Welcome to the Vollum Institute/OHSU Neuroscience Graduate Program

Founded in 1992, the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU has 47 predoctoral students and more than 140 faculty in a broad range of subdisciplines. The program is intended for students planning a career in academic or industry research, but we encourage student to explore the career path that matches their ambitions and expertise. The program is particularly strong in cellular neuroscience, neuronal signaling, gene regulation, biophysics of channels and transporters, sensory systems, and neuroendocrinology with increasing strength in developmental neuroscience and disease-oriented neuroscience research. Faculty members are located within research institutes at OHSU including the Vollum Institute, the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), Oregon Hearing Research Center, Jungers Center and the Oregon Institute for Occupational Health Sciences; as well as the basic and clinical departments in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Learn More About Our Program


Borghes Merjane CoverCongratulations to NGP Alumna (2015) Carolina Borges-Merjane on her paper "ON and OFF Unipolar Brush Cells Transform Multisensory Inputs to the Auditory System" published in Neuron for this year's OHSU Award for Outstanding Journal Article by a Graduate Student.


VaagaCongratulations to NGP students, Reena Clements (photo below) and Christopher Vaaga, on their 2015 LaCroute Neurobiology of Disease Fellowships (formerly known as the OBI Fellowship). Out of 24 applications, these were the two selected by the OBI Research Committee.  Congratulations to both of you!

ClementsReena Clements, a 3rd year NGP student in Dr. Kevin Wright’s lab, was selected to participate in the OMSI Science Communication Fellowship Program. As a Fellow, Reena will participate in professional development workshops to hone her skills at communicating science to a general audience. She will also participate in OMSI’s “Meet a Scientist” program, where she will be able to share her research with museum visitors. Reena is very dedicated to science outreach and currently volunteers with middle and high school students through the Brain in the Box and OnTrack programs at OHSU. She is excited for the opportunity to share her passion for science with the broader community as an OMSI Fellow.

Robinson photoDanielle Robinson, a 5th year Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP)student, has been selected to attend OpenCon 2015 with a full travel scholarship, in Brussels, Belgium this November. Shelley Mason, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology and founder of UnpublishableScience.com, was also selected to attend. The travel award is made possible by a grant awarded to the OHSU Library, "Catalyzing a Culture of Open Science", funded by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and is part of a year-long project to support scientific communication education and Open Science advocacy.  

OpenCon is a small conference that brings scientists together with other academic professionals to discuss issues of Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Organized by the Right to Research Coalition, the conference is focused on skills development and facilitating connections with policymakers and Open Science leaders. 2015 speakers include Michael Eisen (UC Berkeley, HHMI) and Patrick Brown (Stanford), co-founders of the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

Danielle first became aware of the Open Access movement through reading Open Access publications like eLife, where NGP Program Director Gary Westbrook is a senior editor. At OpenCon, she will receive mentorship and training in critical communication and technical skills to bring back to OHSU and advance the cause of Open Science in the Pacific Northwest. Danielle is interested in bringing speakers and events to campus to help early career scientists build practical data transparency and data sharing skills, particularly critical in light oft he Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), which is sponsored by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and recently received unanimous committee approval. She is also interested in bringing workshops to campus to strengthen computer programming skills to allow researchers to take advantage of the latest open access data analysis and visualization methods.

Danielle is a PhD Candidate in the lab of Fred Robinson (no relation) where she studies the inherited peripheral neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 4B2 (CMT4B2). She is an NSF Graduate Research Program Fellow and an ARCS Scholar. She is also a founding member of the OHSU Women in Science Organization, the Science Policy Discussion Group, and the Data Science Interest Group.

ZevEinhornAn update from Zev Einhorn, Class of 2012. 

Hope all is well in lovely Portland. I wanted to give you a brief update. I completed my Ph.D. with Teresa Nicolson in November 2012 and started a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania. I switched from neuroscience to immuno-oncology for which I proposed to study how macrophages interact with invasive cells in a cancer-like model. I got a competitively funded fellowship grant from  NIH, the F32 NRSA. In my third year of the postdoc I'm about to submit my first co-first author paper and expect to have another first author paper submitted by the end of the year.

As you know the landscape for all levels of scientists has shifted and I had the privilege of talking with Dr. Bruce Alberts about how science can be reformed. Despite all the gloom and doom sentiments often expressed there are many opportunities for Ph.D.s and outstanding resources that can be easily found. One of the many clear sighted aspects of my training at OHSU was the requirement to give 2 talks a year. This pushed me to overcome my fear of speaking pretty quickly, at first at the Vollum and then later externally, and by the end I really enjoyed giving talks. As I'm applying for positions, it is essential to showcase that I have interacted with key leaders in my field, and the requirement to give talks is a great starting place. My own choice is to apply for positions as a Medical Science Liaison, or life specialist consultant, as well as scientist positions in Pharma/Biotech. Thanks for all the support over the years. I would be happy to talk with Ph.D.candidates who might want to know more about the versatility of a Ph.D. I have discovered a lot of tools and resources that can help those interested would be happy to share.