Applying to Our Program


Our training program focuses on the interface of behavior and biological mechanisms. The broad spectrum of research expertise in genetic, cellular, molecular and systems neuroscience complements our expertise in behavioral neuroscience and provides our students with a unique environment to pursue their graduate training. We integrate our diverse interests through the highly collaborative structure and collegiality of our program.

Apply to our program

The deadline for applications for Fall 2024 admission is December 1, 2023.

We have one application period per year. For an interview opportunity, you should hear from us by early January 2024. Please contact us (, if you would like to check on the status of your application

Please review the policies on OHSU's Graduate Studies Admissions website prior to beginning the application process. The application opens on September 1, 2023. 

General Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an accredited college or university with an appropriate educational background in behavioral and biological sciences. Relevant coursework includes biochemistry, organic chemistry, physiology, neuroscience, anatomy, psychology, statistics, and computer programming. Applicants are encouraged to have completed at least two semesters/terms of chemistry prior to submittal of their application to our program.
  • Cumulative Grade Point (GPA) average of at least 3.0 (based on a letter grading system of A = 4 points; B = 3; C = 2; D = 1; F = 0) or its equivalent in other grading systems.
  • If English is not your first language, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required.

OHSU COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

OHSU requires immunizations for its students in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from the State of Oregon. Students must comply with OHSU pre-entrance immunization requirements per Policy 03-30-150 and Policy 02-90-010, and remain in compliance for the duration of their enrollment at OHSU.

This means that all admitted students must provide proof of full COVID-19 immunization or receive an approved medical or religious exception prior to the start of the academic program. Admission into OHSU academic programs are considered conditional until proof of full vaccination is provided or a medical or religious exception is approved by OHSU. If students have not met the COVID-19 policy requirements by the first day of their academic program, their conditional offer of admission to OHSU will be withdrawn and they will be unable to take courses or start their programs of study or other academic activities.

Students admitted into non-clinical programs who have received exceptions will be required to complete COVID-19 testing as specified by OHSU and will receive additional direction related to required safety standards and practices. OHSU does not allow unvaccinated students to participate in in-person direct patient contact or in simulation activities involving in-person direct contact with standardized patients, and as such, entry into clinical programs for unvaccinated students will be prohibited.

Other Information

  • GRE scores are not required. However, if you have taken a GRE test and if the scores can help demonstrate your academic proficiency, feel free to submit your scores.
  • OHSU's Graduate Studies approves application fee waivers for applicants who are economically disadvantaged. Request a waiver by contacting before submitting your application.
  • Students admitted to our program can expect to be supported as graduate research assistants by a federally funded research training grant, by departmental funds, or by individual faculty research grants. For additional financial support information, see our PhD student stipend policy 2021-2022
  • Full List of Training Faculty

The below listed Training Faculty have indicated that they are likely to have spaces in their labs for students in the 2024-25 academic year. It is possible that additional Faculty not listed below will be in a position to take students as well. Prospective students are encouraged to contact Training Faculty directly even if not listed below to ascertain possibilities for joining their labs.

Matthew Butler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience Graduate Program
Possible Rotation Opportunities:  The Butler Lab is investigating the effects of food timing on reproduction. A potential project is to describe the effects of day- versus night-time feeding on clock gene rhythms in brain circuits that control ovulation. Other ongoing studies in the lab include partner preference and sexual behavior studies, fiber photometry of reproduction-related brain areas, and in vitro methods to visualize spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression of the brain’s clock.

Marina Guizzetti, Ph.D.
Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience Graduate Program
Possible Rotation Opportunities: Investigation of the modulation of astrocyte signaling on neuronal development. In vitro astrocyte cultures will be treated with peptides, pharmacological compounds, or transfected with specific siRNAs to knock-down certain proteins. Primary hippocampus neurons will then be incubated with the conditioned medium from control and treated astrocyte cultures. Neurite outgrowth will be then determined by immunocytochemistry and measured by the software Neurolucida Explorer.

Skyler Jackman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Vollum Institute and Behavioral Neuroscience
Assistant Scientist, Vollum Institute
Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience Graduate Program
Neuroscience Graduate Program
Possible Rotation Opportunities: My lab studies how rapid forms of synaptic plasticity affect circuit activity and cognition. We are in the process of characterizing behavioral deficits in transgenic mice with specific plasticity deficits, as well as autism and Alzheimer's mouse models. A rotation student could contribute significantly to these experiments. We also use patch-clamp electrophysiology to characterize plasticity deficits ex vivo, and are always looking for enthusiastic students who want to be trained in electrophysiology. 

Miranda M. Lim, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Neurology and Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience Graduate Program
Possible Rotation Opportunities: Rotation projects will be contingent upon the student having a VA WOC appointment, PIV badge, and approvals on the relevant IRB or IACUC protocols. Please allow at least 6 months lead time to obtain these approvals. If the student does not have VA access, rotations may be declined due to the lack of meaningful activities.**  1. NAPS study - North American Prodromal Synucleinopathy Consortium study on human REM sleep behavior (RBD) disorder – gain exposure to ongoing studies using human overnight sleep study data, neurological assessments for cognition, motor, autonomic, and sensory testing, quantitative 3T/7T MRI and Dopamine Transporter SPECT scans. Follow ongoing work in the lab using our animal models of neurotrauma, RBD, and synucleinopathy in parallel (see #2).  2. Mouse TBI/PTSD and Parkinson’s – gain exposure to ongoing experiments using a mouse model of TBI and PTSD to examine effects of neurotrauma on sleep (using chronic in vivo EEG/EMG recording) and synuclein pathology (using transgenic mice and intracranial pre-formed fibril injections).  3. GLIMPSE study – Glymphatics Imaging to probe sleep and Exchange of CSF study – gain exposure to ongoing studies using a remote sleep phenotyping package in combination with MRI-sensitive glymphatics imaging in various human populations (Veterans with TBI; older adults undergoing Tai Chi).  4. SmART-TBI study – Supplemental Amino Acid Rehabilitative Treatment in TBI study – gain exposure to an ongoing randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial using a dietary supplement to improve sleep in Veterans with TBI.   5. LION study – Light or ION Therapy to improve sleep in Veterans with TBI study – perform data analysis at the conclusion of a 5 year randomized single-blinded sham-controlled clinical trial. Gain exposure to sleep actigraphy data, quantitative pain, psychometric validated surveys, and biomarker assay data. Potential to spearhead abstract or manuscript depending on level of engagement and progress.  6.  Early life sleep disruption effects on brain development and social behavior in prairie voles – these studies do not currently have an opening for PhD students but could still gain exposure to during a rotation. 

Tianyi Mao, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Scientist, Vollum Institute and Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience Graduate Program
Neuroscience Graduate Program
M.D./Ph.D. Program Committee, School of Medicine
Possible Rotation Opportunities: 1). Investigate intracellular signaling mechanisms for opioid actions and affective pain circuits in vivo. This project takes advantage of novel in vivo imaging modalities we recently establish (Massengill, Bayless-Edwards et al., Nat Methods, 2022; Ma et al., Nature, 2022; Ma,  Jongbloets et al., Neuron, 2018) that enables longitudinal imaging of cell type specific-circuits in pain model and chronic opioids exposure.  2). Investigate how interoceptive information is integrated with external information in the mouse insular cortex. The insular cortex integrates both internal and external information to carry out diverse functions. This project is based on the new cell types we recently identified and to investigate their functional relevance in integrating internal and external needs. 

Angela R. Ozburn, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience Graduate Program
Possible Rotation Opportunities: More Information Coming

Marina Wolf, Ph.D.
Professor, Behavioral Neuroscience
Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience Graduate Program
Possible Rotation Opportunities: We are looking for someone interested in a fiber photometry project. Several possibilities exist: 1) Try sensor multiplexing with GCaMP8 and GRAB_DA in nucleus accumbens (to record Ca and DA signals simultaneously). 2) Optimize GCaMP recordings from axon terminals of excitatory neurons projecting to nucleus accumbens (nearly all work currently done in our lab and others is based on recordings from somas, so this is an exciting frontier) 3) Examine effects of cocaine infusion on dopamine signals in nucleus accumbens measured using GRAB_DA.  This is a simple project to be performed in anesthetized rats that would be a good introduction to photometry.

Contact us

General Inquiries & Information

Matt Lattal, Graduate Program Director