Society for Neuroscience names CMU’s neuroscience undergraduate program top in nation

Program lauded as example for other universities to follow
2013 Undergraduate Program of the Year

Central Michigan University’s undergraduate neuroscience program has been selected as the 2013 Undergraduate Program of the Year by the Society for Neuroscience, the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of a neuroscience department or program for excellence in educating neuroscientists and providing an innovative model other programs can follow. The award was presented at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting on Nov. 10 in San Diego.

CMU’s undergraduate program is very deserving of this award, says Gary Dunbar, director of the neuroscience program.

“This award speaks highly of our program,” said Dunbar.  “Our collective efforts of more than 30 years have been recognized by the international neuroscience community.”

Award recipients are selected for excellence in teaching and positively influencing the lives and careers of their students.

Dunbar works with a team of approximately 50 undergraduate and graduate students every year in CMU’s neuroscience research program. Many of Dunbar’s students receive state and national recognition for their work in the field.

“Research is a critical part of the education we provide, and a lot of young students in our program take advantage of it,” Dunbar said. “I think that’s what we offer that undergraduates can’t get as readily at other major research universities. We’re very proud of integrating students into research.”

In the last five years, CMU students have won nine out of 10 of the awards given to Michigan’s outstanding undergraduate neuroscientists from the Society for Neuroscience. Earlier this year, CMU graduate student Kyle Fink from Lovell, Wyo., received the prestigious Founders Award from the society’s Michigan chapter.

Dunbar and his research team are involved in a new study poised to help reduce cognitive deficits after a stroke. He believes their research may promote recovery from brain damage caused by stroke, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. 

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