Related Majors & Minors: Biology and Psychology
Program Director: James D. Rowan, Professor of Psychology
The neuroscience program allow students to explore the nervous system and its contributions to human and animal behavior. Students in this program are encouraged to attain a solid understanding of the underlying concepts, to develop skills in experimental design and data analysis, to approach problems and tasks logically, creatively and critically, to become knowledgeable of theory used in the current literature, and to become proficient in using methodology commonly employed in research in neuroscience.
This program takes an interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience and integrates information from both biology and psychology. The neuroscience major or minor coupled with a major in biology or psychology provides an excellent background to pursue varied career opportunities. For information about specific courses offered, please see our Academic Catalogue.
Nearly 25 percent of graduates at Wesleyan double-major. Most students who minor in neuroscience complete a primary major in Biology, Chemistry, or Psychology. Training in biophysics is possible as part of the minor in Physics. Training in bioengineering is possible as part of the Applied Mathematical Science and Dual Degree in Engineering programs.
The Wesleyan College Neuroscience Program is a participating member of the national Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs (ANDP) and Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN).
Over the last fifteen years, the Biology and Psychology Departments have acquired more than $800,000 in new instrumentation through federal grants and college expenditures. Of this amount, approximately $250,000 has been used to acquire specialized instrumentation for neuroscience education and student research. This modern instrumentation includes nine computer-controlled electrophysiological recording stations for intracellular and extracellular neural recording as well as multimodal physiological recording, micromanipulation and microinjection systems, two glass microelectrode pullers, a multichannel system for computerized spike-train extraction and analysis, ten rodent behavioral conditioning and monitoring stations interfaced to central stimulus presentation/data collection computers, and two stereotaxic stations for rodent surgery and electrode positioning.
Additional equipment applicable to neuroscience includes complete facilities for sterile tissue culture, phase-contrast and UV-fluorescence microscopy, digital video image analysis, protein and nucleic acid analysis, gas chromatograpy, UV/visible light and IR spectrophotometry, and a multi-species vivarium.
The Wesleyan College Arboretum and Wildlife Sanctuary includes a biologically diverse one hundred-acre wooded tract and five-acre lake bordering the campus. It provides potential field study sites for neuroethological research projects.
Scholarships and Awards
Neuroscience students at Wesleyan may be supported by federal, state, and college scholarships, grants, and loans, as well as work-study monies administered by the Financial Aid Office.
The Wesleyan Scholars program supports academic scholarships awarded to student chosen by their regional high schools or college preparatory schools.
The Munroe Scholarship Program supports special academic scholarships awarded by the college on a competitive basis. These provide tuition support, academic year research funds, and summer research stipends to outstanding natural science and mathematics students. Two Munroe Scholars are named each year from among incoming first-year presumptive biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering students and may continue to receive this financial support for all four years of their Wesleyan careers. The Munroe Endowment also provides competitive research support grants for students who are not in the Munroe Scholar program.
The Findlay Scholarship Program also supports special academic scholarships awarded by the college on a competitive basis. These provide tuition support, academic year research funds, and summer research stipends to outstanding students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences or in Humanities.
Special opportunities for research and instruction off-campus are available through both the Biology and Psychology Departments.
The Neuroscience Program at Wesleyan was developed in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education, in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health's Department of Health and Human Services, and in part by funds from a gift by the Munroe family to the College in support of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Recent grants providing equipment in direct support of the Neuroscience Program include:
National Science Foundation
Program: CCLI - A&I
Title: "Neuroscience at an undergraduate women's college: Implementing modern methodologies at the cellular, systems, and behavioral levels."
Project Director: Barry K. Rhoades
Award Dates: 8/99-7/01
Award Amount: $34,846 (including institutional matching funds)
Title: "Introduction of enhanced technologies for the experimentally based laboratory study of animal systems."
Project Director: Ronald B. Toll
Award Dates: 9/94-8/96
Award Amount: $79,778 (including institutional matching funds)
National Institutes of Health
Title: "Research infrastructure development at Wesleyan College: Phase 2."
Project Director: James D. Rowan, III
Award Dates: 7/98 - 6/02
Award Amount: $97,200
Title: "Research infrastructure development at Wesleyan College."
Project Director: James D. Rowan, III
Award Dates: 7/96 - 6/98
Award Amount: $109,000
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Program: NASA Education Program
Title: "The Munroe Science Center: Improving physical and curricular infrastructure at Wesleyan College"
Project Directors: Keith L. Peterson, Holly L. Boettger-Tong, Barry K. Rhoades
Award Dates: 8/04-7/05
Award Amount: $981,000
Thrower Family of Georgia
Grant for updating neurobiology instrumentation
Award Date: 8/10
Award Amount: $30,800
The neuroscience program provides students with a solid foundation in the multifaceted fields of biological and behavioral sciences. It is ideal for students planning to enter post-baccalaureate programs or careers that require a broad base of scientific knowledge. Wesleyan alumnae are currently studying at the graduate level in science related areas, working in government and industry, and teaching high school or college science. Equipped with a strong liberal arts background, many graduates combine a science foundation with other unexpected academic disciplines and succeed in a wide array of professional pursuits. Of the Wesleyan science majors who graduated in the past five years, eighteen percent immediately secured work in a field related to their undergraduate degree while eighty-two percent pursued graduate or professional school.
You will find recent Wesleyan neuroscience graduates pursuing post baccalaureate degrees in science related fields at countless prestigious institutions across the world including Washington University, The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Clemson University, The University of Texas (Houston) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M, The University of Georgia, Northwestern University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Duke University School of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia Dental School, University of California Veterinary School, University of Georgia Veterinary School, and the University of the West Indies Veterinary School.
Holly L. Boettger-Tong Associate Professor of Biology and Center for Women in Science and Technology Director. B.S. (Biology) St. Louis University 1986; M.S. (Biology) University of Alabama at Birmingham 1988; Ph.D. (Biology) University of Alabama at Birmingham 1992. My lab uses both in vitro and in vivo model systems to analyze the molecular mechanisms which control female reproductive tract cellular proliferation. In addition, I am interested in the role of the retinoic acid signaling pathway as it influences early vertebrate embryo development. MSC 110. firstname.lastname@example.org
James D. Rowan Professor of Psychology. B.A. (Biology and Psychology) Malone College, 1988; M.A. (Experimental Psychology) Kent State University 1990: Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology with Biopsychology Concentration) Kent State University 1993. My area of interest is comparative cognition, more specifically, how humans and animals learn lists of information. I am also interested in the effects of early exposure to drugs on list learning in adulthood. MSC 108. email@example.com
Barry K. Rhoades Professor of Biology. B.A. (Psychology) Colorado College 1976; A.M. (Biopsychology) University of Chicago 1981; Ph.D. (Physiology) University of California at Berkeley 1990. My primary interests include physiology of the sense of smell in mammals, modeling and analyzing neural network interactions, behavioral ecology of reptiles and amphibians, and electronic and computer simulations for teaching neuroscience and animal behavior. MSC 106. firstname.lastname@example.org