LANGUAGE PLASTICITY: GENES, BRAIN, COGNITION, COMPUTATION
NSF-IGERT Ph.D. Fellowships at the University of Connecticut
Website: http://igert.cogsci.uconn.edu; Brochure; Flier
We are pleased to announce a new graduate training program at the University of Connecticut, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. We will admit 27 IGERT Fellows over the next 4 years. IGERT Fellows receive five years of full funding, including two years of NSF IGERT stipend ($30,000 per year) and three years at normal departmental levels. Trainees enter through any of 7 Ph.D. programs: Linguistics; Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences; Physiology & Neurobiology; and 4 programs in Psychology: Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, Developmental, and Language & Cognition. (Note that NSF stipends are available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, but others can apply to the program and can receive full funding at standard departmental levels.) Trainees complete normal home department specialist training, but also a common core of "Foundations" courses that provide them background in the fundamental ideas, methods, and terminology in each participating domain sufficient to allow them to work in collaborative, interdisciplinary teams. Course-based work is integrated with hands-on training and access to cutting edge tools for neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, genetics, and computational modeling.
Why are we bringing together these areas in our training program? Unifying cognitive and biological approaches will allow language development, processing, and disorders (acquired and developmental) throughout the lifespan to be studied in the context of complex, dynamic interactions of genes, environment, neurobiology, cognition, and culture, affording new insights into the nature of language. Today, cognitive and biological fields are weakly linked. Cognitive domains coupled with Behavior Genetics provide correlational clues to possible genetic bases for language disorders; causality can begin to be assessed with true experiments with gene knock-out or knock-down animal models using methods of Behavioral and Molecular Neuroscience and Genetics (focusing on sensory and cognitive traits associated with language). Currently, such research focuses primarily on language disorders, and there is little transfer back from biological to cognitive domains. Our training program prepares a new generation of scientists not just to accelerate transfer between cognitive and biological domains, but to unify them, and realize the potential for biological approaches to inform not just the bases of disorders, but the bases of mechanisms supporting language plasticity and cognitive and computational theories of language development and processing more generally.
OPPORTUNITIES. In addition to NSF Fellowships, funds are available to support research costs, international internships with partners in Europe and Asia, and trainees have access to leading scientists and state-of-the-art laboratories.
DIVERSITY. We share NSF's mission to increase participation in science by underrepresented groups. UConn and our IGERT provide mentoring and support systems for all Ph.D. students, with particular attention to the concerns of underrepresented groups. Women, minorities, and Deaf individuals are especially encouraged to apply.
APPLY! To be considered for our IGERT training program, see our website (http://igert.cogsci.uconn.edu) for application details. NSF Fellowships are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, but others may join the program as IGERT Associates, funded by normal departmental mechanisms. Departmental application deadlines vary between December 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013.
James Magnuson, PI, Perception, Action, Cognition; Haskins Labs
Holly R. Fitch, Co-PI, Behavioral Neuroscience
Ken Pugh, Co-PI, Perception, Action, Cognition; Haskins Labs
Heather Bortfeld, Developmental; Haskins Labs
Marie Coppola, Developmental; joint appointment in Linguistics
Inge-Marie Eigsti, Clinical; Haskins Labs
Deborah Fein, Clinical
Joseph LoTurco, Physiology & Neurobiology; Behavioral Neuroscience
Letitia Naigles, Developmental
Heather Read, Behavioral Neuroscience
Jay Rueckl, Perception, Action, Cognition; Haskins Labs
Whitney Tabor, Perception, Action, Cognition; Haskins Labs
William Snyder, Co-PI
Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences
Carl Coelho, Co-PI
Emily Myers; Haskins Labs; joint appointment in Perception, Action, Cognition
Haskins Labs / Yale Child Study Center