URI launches undergraduate interdisciplinary neuroscience program, hosts inaugural class – URI News

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KINGSTON, RI – October 9, 2020 – The University of Rhode Island will celebrate the launch of its new undergraduate program in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience at Wednesday October 14 at noon with a free virtual event to officially congratulate and welcome to its inaugural class.

Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, renowned mental health advocate, will be the guest of honor at the event. URI Provost Donald H. DeHayes, URI Interdisciplinary Neuroscience (INP) Program Director Lisa Weyandt, INP faculty and undergraduates will join Kennedy.

Kennedy was the lead author of the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Act). In 2013, he founded the Kennedy Forum, a non-profit organization that brings together advocates, business leaders and government agencies to advance evidence-based practices and policies for mental health treatment and drug addiction. In 2015, Kennedy co-wrote the New York Times bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” which details a bold plan for the future of healthcare. mental in America. In 2017, he was appointed to the Presidential Commission on Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Kennedy is also the founder of DontDenyMe.org, an educational campaign that empowers consumers and providers to understand parity rights and connects them to essential appeals tips and resources; co-founder of One Mind, an organization pushing for greater global investment in brain research; co-chair of Mental Health for US, a non-partisan initiative designed to elevate mental health and substance abuse into political conversations during the 2020 election cycle; and co-chair of the Alliance for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention’s national response to COVID-19. He spoke to URI 133rd Beginning in 2019, during which he received an honorary doctorate in human letters.

“Congressman Kennedy has long been a University of Rhode Island supporter, mental health advocate and fighter to bring parity to mental health and substance abuse disorders,” Weyandt said. “As someone who, during his visit to help us launch the INP graduate program in 2011, called the brain the ‘last medical frontier,’ Congressman Kennedy understands the value of research on the brain and advocated for increased funding for brain research. We couldn’t be happier to welcome him back to University to help us mark the start of the undergraduate neuroscience program and congratulate our first undergraduate class.

The event is sponsored by the provost URI office, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, Colleges of Environmental and Life Sciences, Health Sciences and Pharmacy. Registration is free and open to the public at: uri.edu/inp/kennedy.

The new Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience offers students the opportunity to choose from three areas of interest within their major in Neuroscience, which sets it apart from neuroscience programs in New England. URI’s INP brings together a wide range of disciplines, from basic research and clinical studies to the development of new drugs, enabling further study of neurological processes, cell function, psychological disorders and the promotion of brain health.

The three degrees are: a bachelor’s degree with a major in clinical neuroscience from the College of Health Sciences; a bachelor’s degree with a specialization in molecular neurosciences from the College of Environmental and Life Sciences; and a bachelor’s degree with a major in neuropharmacology from the College of Pharmacy. The new program ensures that students will have a solid foundation and further study in neuroscience, ranging from the structure and function of molecules and organelles, chemical sensors, genetic diseases, foundations of motor behavior and psychological processes. , language and communication, and brain-computer interfaces. , clinical and pharmaceutical treatments for neurological and psychological disorders.

The program, announced in January, accepted 44 students for the fall semester, including Thomas M. Ryan Scholar, Erek Bickford, ’24, from Campton, NH

“I have always been interested in the brain and how it works. I was particularly interested in the URI because of the possibility of specializing specifically in neuropharmacology, which is somewhat unique, ”said Bickford, who is interested in the drug development and approval process. “I look forward to being able to specialize and gain as much practical experience as possible in my major, and to work with researchers and scientists both through the INP program and the Ryan Institute. “

The URI program provides students with access to the training and expertise of faculty from five of the University’s colleges, as well as researchers at the George & Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience. As part of the program, students will work closely with a dedicated interdisciplinary neuroscience advisor upon enrollment.

Bickford said: “Our advisors have been great and very outgoing about the neuroscience community at URI and the opportunities that present themselves. I’m excited.”

For more information about the program and its curriculum, visit the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience at the University of Rhode Island page. Students with questions can contact the program directly at: [email protected]


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