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Washington State University Factsheets

Doctor of Philosophy in Veterinary Science -Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience

Faculty working with Students: 25
Students: 0
Students receiving assistantships or scholarships: 0.00%
Priority deadline:
  • Fall December 15
Campus:
  • Pullman: Yes
Tests required:
  • 600 TOEFL Minimum score
  • 100 TOEFLI Minimum score

Degree Description:

The doctoral program in Veterinary Sciences: Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience (IPN) is a very flexible program ideally suited for those students interested in pursuing doctoral level graduate work with a faculty member in IPN but not interested in the Neuroscience program. This often includes (but is not limited to) faculty in the muscle/biomechanical group in the department. Because of the wide range of potential thesis topics, the selection of appropriate class work for an individual student’s program is left to the discretion of the student and their mentor. Classes typically include some background courses as well as graduate seminars, professional development opportunities, and a course in proposal writing and presentation.

Students in the Veterinary Sciences: Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience participate in the activities sponsored by the Integrative Programs in Biomedical Sciences (iPBS). All programs that participate in iPBS have a common core curriculum in the first semester (rotations, professional development, and classes in scientific reasoning and quantitative analysis). After completion of the first semester of study, students have the option to change programs and complete their degree in anyone of the participating programs. Participating programs include Neuroscience, Molecular Bioscience, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, and Combined Residency PhD Programs (Anatomic Pathology and Clinical Microbiology).

Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, CVM and the Graduate School are committed to providing equal opportunity in its services, programs, and employment for individuals with disabilities. Academically qualified students with disabilities are provided with access to the individualized assistance that is consistent with the student’s needs and the essential requirements of the program or course of study in which the student is enrolled. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability.

Admission Requirements:

Students wishing to pursue a PhD in Veterinary Sciences: Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience need to have a strong math and science background with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (a Master’s degree is not required). Applicants need to submit an application on the WSU Graduate School website to be considered. Application documents must include: college transcripts (unofficial acceptable for initial review–upon admittance official transcripts are required), three (3) letters of reference, a resume or curriculum vita, a personal statement describing why you are interested in studying your chosen area of interest (clearly define which faculty mentor (minimum of 3) you are interested in working with and explain why. If admitted to WSU you will have the ability to refine your choice of faculty mentors while doing lab rotations), a writing sample (3-5 pages in length on scientific subject matter. It could be a senior research project or a sole author science-based published paper), and official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (WSU code 4705). Include the % below as well as the raw score. Unique to the Veterinary Sciences: Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience Program is that students should contact the members of the IPN department that they may be interested in working with. Because of the limited number of laboratory slots, it is important that students have identified someone they may wish to work with prior to review of admissions documents. Students are permitted to do rotations and may select to change laboratories after admissions. Application review begins December 15th each year. Only complete applications with all accompanying documents will be reviewed. Applications are reviewed until all available slots are filled.

Student Learning Outcome:

All graduates will be able to:

    1.  To enable students to develop as successful professionals for highly competitive positions in academia, industry, and government, the program aims to provide a variety of  experiences that help students to:
        1.  Develop expertise in appropriate concepts, theories, and emerging methodologies in neurobiology to fully understand how the brain and nervous system functions  through studies ranging from the molecular (small molecules, peptides, proteins, and other molecules important to the function of the nervous system), through the  cellular (especially neuronal and glial cells), to the systems level (neural regulation of key physiological processes).
        2.  Present research to local, regional, national, and international audiences through publications in professional journals and conference papers given in a range of  venues, from graduate seminars to professional meetings.
        3.  Participate in professional organizations, becoming members, attending meetings, and, where appropriate, taking leadership roles.
        4.  Broaden their professional foundations through activities such as teaching, outreach, fellowships, and grant applications.
    2.  To prepare students to be effective researchers in the field of neurobiology, the program aims to provide a variety of experiences that help students to:
        1.  Become independent, self-motivated researchers with the ability to recognize problems in their field of expertise and formulate solutions to the problems.
        2.  Develop comprehensive knowledge of previous and current research in their field of expertise and be able to demonstrate that knowledge capability in a review of  the literature.
        3.  Generate viable questions within their field of expertise and pose problems or hypotheses related to those questions.
        4.  Apply sound research methods to problems in neuroscience and describe the methods effectively.
        5.  Perform statistical analyses of research data and present the results in a way that makes clear sense of the data.
        6.  Discuss the solution to the research problem or the support or lack of support for the hypothesis in a way that effectively documents the contribution of the  research to the area of study.
        7.  Communicate their research clearly and professionally in both written and oral forms appropriate to the field.
    3.  To enhance visibility of the doctoral program in neuroscience nationally and internationally.
        1.  Attract, secure, and retain high-quality students.
        2.  Enhance doctoral education by creating advanced courses, providing more support – resources for fellowships, research, travel to conferences, etc. – for doctoral  students, and providing effective mentoring that encourages students to graduate in a timely manner.
          Place graduates in positions in academics and industry.
        3.  Attract, retain and support a nationally recognized research-active faculty.

Student Opportunities:

In addition to developing expertise in several advanced technical approaches used in biomedical research, students are also trained in the process of scientific research from experimental design, to statistical analysis, to writing both research manuscripts and proposals. Further, students will have opportunities to engage in teaching both in the laboratory and classroom setting. Finally, students will be exposed to a professional development series administered through iPBS that cover not only research ethics and exploration of multiple career pathways, but also focuses on additional leadership skills that are important for success in any professional field.

Career Opportunities:

Graduates can enter a variety of careers that utilize a deep understanding of the scientific process in general, and biomedical sciences in specific. Such options include basic research in a government, academic, or industry lab, participation in clinical development of therapeutic devices and drugs, business opportunities in the biotech industry, as well as a background for further work in medicine, law, journalism, or teaching.

Career Placements:

Most graduates from the Veterinary Sciences: Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience program accept post-doctoral research positions, often in some of the most renowned and high profile labs and institutions in the world.

Faculty Members:

Brown, R Lane, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Chandra, Murali, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Regulation of the contractile machinery of heart muscle cells, and how myofilament remodeling is linked to pathogenesis of heart diseases.

Davis, Jon Franklin, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Focused on detailing the impact of feeding peptides on cellular, neurochemical and behavioral processes that contribute to addictive behavior(s).

Dong, Wenji, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Cardiac Muscle Biology and Mechanics, Protein Chemistry and Engineering, Fluorescence Techniques, Computer Modeling, Nanoscale Biosensor Design and Engineering

Fuchs, Rita A, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Addiction/Drugs of Abuse, Diseases of the Brain, Neuropharmacology

Gizerian, Samantha, Ph.D.

Serves as: member only on graduate committee

Research Interests

The goal of my research is to look at discrete changes in the environment (both internal and external) during brain development and evaluate their relevance to altered structural and functional outcome, such as in mental illness, autism, or developmental delay.

Harding, Joseph W, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Develop peptide- and peptidomimetic-pharmaceuticals for the treatment of dementia, cancer, and deficits in wound healing.

Ingermann, Barbara Sorg, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

The main projects in my lab focus on how to prevent relapse to cocaine in rats. Other studies focus on using these same models of drug addiction, exploring the underlying role of circadian rhythms in relapse.

Publishes under Barbara Sorg

Jansen, Heiko, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Research focuses on the role of biological rhythms in the expression of motivated behaviors, endocrine physiology and metabolism.

Karatsoreos, Ilia, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Biological rhythms, gonadal hormones, and neural plasticity.

Krueger, James, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Biochemical regulation of sleep, sleep and inflammation, sleep function, brain organization of sleep.

Lin, David, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Integrated mechanical properties of skeletal muscle and spinal reflexes. Multiscale modeling of muscle contractile properties.

McLaughlin, Ryan, PhD

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

We employ a systems-level neuroanatomical approach to understand the effects of exogenous and endogenous cannabinoids on stress, emotional behavior, and cognitive functioning, and the extent to which this is altered following exposure to chronic stress, alcohol, and/or other drugs of abuse.

Peters, James Henry, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Research investigates the peripheral and central neurocircuitry that provides critical controls of food intake and energy homeostasis.

Ritter, Robert C, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Neural mechanisms that control food intake and body weight.

Ritter, W. Sue, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Neural and endocrine mechanisms controlling food intake and energy homeostasis

Rossi, David, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Addiction/Drugs of Abuse, Electrophysiology, Diseases of the Brain, Developmental Neurobiology, Neural/Synaptic Plasticity

Simasko, Steve, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Research focus 1) molecular mechanisms by which nutrient relevant signals activate vagal afferent nerves that innervate the gastrointestinal track, and 2) investigating the neuronal basis by which chronic alcohol exposure leads to disruptions of circadian rhythms and sleep quality in a rodent model.

Slinker, Bryan Keith, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Sprunger, Leslie Karen, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Tanner, Bertrand, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Research focus on normal, mutated, and diseased proteins that influence muscle contraction and relaxation dynamics. We often integrate mathematical modeling, computational simulations, biochemical assays, and biophysical system-analysis to investigate complex network behavior among muscle proteins.

Varnum, Michael, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Research focus is to investigate the molecular mechanisms of ion channels that are directly activated by intracellular cyclic nucleotides.

Vasavada, Anita, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Biomechanics and neural control of the musculoskeletal system, focusing on the human head and neck system.

Wayman, Gary Allen, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular and cellular mechanism by which synaptic activity and neurotrophic factors influence neuronal development.

Wayman, Suzanne Appleyard, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Research in the field of energy homeostasis, using both mouse genetic and electrophysiological approaches. Other areas of interest are behavioral techniques to investigate food intake and related behaviors.

Publishes under Suzanne Appleyard

Contact Information:

Becky Morton
Pullman, WA 99164-7620
509-335-6624