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The Graduate Program in Neuroscience offers interdisciplinary biomedical research training leading to the Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. degree.

The field of neuroscience is expanding  nationwide, as more research centers and academic institutions recognize this diverse field's wide applicability and significant  contributions to biomedical knowledge. The WVU Neuroscience Program is  positioned to play a key role in the progress of this field.

Reflecting  the nature of contemporary neuroscience, we are an interdisciplinary graduate program comprised of faculty from basic science and clinical departments. Several of our faculty are also members of the Interdisciplinary Center for Neuroscience, the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, the Sensory Neuroscience Research Center, and the Center for Advanced Imaging.  This interdisciplinary environment affords our faculty and students  prime access to the resources needed to conduct world-class  neuroscience research.

We strive to ensure that you will gain expertise in your principal research field and broad  familiarity with neuroscience as a whole. Coursework is customized to  your background and research interests. You are exposed to neuroscience at the molecular, cellular, system, and organism levels through courses, research rotations, workshops, seminars, and journal clubs.

Current research areas include:
Sensory Neuroscience

  • Mechanisms of auditory and visual system development
  • Inhibitory neural circuits in the brain stem and cortex
  • Synaptic development of thalamocortical circuits
  • Molecular genetic control of retinal development and neural patterning
  • G-protein-mediated signal transduction in vertebrate photoreceptors
  • Olfactory signal processing in the brain
  • Post-translational modification of proteins and protein assembly

Cognitive Neuroscience  

  • Sound recognition, spatial hearing and sensory integration using fMRI    
  • Neural basis of vision in health and disease     
  • Advanced imaging studies of visual and auditory signal processing and cognition
  • Use-dependent plasticity in motor cortex after stroke
  • Neurogenic communication disorders

Neural Injury

  • Blood flow changes during stroke or after brain trauma
  • Drug and toxicant effects on gene expression in the brain
  • Role of neuroinflammation in CNS pathologies


  • Airway innervation and asthma    
  • Structural and functional changes in the hypothalamus of seasonal breeders     
  • Neurobiological pathways controlling food intake and obesity    
  • Plasticity in the amygdala

Behavioral Neuroscience     

  • Neurochemical and neuroanatomical basis of behavior     
  • Learning and memory     
  • Mechanisms of action of psychotherapeutic drugs     
  • Neural control of hormone function     
  • Organizing principles of complex behaviors  

Diseases studied include:     

  • Alzheimer’s and related dementias     
  • Anxiety and stress-related  disorders     
  • Asthma     
  • Blindness 
  • Deafness
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Obesity and eating disorders
  • Stroke and related cerebrovascular events  

Richard D. Dey, Ph.D., Program Director

(304) 293-5979
Faculty Research Profile