Neurosciences and Cognitive Sciences (NACS)

Combined Campus Program Departments of Biological Sciences,
Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Information Systems,
Mathematics and Statistics, and Psychology, University of Maryland,
Baltimore County (UMBC) and the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC)

JEFFERY W. LEIPS, Graduate Program Director

BELL, JONATHAN (Math and Statistics) Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles; Mathematical neurobiology transduction, bio-diffusion
CATANIA, A. CHARLES (Psychology), Ph.D., Harvard University; Learning, verbal behavior, behavior analysis
CRONIN, THOMAS (Biology), Ph.D., Duke University; Vision science
DICLEMENTE, CARLO (Psychology), Ph.D., University of Rhode Island; Addictive behaviors, psychotherapy, self-efficacy
FININ, TIMOTHY (Computer Science), Ph.D., University of Illinois; Artificial intelligence, knowledge representation and reasoning, knowledge and database systems, natural language processing, intelligent agents
FORGIONNE, GUISSEPPI (Information Systems), Ph.D., University of California, Riverside; Decision technology systems, technology of management, management of information systems
NORCIO, ANTHONY (Information Systems), Ph.D., The Catholic University of America; Human-computer interaction, software design and engineering, artificial intelligence
PROVINE, ROBERT R. (Psychology), Ph.D., Washington University; Developmental neuroscience, human ethology
RABIN, BERNARD (Psychology), Ph.D., State University of New York, Buffalo; Physiological psychology
ROBINSON, PHYLLIS, R., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin; Signal transduction in the visual system, elucidation of the mechanisms of activation and deactivation of vertebrate visual pigments
YESHA, YELENA (Computer Science), Ph.D., Ohio State University; Distributed systems, database systems, digital libraries, e-commerce, performance modeling, design tools for optimizing availability in replicated database systems, efficient and highly fault-tolerant mutual exclusion algorithms, analytical performance models for distributed and parallel systems

Associate Professors
ADALI, TULAY (Electrical Engineering), Ph.D., North Carolina State University; Statistical signal processing, neural computation, adaptive signal processing and their applications in channel equalization, biomedical image analysis, system identification, time series prediction, image and speech coding
BREWSTER, RACHEL, (Biology), Ph.D., University of Michigan; Developmental biology, neurosciences, genetics, molecular and cell biology
CANFIELD, GERALD (Information Systems), Ph.D., University of Utah; Medical informatics, networks, databases
CHANG, CHEIN-I (Electrical Engineering), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Information theory and coding, signal detection and estimation, image processing, medical imaging, remote sensing, neural networks
EMURIAN, HENRY (Information Systems), Ph.D., American University; Human-computer interaction, experimental methodology, effectiveness analysis
GRONINGER, LOWELL (Psychology), Ph.D., University of Illinois; Learning and memory
O’NEILL, MICHAEL (Biology), Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Genetic regulation
SHIMOFF, ELIOT (Psychology), Ph.D., Columbia University; Learning, behavior analysis
WALDSTEIN, SHARI (Psychology), Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh; Cellular neurobiology

Assistant Professors
HOFFMAN, KATHLEEN (Mathematics and Statistics), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Modeling of neuro-biological systems
LIU, WEIHONG, (Biology) Neurobiological studies of chemical sensations mediated by olfactory, taste and trigeminal systems with emphases on signal transduction and modulations
LOHR, BERNARRD, (Biology) Ph.D., Duke University; Auditory physiology an sensory biology, animal behavior and evolution
PENG, YUN (Computer Science), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Artificial intelligence, neural networks, artificial life and intelligent software agents
WARWICK, ZOE (Psychology), Ph.D., Duke University; Physiological psychology, eating behaviors

Additional participants at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC)

ROBERTS, ROSALINDA, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; Neuro-pathology of schizophrenia, effects of anti-psychotic drugs in experimental animals, anatomical correlates of neuroleptic-induced side effects, normal neuro-anatomy of the human brain
SCHWARCZ, ROBERT, Ph.D., University of Vienna; Molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie nerve cell death in the central nervous system
THAKER, GUNVANT, Ph.D. and M.D., University of Baroda (India); Schizophrenia-related personality disorders, human ocular motor system, phenotypic markers of schizophrenia, schizophrenia genetics

Associate Professors
SHEPARD, PAUL (MPRC) Ph.D., Texas Health Science Center at Dallas; Physiological basis of temporal coding and pattern generation, pharmacological mechanisms of anti-psychotic drug action, animal models of psychiatric disorders.
VOGEL, MICHAEL W., Ph.D., Yale University; Mechanisms of neuronal cell survival/degeneration, afferent patterning and neuronal differentiation, neuropathology of schizophrenia

Assistant Professors
ELMER, GREG, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore; Pre-clinical psycho-pharmacology of reward, drug abuse and schizophrenia using behavior genetics techniques
SCHWEITZER, JULIE, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Functional neuroanatomy of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), functional neuro-anatomy of reinforcement processes in the normal human brain, ADHD and drug addiction, behavior analysis
TAGAMETS, MALLE, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Computational modeling of the relationship between human neuro-imaging and animal electro-physicology, MRI imaging of working memory, reading and language in human subjects

Degree Offered


The NACS program offers a wide range of research and training opportunities for students pursuing doctoral-level research in a variety of areas within neuroscience, computational neuroscience and cognitive science. There are two possible concentrations: (1) neuroscience and (2) cognitive and computational neuroscience. Faculty research interests range from molecular neurobiology, neural and behavioral systems to language, cognition and artificial intelligence. Research approaches include both the theoretical and experimental, with several laboratories doing both. The experimental work includes cutting-edge methodologies; the theoretical includes mathematical, computer and engineering studies. The program, in collaboration with the faculty at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) School of Medicine and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), offers a two-semester introductory neuroscience and cognitive science course required of all students. Other research and training activities of the program take place within the individual participating departments, which include biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, electrical engineering, information systems and psychology. Students will have complete access to courses at all three campuses. The goal of the program is to bring together the diverse perspectives and strengths of all the component disciplines to understand the working of the nervous system, the mind and behavior.

Program Admission Requirements

Admission to the NACS program requires a bachelor’s degree from a recognized undergraduate institution. Course work in calculus is strongly recommended, as is some understanding of either neuroscience or cognitive science. Strong students will be allowed to make up deficiencies. The program requires the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, a transcript and three letters of recommendation. All original application documents must be sent directly to the Graduate School, not the graduate program.

Degree Requirements

The entering student is expected to rotate through two or three laboratories or with faculty in the non-laboratory disciplines within 18 months of entering the program. These rotations may include a rotation in a UMB (Medical School) or UMCP faculty laboratory. The program requires that all students have the two-semester core neuroscience and cognitive sequence. Students in the neuroscience concentration are expected to exhibit a wide knowledge of neuroscience, while students in the cognitive and computational neuroscience concentration are expected to demonstrate mastery of two of the three areas of the concentration. All students are also expected to exhibit the necessary competence to perform their proposed thesis work, including demonstrating knowledge of the background, skills and techniques required for the proposed research.

Facilities and Special Resources

The program, by virtue of its breadth and extent, has access to the facilities of all the departments and institutes of its faculty members. Animal facilities are available when necessary.

Financial Assistance

Teaching assistantships may be available for qualified students through participating departments. In addition, some of the faculty have graduate research assistantships for their students.

Additional Information

For further information, contact Phyllis R. Robinson, director, Department of Biology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. Phone: 410-455-2977; fax: 410-455-3875; e-mail:

Course Listing

NACS 898
Pre-Candidacy Doctoral Research [3-9]

NACS 899
Doctoral Dissertation Research [9]

Doctoral dissertation research under the direction of a UMBC faculty member or the MPRC faculty members.