medical College of Wisconsin
| I feel extremely fortunate to have received my Ph.D. training
in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at the University of
Minnesota for a number of reasons. The beginning course at Lake
Itasca gave me my first hands-on experience with an oscilloscope.
At that time, I found electrophysiological recordings to be
completely intimidating, but through this experience, I became
fascinated by the sophisticated techniques we have available
to study the function of single neurons in vitro and in vivo.
Since the Itasca course, I continued developing a strong interest
in studying the function of neurons by using electrophysiological
approaches...Since my first year in graduate school, I have
been intensely interesting in mechanisms that drive and maintain
pain, and I continued studying pain mechanisms throughout my
postdoctoral training and now as an independent investigator.
One of the major reasons I believe I have been successful in
establishing my own laboratory for pain research in an academic
institute is that I had fantastic, broad in-depth training from
a tremendous number of pain-focused investigators at the University
of Minnesota...Even though the Neuroscience program is highly
diverse and included (at the time) over 80 faculty members,
I had a very strong sense that the faculty member in the Neuroscience
program really know who we graduate students were and how we
were progressing, and genuinely cared about the success of each
of us. My experience is that the contacts between faculty and
students continue long after the graduate students move on.
Purdue Pharma, New Jersey
| As the time since my graduation from the Program in Neuroscience
continues to elapse, I grow to appreciate the many benefits
of my education more and more. These benefits can best be divided
into two categories: the breadth of the education I received;
the relationships and the contacts I made with the faculty.
During my training I received a broad but thorough education
in some of the core areas of neuroscience, from the cellular
to the systems levels. This education has provided me with a
sound foundation upon which I have been able to continue learning
throughout my career. Obviously, a key component to successful
education lies in the hands of the teachers. The Program's faculty
are truly one of its greatest assets. They successfully made
a large university feel familiar and comfortable, enabling the
formation of positive relationships between faculty and students.
The relationships that I established with the faculty have continued
to grow, and have proven to be very valuable assets for my career.
Timothy Gomez, Ph.D.
Department of Anatomy
University of Wisconsin, Madison
| Unlike many first year graduate students that I meet today,
when I entered the Neuroscience Program at the University of
Minnesota in 1989, I was not wedded to a particular research
area...For my third rotation I went to Paul Letourneau's lab
where he was studying nerve growth cones. Paul was using several
forms of microscopy to image growing axons in culture. I can
still recall seeing my first time-lapse movie of a growth cone
migrating randomly across a culture dish. At that moment I became
fascinated, like Paul, in how these sensory-motor specializations
worked. In fact, I consider this to be the most pivotal point
in my career. I became preoccupied with my studies and never
considered what I was doing as work...As a faculty member less
time can be spent at the bench, as more time is required in
writing and reviewing grants and papers, consulting with students,
and giving lectures. However, I was fortunate to have several
talented graduate students join my lab and can now witness their
emerging fascination with growth cones. Although my responsibilities
have changed, my days are still spent thinking, learning, and
teaching, which I trust I will never consider work. I am extremely
thankful for my five years as a graduate students at the University
of Minnesota, as I believe the Neuroscience program, its faculty,
and of course my advisor provided me with the strong foundation
I needed to succeed.