Minds that Matter

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Malcolm Moses-Hampton ’12 serves this year as a research technician in the neuroscience lab.

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By Anna Prushinski

The Neuroscience concentration is celebrating 20 years at Davidson college. By combining courses in biology, philosophy, psychology, chemistry, and mathematics, the neuroscience concentration has grown in size and reputation.

Beginning in 1991, Davidson’s Dickson Professor of Psychology Julio Ramirez hit the ground running by the establishing Faculty for undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN). FUN gathers faculty from peer institutions to share and discuss information from inside their classrooms and labs, creating blueprints for undergraduate programs.

As an interdisciplinary study, neuroscience allows students to dig deeper and address complex problems via independent studies that are of personal interest.

“Davidson is a magnet for great students and the neuroscience program has only benefited from this,” says Ramirez.

Associate Professor and chair of Biology Barbara Lom adds that due to Davidson’s highly selective admission process, students are ready for “intense, demanding research along with a rigorous academic workload.”

A visit to Davidson’s neuroscience student work Web page shows just how creative and intense these studies can be. Topics include Huntington’s disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome to headaches, and multiple sclerosis.

But not all time is spent in a lab or writing papers. Two years ago, the Neuroscience club was founded. Members participate in a variety of activities, including volunteering at Hinds’ Feet Farm, founded by the family of Marty Foil ’85. the Hinds’ program provides post-rehabilitative care to those with traumatic brain injury.

Many neuroscience concentrators go on to advance in the field. At the annual society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., Davidson typically has 20 to 30 alumni in attendance. Attendees compete for National science Foundation grants and fellowships.

As long as students with desire, ability, drive, and curiosity continue to focus on neuroscience, the concentration will certainly continue to grow and to celebrate many more anniversaries.

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