An effort by Rice Univ. to train the neuroengineers of the future has drawn nearly $2.8 million in support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The highly competitive Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant for the program led by bioengineer Robert Raphael with colleagues at Rice and Baylor College of Medicine will spur innovative training that spans neuroscience, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and bioengineering.
The money will primarily support graduate students learning about new technologies to study the brain, Raphael said. He expects the program will begin accepting applications next spring.
The students will participate in an innovative curriculum focused on problem-based learning and the development of online educational resources. They will be exposed to global, ethical and policy aspects of neuroengineering and will be able to apply for an internal competitive incentive fund to explore new research ideas and technologies.
Advances in electrical and optical methods to interact with the brain will help train students in three areas: cellular systems neuroengineering, which involves the study of molecular and cellular signaling; the engineering of multineuron circuits to induce specific responses in the brain; and translational neuroengineering to develop clinical devices like prosthetics and deep-brain stimulators.
The NSF’s IGERT program was established in 1997 and has funded more than 125 sites to meet the challenges of educating U.S. scientists, engineers and educators. The new grant is the third IGERT Rice has received. Earlier grants were for nanophotonics research and a program in cellular engineering.
Source: Rice Univ.