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Training Opportunities

The leadership and faculty of the Duncan NRI are dedicated to provide excellent training to graduate students and postdoctoral trainees in the basic mechanisms of brain development and particularly the application of this knowledge in furthering an understanding of disorders of the developing nervous system. To this end, the following training opportunities have been created -

Multidisciplinary Training in Brain Disorders and Development -

This is an interdepartmental National Institutes of Health-funded program administered by the Baylor College of Medicine whose goal is to provide multidisciplinary postdoctoral-level training and career development to basic scientists and physicians who are interested in the study of neurological disorders in children.

Dr. Roy Sillitoe is the training program Director responsible for the day-to-day operations of the program and Dr. Huda Zoghbi is the Co-director. This program has been continuously funded by the NIH for the past 20 years and has supported 53 post-doctoral fellows who have already made significant progress in their career goals. Many of our trainees have gone on to establish their own research programs.

The program consists of three training tracks. The first track is for MD/PhDs and MDs with substantial research experience. The second track is for MDs who have less research experience. This track has more formal research training and includes laboratory rotations and graduate courses. PhDs receive substantial training in the clinical aspects of neurodevelopmental disorders through dinner discussions, clinical conferences, and subspecialty clinics. The major areas of training include research in the genetic and molecular basis of neurodevelopmental disorders, including, but not limited to Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and autism, and the molecular basis of inherited and acquired epilepsies.

In addition, this training program also focuses on improving the culture of quantitative literacy and statistical rigor among our trainees by providing various opportunities to learn the quantitative aspects of experimentation, statistical analysis, and coding to analyze large datasets.

Mentors for this training program are research and clinical faculty selected from various departments at the Baylor College of Medicine. The labs of participating faculty mentors employ cutting-edge biotechnology to create and study relevant animal models of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases to understand their biological basis as well as to identify potential new therapies that could lead to clinical trials and eventually become standard clinical practice.

Dr. Genevera Allen
Dr. Jamie Anastas
Dr. Anne Anderson
Dr. Benjamin Arenkiel
Dr. Hugo Bellen
Dr. Juan Botas
Dr. Hsiao Tuan Chao
Dr. Jeannie Chin
Dr. Edward Cooper
Dr. Benjamin Deneen
Dr. David Dickman
Dr. Andrews Groves
Dr. Jafar-Nejad Hamed
Dr. Joanna Jankowsky
Dr. Xiaolong Jiang
Dr. Hyun Kyoung Lee
Dr. Hongjie Li
Dr. Olivier Lichtarge
Dr. James Lupski
Dr. Jeffrey Magee
Dr. Mirjana Maletic-Savatic
Dr. Kara Marshall
Dr. Matthew McGinley
Dr. Javier Medina
Dr. David Nelson
Dr. Jeffrey Noebels
Dr. Matthew Rasband
Dr. Ray Russell
Dr. Rodney Samaco
Dr. Joshua Shulman
Dr. Roy Sillitoe
Dr. Melanie Samuel
Dr. John Swann
Dr. Andreas Tolias
Dr. Kimberly Tolias
Dr. Ignatia Van Den Veyver
Dr. Mingshan Xue
Dr. Damian Young
Dr. Hui Zheng
Dr. Huda Zoghbi

Dr. Sirena Soriano
Dr. Elizabeth Hanson
Dr. Sameer Bajikar
Dr. Davut Pehlivan
Dr. Joseph McInnes
Dr. Melissa McGovern
Dr. Lindsey Goodman
Dr. Scott Barish
Dr. George Edwards III
Dr. Jason Gill
Dr. Matthew Moulton
Dr. Macarena Aloi
Dr. Daniel Calame
Dr. Ryan Dhindsa
Dr. Luis Martinez

Potential applicants should contact one or more members of our training faculty listed above to gauge their interest in having you join their lab. The mentor will explain the application process. Applications are accepted in Fall (mid-September) and Spring (mid-March). The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

One of the primary goals of this program is to enhance the representation of women and minorities in our neuroscience laboratories andtoestablish a culture of inclusiveness and we strongly encourage women and minority scientists and physicians to apply for this program.

For any questions regarding this program, please contact Dr. Roy Sillitoe (

NRI Seminar Series -

This is a monthly seminar series organized by Drs. Hyun Kyoung Lee and Mingshan Xue. The goal of this formal seminar series is to train advanced graduate students or postdoctoral trainees to present their research in front of a diverse audience. The speakers are nominated and introduced by their Duncan NRI faculty mentors. The scientific presentations also offer an excellent networking opportunity for faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows to interact with one another and have led to many fruitful scientific collaborations.

Developmental Brain Disorders Dinners -

Another training opportunity for postdoctoral fellows at the Duncan NRI and for the Child Neurology residents and fellows training at Texas Children's Hospital is the Developmental Brain Disorders Dinners organized by Dr. Roy Sillitoe. The purpose of these meetings is to foster discussion and exchange of information between clinicians and scientists who are interested in developmental brain disorders. They offer faculty from various basic sciences and clinical departments at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital a platform to discuss the scientific and clinical challenges of specific developmental brain disorder or cutting-edge technologies.

Two or more discussion leaders, typically faculty of Baylor College of Medicine or Texas Children's Hospital, lead an informal discussion. Usually, a clinician begins the presentation by briefly describing the clinical features of the disorder. Then a research scientist reviews what is known about cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the condition. To promote an active and dynamic discussion among all the attendees, formal slide presentations are not used. Instead, the discussion leaders often use a whiteboard to clarify key points.

Through these discussions, scientists learn more about clinical challenges faced by neurologists who treat childhood neurological disorders while clinicians are brought up-to-date on the most recent scientific discoveries and new cutting-edge technologies. By bringing together clinicians and basic scientists from various disciplines, these seminars have led to several cross-disciplinary collaborations.