Campus News

UB offers undergraduate neuroscience major

By ELLEN GOLDBAUM

Published October 16, 2019

Headshot of Derek Daniels in jacket and tie.

David Dietz, PhD, associate professor and chair of pharmacology and toxicology

“UB’s undergraduate neuroscience program takes advantage of the university’s large number of faculty with extraordinarily diverse expertise in all areas of neuroscience.”
David Dietz, PhD, Associate professor and chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Starting this semester, UB undergraduates with an interest in neuroscience can major in it.

The new program, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree, was developed as a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB and the College of Arts and Sciences. Students can also choose to minor in neuroscience.

The collaboration has resulted in a diverse curriculum that emphasizes how the central nervous system is organized, how it guides behavior and cognition, the pathophysiology of disease and the treatment of disease states.

“UB has a rich, vibrant and extensive neuroscience community,” says David M. Dietz, associate professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Jacobs School and one of the originators of the new program. “UB’s undergraduate neuroscience program takes advantage of the university’s large number of faculty with extraordinarily diverse expertise in all areas of neuroscience.

“We utilize an approach in which students will be able to understand how the brain works, and in the case of disease states, what has gone wrong,” he explains. “This clinical and disease-focused approach will offer a unique approach to undergraduate education in the neuroscience field. This is an exciting evolution in neuroscience education at UB.”

Undergraduate majors have the opportunity to learn from medical school faculty in the Jacobs School and from faculty in biology and psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, who represent all aspects of neuroscience from behavior to molecules.

Neuroscience majors also have the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of UB faculty members who study neuroanatomy, neurobiology, psychiatric and neurological diseases, or fundamental questions about the human brain, behavior and cognition.

They will also have access to prehealth advisers and opportunities to explore career fields ranging from graduate and professional degree programs to positions in research laboratories.

“We’ve always had students at UB who were interested in neuroscience,” notes Derek Daniels, professor of psychology and one of the originators of the program. “Until now, those students were forced to find their own paths by taking advantage of neuroscience-related options in other majors. We are now thrilled to offer a major specifically designed for students who want to pursue a career in neuroscience.”

Students who would like to enroll in the major or have questions about it should contact Shannon Brown.

The undergraduate neuroscience major and minor were developed by Dietz; Daniels; Fraser Sim, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the director of the graduate neuroscience program at UB; and Matthew A. Xu-Friedman, professor of biological sciences.