Van Horn-1

Illustration of various tissue types of the human head and brain including skin, skull, grey matter, white matter, in addition to hemorrhage and edema associated with traumatic brain injury. (Van Horn Lab)


Transgene labeling of brainstem autonomic neurons on the fetal mouse. (Levitt Lab)


Localization of synaptogenesis transcripts in developing neurons. (Levitt Lab)

Zingg (3)

Section through mouse brain showing cell bodies and axons associated with neural tracer injections in various parts of the brain. Photo provided by NGP Student Brian Zingg.

Zingg (2)

Fluorescently labeled thalamic (red) and brainstem (green) projecting neurons in mouse auditory cortex. Photo provided by NGP Student Brian Zingg.

Shih Lab

Our recent publication shows that MAO A mediates prostate tumorigenesis and cancer. (Shih Lab)

A computer simulation displaying a map of sensory space within the brain. While maps of sensory space are ubiquitous in the brain, computer simulations can be used to study the map formation problem. In the figure, color indicates the orientation turning preference of each neuron; gray lines highlight the distortion between the physical neuron locations of the brain surface and the location of the cell’s preferred stimulus in the visual field (colored dot). Figure provided by Rishabh Jain. (Mel Lab)

A perfect image of a drosophila brain staining. Image provided by Hui Yang. (Dickman Lab)

(Neuroscience Graduate students Chien-Hua Wang-rear and Anna Kamitakahara – foreground) together with postdoc Karine Bouyer, PhD. (Simerly Lab)

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, assistant professor of psychology at USC Dornsife’s Brain and Creativity Institute, is particularly interested in social emotions that promote learning, motivation and resilience, such as compassion, admiration and inspiration. Photo by Steve Cohn.


The USC Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) is the largest and only university-wide PhD program at USC. A NIH-designated T32 Neuroscience Training Program, NGP students and faculty come from a variety of academic backgrounds to study questions spanning the spectrum of modern neuroscience research. Key questions include:

  • how do molecules work together in time and space to build functioning nerve cells?
  • how do individual neurons and their interconnections lead to the emergent properties of neural circuits?
  • how do the information processing functions of neural circuits lead to complex behaviors, memories, emotions, and thought?
  • how do disturbances in development, aging and nervous system injury lead to mental and neurological disorders, and how can we develop better therapies?

Departing from the traditional focus on individual disciplines, USC Neuroscience is characterized by collaborative interactions between faculty and students who have undergraduate or graduate degrees in biology, engineering, mathematics, computer science, psychology, neuroscience, molecular biology, behavior, cell biology, genetics and other disciplines.  They work at many different levels of analysis, including research on cell-molecular neurobiology, systems-level analysis of normal and disrupted neural circuits due to disease, neural engineering, and cognitive and computational neuroscience. In addition to our NIH Neuroscience T32 training, grant, the diversity in research is matched by our faculty also having training positions on Hearing and Communication and Stem Cell and Developmental Biology NIH T32 Training Grants. This reflects the national recognition of the excellence of the research programs of our training faculty, who seek to work with the best and brightest students in their laboratories.”

When combined with a varied curriculum, a focus on professional development, grant writing, and science communication, weekly seminars, an annual graduate student symposium, and an extremely active neuroscience graduate student forum, the USC Neuroscience Graduate Program provides a highly supportive, research-intensive training experience designed to prepare students for a variety of successful careers.

February 8, 2016

Feb 29: USC Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) is honored to be hosting Dr. Pedro Valdes-Sosa, from Havana, Cuba.

Pedro-Feb 29

Dr. Pedro Valdes-Sosa, will be our Distinguished Lecturer on Monday February 29th.  His lecture is estimated to be first time in over 50 years that a Cuban neuroscientist has visited and lectured on the University Park Campus.  As such, Dr. Valdes-Sosa’s visit is expected to be a significant event for our university.

Dr. Valdes-Sosa studied medicine at the University of Havana and graduated in 1972. He also studied Mathematics in 1973. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1978 . In 1979 he undertook his postdoctoral training on “Neurometrics and Computational Techniques” and “Biophysical Modeling of brain electrical activity” with Prof. E. Roy John at the Brain Research Lab of New York University USA. In 2011 obtained his Doctor in Science degree.


He is a senior professor of the Higher Institute for Medical Sciences, full member of the Cuban Academy of Sciences, full member of the Latin American Academy of Sciences, associate member of the International Center for Theoretical Physics. He has also been invited professor of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics of Japan, invited researcher of the Brain Science Institute of RIKEN, Japan and Honorary Professor of UCL. 2010 Head of Overseas Team of Talent Introducing Base for Neuroinformation (111 Project) China. 2011 Visiting Professor for Senior International Scientific of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  In addition, he has been Ph.D. advisor of 14 doctoral students. At present he is Distinguished Professor of Neuroinformatics of the Key Laboratory for Neuroinformation, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, and ex officio Program Chair of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping.


During his NGP lecture in the Hedco Auditorium, he will provide an overview of his research on neural signal oscillations as measured using both fMRI and electromagnetic brain imaging methods and the computational approaches needed to characterize these signals in health and in disease.  Following his NGP lecture, he will also be giving a University Lecture in the Seeley Mudd 123 Lecture Hall at 7pm on the role of science for enriching the emerging new relationship between Cuba and the United States following five decades of economic embargo and political isolation.  All interested NGP students and faculty are welcomed to attend.  Reception to follow.


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August 11, 2005

Neuroscience: A life of regret

Regret springs from a region of the brain called the medial orbitofrontal cortex, according to a study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging to analyse peoples’ response to a gamble.

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