Program Objectives

The program's objective is to train students interested in the behavioral and brain sciences who seek research-based careers in behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology. The graduate training is designed to promote a comprehensive understanding of the neural bases of behavior, with an emphasis on the behavioral neurobiology of drugs of abuse.

Students are expected to gain expertise in integrative neuroscience, and learn to apply current methods of cellular and systems neuroscience to key problems of drug abuse and addiction. The program is intended to prepare students for careers in traditional academic institutions, in medical neuroscience research environments, or in pharmaceutical industry or government research settings.

Four Different Graduate Programs

There are four (4) different graduate programs in neuroscience among the three major universities in central Indiana (IUPUI, IU and Purdue). Each program has unique strengths in providing graduate neuroscience research training. The IUPUI Addiction Neuroscience program has formal and informal ties to the other three, and our students benefit enormously from the advantages of having access to training opportunities in all four programs! One of the great accomplishments of the IUPUI Addiction Neuroscience program has been our ability to expand research and academic opportunities for our students through active collaboration and cooperation with the other three neuroscience programs. Learn more about the four different Neuroscience Graduate Programs.

Mentor Model Training Process

The training process uses a mentor model in which the students work closely with individual faculty, often in collaboration with other faculty on campus. To achieve this, the number of active students is limited to about ten in a given year. Faculty expertise and program emphasis are in behavior, psychopharmacology and neurochemistry of alcohol and drugs of abuse, the genetic determinants of alcohol abuse, mechanisms of alcohol-related behavior (preference, tolerance, and dependence), and the behavioral and neurobiological consequences of developmental exposure to drugs of abuse.  Emphasis is placed on use of animal models in drug abuse research, including models of drug-seeking behavior, animal models in preclinical testing of potential pharmacotherapies of alcoholism, and animal models of fetal alcohol and fetal psychostimulant exposure. Other areas of interest include behavioral and neural plasticity in response to brain damage, the experimental analysis and neural correlates of learned behavior, and the behavioral genetics of alcoholism.