Links & Resources

Professional Development:

Individual Development Plan (IDP). All students must take owndership of their training and professional development. For first year students, the advising committee will help in student guidance and in establishing and IDP. More senior students are encouraged to actively engage in enacting their career plans. Graduate division and the Center for Professional Development (aka Career Center) offer an increasing number of seminars and courses on this subject. Career development should not happen in a vaccuum and students should engage their advisors, peers and families in the deliberation, planning and execution of career decisions. Attending conferences and courses are an important part of your IDP: they help you understand your field, get to know the players, make connections that you otherwise would not and they introduce you to colleagues at other institutions and in other countries. Note that since Oct 1, 2014 the NIH mandates a report on IDPs from its grantees. 

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Research Tools:



Besides the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, there are many smaller and more focused conferences that are happening all over the world. Attending these offers unique opportunities to learn about projects before they are published, to get to know the leaders in your field and to become known yourself amongst peers and colleagues. Many societies such as the International Society for Neuroethology (ISN) or the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO) hold annual meetings and sometimes specialized courses. In addition, there are organizations that specialize on offering meetings:

Gordon Research Conferences. These conferences are relatively small (~150-250 attendees) and are focused on a particular theme. Speakers are at the top of their field and attend the entire conference. So GRCs offer the opportunity to 'hang out' with peers and leaders in your research area. Accomodations can be very frugal, but this keeps the overall price of the confernce low, typically below $1K for a week, including room and board. Many GRC now have a special pre-conference for graduate students. Many of the conferences are held only once every two years. Conferences are announced in February in the journal Science (and on the website) and are typically held during the summer. Most conferences are held in New England. 

Keystone Symposia. Very similar to GRC, these symposia focus on a relatively narrow topic and give the opportunity for personal interactions. They are being held year-round at diverse locations, mostly in the Rocky Mountains.


Marine Biological Laboratory. Many hands-on laboratory courses are offered. In Neuroscience, Neurobiology and Neural Systems and Behavior are both 8 week intensive and very competitive courses offered yearly. A course focusing on the Biology of the Inner Ear and another on the Visual System are offered every other year and run for 2-3 weeks. Other courses focus on Physiology, Embryology, Parasitology, Microscopy etc. 

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. Mostly single subject courses of 2-3 weeks, either only lectures or with intense hands-on excercises. 

Note that there are also many excellent online courses on specific subjects. The iBiology website, for example, offers an excellent series of short presentations on microscopy and many other subjects relevant to neuroscientsists, including full-fledged lectures.

Links at UCLA:

Brain Research Institute. Our benevolent partner/parent. Here you find information for postdocs, profs etc.

Undergraduate IDP. This points to the website of the Undergraduate Neuroscience IDP.

PDF of self-guided campus tour map with points of interest