Launched by the College in 2016, the neuroscience major was created in response to strong student demand. As the program continues to scale, its experiential learning opportunities have expanded on campus and throughout the world—deepening the College’s commitment to students’ intellectual development inside and beyond the classroom.
“Clearly, research is a value, even a way of life, here at UChicago. In building the neuroscience major, I have felt that it is critical to allow students the opportunity to pursue field-shaping research in partnership with our faculty,” said Mason. “Through this program, students expand their perspective beyond Chicago and beyond the U.S., so that those who know they like to research can conduct it in a very different environment.”
The internships are part of UChicago’s Metcalf Internship Program and are fully funded through a partnership between the Collège de France, the France Chicago Center, the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology & Human Behavior and the College.
“This highly innovative new program was developed as part of the France Chicago Center’s unique and longstanding relationship with the Collège de France,” said Robert Morrissey, executive director of UChicago’s France Chicago Center. “The Collège de France represents one of the great research institutions in the world, and our students profit immensely from our French colleagues’ mentorship while enjoying the enormous cultural attractions in Paris.”
“The Paris program is one-of-a-kind in that it gives neuroscience majors a chance to do research abroad—at one of the best research institutions in Europe, no less,” said Camelia Malkami, a fourth-year student working in the laboratory of Alain Prochiantz. “When I found out about this opportunity, I knew it was perfect for me because it is specially designed for UChicago neuro majors.”
Malkami, a neuroscience and biological sciences major, is studying a protein in the brain called Otx2, which is thought to regulate critical periods of increased plasticity in the brain during development; the lab hopes that the knowledge may lead to better understanding and perhaps even treatment of psychiatric disorders such as autism, depression or schizophrenia.
“The lab I work in is truly a teaching lab with a culture of collaboration, and it is, in my opinion, exactly how science should be done,” said Malkami. “It only took a few days to realize that what they are doing is special, and I have decided to apply for a Fulbright scholarship to hopefully continue working for the lab after I graduate.”