SCHEV approves School of Neuroscience at Virginia Tech
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has approved the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience, the first school of neuroscience in the country.
Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors approved the school in November. The school will be part of the Virginia Tech College of Science and headed by neuroscientist Harald Sontheimer.
SCHEV previously approved a bachelor’s of science in neuroscience in 2014, which was part of the College of Science’s Academy of Integrated Science.
The bachelor’s degrees and future graduate degrees will now be housed in the School of Neuroscience.
The school will study disorders of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injury, and the mind itself, including decision-making, behavior and creativity.
“With the establishment of the first School of Neuroscience in the United States, Virginia Tech is taking a bold step signaling its unprecedented support for this fast-growing scientific discipline,” Sontheimer said in a statement. “…Students will be able to pursue a range of majors linked with neuroscience, including clinical, experimental, social, cognitive, computational modeling, and data systems, providing them with skills to succeed in professions ranging from biotechnology and medicine to business and law.”
The incoming recruiting class will be roughly 150 students.
Although Virginia Tech already has about 75 faculty and research scientists working on neuroscience research, J. Michael Bowers joined the College of Science as the neuroscience program’s first-full time faculty member in December. A second faculty member, associate professor Sarah Clinton, was hired earlier this year. An expected roster of eight faculty members will be in house by August.
By 2017, the number of faculty could be at 15, said Sontheimer.
Students also will participate in neuroscience research already ongoing at Virginia Tech Carilion Medical School and Research Institute and on the Blacksburg campus.
The neuroscience school also will provide opportunity for undergraduate neuroscience students to become involved with biomedical neuroscience research in the recently launched Health Sciences and Technology Innovation District in Roanoke.