FNS YearlyReport08-09
167 Pages
English
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FNS YearlyReport08-09

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Learn all about the services we offer
167 Pages
English

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Supervising over 70 graduate students and 22 postdoctoral trainees. • A very positive ..... Dr. Cedric L. Williams, University of Virginia. Dr. Michael J. ..... The VPR in TAMU and TAMHSC currently subsidizes the use of core facilities. Efforts ...... http://www.cvm.tamu.edu/wklemm/documents/Pubs.cvm.format.pdf. Klemm, W. R. ...

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Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience Annual Report September 2008 to August 2009 Submitted to the Vice President for Research and Council of Participating Deans September 21, 2009 Highlights • 73 regular members, from 9 colleges and 20 departments • Generates over $50 million in grant funding • Supervising over 70 graduate students and 22 postdoctoral trainees • A very positive external review of the Ph.D. program (October, 2008) • Ph.D. program approved by the Coordinating Board (April, 2009) • Identified as one of the top 8 (out of 111) interdisciplinary programs at TAMU • Continued growth in the undergraduate program (with over 80 minors in NRSC) Plans for 2009/2010 • Establish an effective funding mechanism for graduate training in NRSC • Establish a base of graduate courses in NRSC through cross-listing • Process students wishing to transfer to the NRSC Ph.D. program (to start Jan., 2010) • Recruit first class of graduate students (to start Sept., 2010) • Continue to build the undergraduate minor • Obtain approval for the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience (by Jan., 2010) • Negotiate funding for TAMIN, establishing a base of administrative and graduate support • Initiate the search for 3 senior faculty in Neuroscience (funded by the TAMIN proposal) • Continue to build the program and involve a wide-range of faculty by James W. Grau, Ph.D. Chair, Interdisciplinary Faculty of Neuroscience Mission The Faculty of Neuroscience, and the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, conducts a range of research, teaching, and service activities across the participating institutions. These activities are conducted to promote the five major goals of the program: • to recruit graduate students and faculty interested in interdisciplinary neuroscience research, • to provide educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students through interdisciplinary training, • to facilitate departmental and college research strengths in the neurosciences through interdisciplinary collaborations, • to foster development of new research areas and extramural funding in the neurosciences, and • to become a premier neuroscientific community of high national ranking and strong international reputation. Elections, Meetings, and Policies The FNS held elections in the summer of 2009 and re-elected Jim Grau (Psyc) as Chair. He will serve from September 1, 2009 till August 31, 2011. Others re-elected to the Executive Committee (EC) include Drs. Jennifer Bizon (Psyc; Curriculum/Graduate Program) and Barry Setlow (Psyc; Seminar), both of whom will also serve till August of 2011. The remaining committee chairs (Dr. Ursula Winzer-Serhan [NExT; Membership/Nominating] and Gregg Wells [NExT; Recruiting]) have appointments that expire in August of 2010. This last year, Candi LaSarge served as the graduate student representative. Because this is a one-year appointment, an election is in progress to replace her. In addition, the Policies were modified to allow the President of the local chapter for the Society of Neuroscience to serve on the EC. Dr. Mary Meagher (Psyc) was recently elected to this position and will serve till August of 2010. Eight committee members were elected/re-elected in August of 2009. They are: Curriculum Committee: Gladys Ko (VIBS) and Mike Smotherman (Biol) Membership Committee: Louise Abbott (VIBS) and Jane Welsh (VIBS) Recruiting Committee: Ursula Winzer-Serhan (NExT) and Mendell Rimer (NExT) Seminar Committee: Jane Welsh (VIBS) and Mike Smotherman (Biol) Two ad hoc committees were formed to address matters that required additional attention. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee was formed to enhance the minor in NRSC and to promote the development of the undergraduate major. Dr. Lou Tassinary (Visualization) will chair the committee. Drs. Ginger Carney (Biol), Rachel Hull (Psyc), Gladys Ko (VIBS), and Marcel Amstalden (Animal Science) are serving on the committee. With the approval of the Ph.D. program in NRSC, it is imperative that we develop a funding strategy that provides an assurance of support for at least 5 years of graduate study (assuming the student remains in good standing). Dr. Jane Welsh has agreed to chair an ad hoc Graduate Support Committee that will address this issue. Other members of the committee include: Drs. Barry Setlow (Psyc), Farida Sohrabji (NExT) and Mark Zoran (Biol). 2 The Faculty of Neuroscience met at regular intervals (at the start of each semester and at the end of the spring semester) to discuss undergraduate/graduate training, the Ph.D. proposal, and the development of our white paper (the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience [TAMIN]). The EC generally met 1-2 times per semester to address pending issues. Additional meetings were held this last year to prepare for the review of the Ph.D. proposal by the external review team, Regents, and Coordinating Board. In addition to the EC, Dr. Mark Zoran (past Chair of the Faculty of Neuroscience and an instrumental force in developing the Ph.D. proposal) and Dr. William Griffith (Head of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics [NExT] within the Medical School) played an important role. Finally, a subcommittee was formed to write the white paper describing TAMIN. The committee included: Drs. Marcel Amstalden (Animal Science), Jennifer Bizon (Psyc), Yoonsuck Che (Computer Sci), Richard Finnell (IBT), Rene Garcia (Biol), William Griffith (NExT), Jianrong Li (VIBS), Mary Meagher (Psyc), Rajesh Miranda (NExT), Cynthia Riccio (Ed Psyc), Lou Tassinary (Visualization), Jane Welsh (VIBS), and Mark Zoran (Biol). Plans In the report submitted last year, 7 aims were listed: 1) Establish the interdisciplinary degree in neuroscience 2) Define a presence for neuroscience at A&M 3) Develop faculty links/collaboration 4) Build a strong faculty 5) Strengthen the undergraduate program 6) Establish effective funding mechanisms 7) Learn from other programs The first aim was to obtain approval for our Ph.D. proposal in Neuroscience (NRSC). A major obstacle, the agreement of a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the joint administration of the degree program across TAMU and the HSC, was cleared in the spring of 2008. Once that was done, an external review of the program was scheduled for October of 2008. The reviewers were Drs. Rebecca Burwell (Brown University), Cedric Williams (University of Virginia) and Michael Zigmond (University of Pittsburgh). The program received very positive reviews (see Attachment A): • “If the new Doctoral Program receives the necessary support, there is no question that it can become a world class program and one of the leading neuroscience graduate programs in the country.” • “The success of the faculty in generating grant funds is likely due, in part, to the research areas of interest and the complementary approaches. As a group, the faculty research interests address important human health problems including aging, diseases of the nervous system, pain, recovery after injury, and addiction.” • “We were enormously impressed with the atmosphere of collegiality among the Faculty of Neuroscience.” • “We were also impressed by the leadership of the Faculty of Neuroscience, both past and present. It is outstanding at all levels.” 3 • “One strength of this effort is the apparent support of the administration. This is evident in the recent hiring successes undoubtedly supported by excellent start-up packages, construction of a new Life Sciences Building devoted partially to Neuroscience laboratories, and the strong and well-supported core facilities.” In response to these reviews, the EC prepared a response (Attachment B). A major issue concerned the development of an adequate base of funding. This issue was addressed by augmenting the base budget by $72,000/year for the first two years of the program (2009-2011). Funds were promised by each VPR (TAMU and Health Science Center [HSC]) and the Deans of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Science, and Liberal Arts ($12,000 each). A revised budget was then developed (Attachment C) and a Program Approval Request (Attachment D) was signed by Drs. Murano and Dickey and submitted to the Regents in December of 2008. The program thwas then approved by the Coordinating Board on April 30 of 2009. We have subsequently begun to process students who wish to transfer into the graduate program and have been developing a recruiting strategy to recruit new students in the Spring of 2010. The aims outlined last year were also addressed, in part, through the preparation and submission of a white paper describing a new institute, the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience (TAMIN). In response to a call for proposals in the Fall of 2008, we developed a short outline of the proposal, which was identified as being among the top 18 (our of 111) to be considered in a second round of evaluation. In the Spring of 2009, a more elaborate proposal (Attachment E) was developed, along with supporting materials (a video and poster). The Neuroscience proposal was then selected as one of 8 to be recommended to the Steering Committee. In the Summer of 2009, we learned that these proposals would be funded, though at a level below the original request. Cost-sharing agreements (75% Provost, 25% Colleges) were then negotiated to hire 3 senior faculty in Neuroscience. Space has been requested to house these faculty in the shelled area of the third floor of the ILSB, adjacent to other neuroscience faculty housed in that building and the vivarium (essential to many areas of neuroscience research). In addition, funds are being requested to provide graduate stipends during the first year rotation and partial (25%) support in years 2-5. Other items being requested include a base administrative budget and funds to help develop a human imaging facility (in collaboration with the Texas Brain and Spine Institute). It is recognized that continued growth will also require an investment in new assistant professor lines. Funds were requested for the salary and start-up costs to cover a dozen new hires, distributed across 9 departments. It is recognized that cut backs will likely prevent this component from being funded. A copy of the draft budget for the TAMIN proposal, and accompanying text, is attached (Attachments F and G). The development of the TAMIN proposal provided us with an opportunity to address other pressing issues. For example, it helped “define a presence for neuroscience at A&M” (item 2). It also helped us to build a strong faculty (item 4) and to develop faculty links/collaboration (item 3). The latter was addressed through the development of “Areas of Concentration” that were used to highlight research strengths in Neuroscience at TAMU/TAMHSC (Attachment H). Finally, in developing and implementing the proposal we are having an opportunity to learn from other programs (item 7). Recognizing our progress, the VPR asked that we provide an overview of program operations during an initial meeting (September, 2009) of the white paper finalists, suggesting that Neuroscience provides a model of how one successful program is currently operating. 4 While the white paper process focused on TAMU, we have continued to develop our ties with the HSC and it will remain a key component. In developing the budget for TAMIN, the HSC and College of Medicine, will be contributing to graduate training and program administration in a proportionate manner. In addition, the submission of the proposal to establish the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience (now under review in the Provost’s Office) to the Board of Regents will come from both system components. The only remaining item from our list of plans concerned the development of our undergraduate program (Item 5). Over this last year, the number of minors in NRSC has quadrupled to 80. Recognizing the rapid growth, and the need to foster the development of an undergraduate major in NRSC, an ad hoc Undergraduate Curriculum Committee was formed. In the late fall, a request will be submitted to the full faculty to have this committee made a regular standing committee with representation on the EC (which requires a change in the Policies). The development of our joint program in Neuroscience, and issues arising from our continued growth, necessitated some changes in our Policies. These include: 1) Reference both TAMU and TAMHSC to recognize that the program is jointly administered. 2) II.F.: Add language to institute formal procedures to recognize faculty contributions. 3) III.C.: Add the office of Secretary to assist in the maintenance of records. 4) III.D.: Add the President of the local chapter of the Society for Neuroscience to the Executive Committee. st st5) III.E.: Change the date terms begin from January 1 to September 1 (and the corresponding time at which elections occur). 6) III.E.: Add language to prevent the Chair from concurrently holding a position as department head, dean, or other higher-level administrative office. 7) III.F.: Clarify that a quorum is based on the active membership and that only active members are eligible to receive Faculty of Neuroscience resources. 8) III.G.1.f.: Clarify the procedures used to request information from the faculty for the Annual Report and annual review. 9) III.G.1.g: Institute a procedure for removing members that no longer participate. 10) III.G.3.f.: Specify that the Chair of the Graduate Program Committee will serve as the Graduate Advisor. These changes were reviewed, and approved, in January of 2009 (Attachment I). During the last academic year, we continued the weekly seminar series that featured neuroscientists from across the nation. We also held a symposium that featured short presentations by senior trainees and 3 outside speakers. The event, which was held at Messina stHof in May 1 , was very well attended and received. Finally, a group of outstanding undergraduates (organized by Dr. Jen Bizon) competed again in the Neuroscience Brainbowl held in San Antonio, finishing second in the competition. 5 The success of the program over the last year will define our priorities in 2009-2010. These include: 1) Implement the Ph.D. program. 2) Implement the TAMIN proposal. 3) Develop an undergraduate major in NRSC. Addressing item 1 requires the development of effective funding mechanisms, an issue that is being addressed by our Graduate Support Committee and the funding of the TAMIN proposal. In addition, the Curriculum Committee (Chaired by Dr. Jennifer Bizon, who also serves as the Graduate Advisor) is reviewing the recommended list of courses and initiating the paperwork to have relevant courses listed with a NRSC prefix. In collaboration with the Office of Graduate Studies, and the Dean of Graduate Studies, procedures have been developed to allow students to enroll in courses offered in a different system component (without incurring an extra cost or losing tuition remission). Finally, procedures are being developed to review materials from students wishing to transfer into the program and recruit new students in the Spring of 2010. As part of this process, we are updating our web site. Implementation of the TAMIN proposal is also a multilayered task. At the moment, we are continuing to negotiate the details of our budget and how costs will be distributed over the next 5-7 years (Attachment F and G). Once that process is completed, we hope to move forward with the recruitment of 3 senior faculty, one each in biology, psychology, and VIBS. The last item, the development of the undergraduate major is being addressed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. By August of 2010, we hope to double the number of minors in NRSC. We also hope to submit a proposal for a major in NRSC in the Fall of 2010. Membership As of the spring 2009, the Faculty of Neuroscience includes 73 regular members, from 9 colleges and 20 departments (Attachment K and L). In addition, we have 4 adjunct members at TAMU Corpus Christi and Kingsville. The loss of 7 members, who moved or retired, was offset by the addition of 12 new members in 2008/2009 (a 7% increase): Arum Han (Electrical & Computer Eng.) Brian Porter (Pathobiology) Carnel Morgan (Nutrition and Food Sciences) Charles Shea (Health/Kinesiology) Gil Rosenthal (Biology) Jack McMahan (Biology) Lisa Geraci (Psyc) Michelle Hook (Psyc) Rachel Hull (Psyc) Samba Reddy (NExT) Spencer Behmer (Entomology) Vladislav Panin (BioBio) 6 The faculty supervise 73 graduate students (Attachment M) and work with 22 postdoctoral trainees. Funding and Expenditures We began the last fiscal year with $51,988. Because the program is generally not funded till well into the fall semester, we depend on these carry-over funds to cover the costs of the seminar series and travel awards in the fall semester. Colleges contributed to the Faculty of Neuroscience in a proportionate manner during the last fiscal year, at a level of approximately $1,000/faculty member. Net deposits were as follows: Agri. & Life Sci. $4,000 Architecture $1,000 Education $3,000 Medince/HSC $10,000 Liberal Arts/Psyc $12,000 Veterinary Med. $5,000 Science $10,000 VPR $15,000 Total: $60,000 Expenditures exceeded contributions by $8,436. Costs were as follows: Program Admin. $8,788 Admin. Suppl. $6,948 Travel to ANDP $1,401 Awards $200 Seminar Series $26,967 Symposium $4,896 TAMIN Proposal $738 Travel Awards $17,700 Web Maint. $798 Total: $68,436 The net cost for the symposium was $9,449. The remaining costs were covered through funds obtained from the Society for Neuroscience ($1,200), and contributions from the Women’s Health Network ($599), Montague ($982), participating colleges ($1,500), the Shelton Professorship ($1,179) and other donations ($296). The carry-over to the current year is $38,952, which is again being used to fund the Student Travel Awards to the Society for Neuroscience in October and the seminar series in the fall semester. 7 Service The Faculty of Neuroscience provide a number of key services, enhancing education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, fostering communication across research units, and the development of collaborative relations to enhance publication and grant success. Weekly colloquia bring faculty together to share ideas. Graduate training is enhanced through laboratory rotations in other departments, allowing students to learn a wide-range of techniques. Undergraduate education is enhanced through the Neuroscience minor and the promotion of undergraduate research opportunities. Collaboration across departments has enhanced grant success by allowing researchers to address a problem area at multiple levels of analysis, from cellular to behavioral outcome. Research Funding A summary of current grants is attached (see Attachment N). Including the T32 training grant, net grant activity (direct plus indirect) is just over $50 million, a 20% increase from the annual report submitted in 2008. 8 Attachments A

 External
Review
Committee
Report
(October,
2008)

 Prepared
by:
 Dr.
Rebecca
D.
Burwell,
Brown
University
 Dr.
Cedric
L.
Williams,
University
of
Virginia
 Dr.
Michael
J.
Zigmond,
University
of
Pittsburgh
 B


 FNS
Response
to
the
External
Review
(December,
2008;
incl.
budget
notes)
 C

 Budget
approved
with
the
submission
of
the
Ph.D.
proposal
 D

 Program
Approval
Request
from
Drs.
Murano
and
Dickey
(December,
2008)
 E


 Texas
A&M
Institute
for
Neuroscience
white
paper
 F


 Draft
plans
for
TAMIN
 G


 Draft
budget
for
TAMIN
 H


 Areas
of
Concentration
 I

 Revised
Policies
 J
 Seminar
speakers
 K
 Membership
 L

 One
page
CV’s
 M

 Current
graduate
students
 N


 Current
Grant
Support
 
 9 ATTACHMENT
A:
External
Review
Committee
Report
(October,
2008)
 
 Prepared
by:
 Dr.
Rebecca
D.
Burwell,
Brown
University
 Dr.
Cedric
L.
Williams,
University
of
Virginia
 Dr.
Michael
J.
Zigmond,
University
of
Pittsburgh