McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster's strengths in neuroscience focus of new graduate program

Published: October 26 , 2006
Kathryn Murphy (right) is director of the new graduate program in neuroscience, and Margaret Fahnestock is the associate director .

McMaster University has long been a leader in neurosciences, and a new graduate program will create an interdisciplinary, research-oriented training program.

Kathryn Murphy, professor of the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, has been appointed director of the new graduate program in neuroscience. Margaret Fahnestock, professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences has been appointed associate director.

The new interdisciplinary program is aimed at excellence in neuroscience teaching and research, and is led by the Faculties of Science and Health Sciences.

Neuroscience is a growth area of graduate study in science and engineering, as the number of PhDs awarded has grown steadily over the past 20 years.

At the same time there are more than 50 faculty members at McMaster whose primary research area falls within the discipline of neuroscience. Their home departments are in the four Faculties of Science, Health Sciences, Engineering and Social Sciences with the largest groups in the departments of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (Faculty of Science) and Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences (Faculty of Health Sciences). Additional participants will come from the departments of Biology, Biochemistry, Epidemiology, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Kinesiology, Neurology, Pathology & Molecular Medicine, and the Schools of Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science.

John Capone, dean of the Faculty of Science, said the new program will provide exceptional training and research in a field of strategic importance that is experiencing significant growth.

"It is also an excellent example of collaboration and integration of strengths across departments and Faculties. The able leadership of Kathryn Murphy and Margaret Fahnestock will guarantee success of the program."

John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, said: "This is an opportunity to bring together and network McMaster’s considerable and diverse strengths in neurosciences, to provide new opportunities for graduate students interested in the field."

Kathryn Murphy earned her PhD (Psychology) from Dalhousie University, and joined McMaster University in 1994. In addition to her position as professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, she is an associate member of the Department of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation Sciences; and a member of McMaster’s School of Biomedical Engineering; School of Computational Engineering and Science; and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research.

Her research area is in the role of environmental and genetic factors in the development of the brain; and the neural basis of visual perception.
Margaret Fahnestock earned her PhD (Biochemistry) from the University of California Berkeley, and joined McMaster University in 1991. In addition to her position as professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, she is also an associate member in the Department of Biology and a member of MOBIX.
Her research area is in the regulation of neurotrophic factor expression; and the role of neurotrophic factors in neurological disease.

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