Department of Pediatrics

Basic Neuroscience Research Pathway


About the Program


Our understanding of fundamental neuroscience and disease neurobiology is moving at an amazing rate. Genetics and genomics are rapidly uncovering the basis for neurological disorders, as animal and cellular models have uncovered the mechanism of disease. Our faculty has identified hundreds of genes that cause neurological disorders and the list is rapidly growing due to the advances of exome and genome sequencing at BCM. Technologies such as opto- and chemogenetics allow the precise manipulation of neural circuitry. DNA therapeutics such as CRISPR editing, anti-sense oligonucleotides (ASOs), and AAV-gene therapy are rapidly changing the landscape of precision medicine and therapeutic interventions. The challenge is to utilize these discoveries for the advancement of Child Neurology. To meet this challenge, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital offer the Basic Neuroscience Residency Pathway in Child Neurology, and we are proud to be committed to funding our residents throughout their training. This includes one year of Pediatrics, three years of Child Neurology, and a final year of Basic Neuroscience at our institution. Physician-scientists in our residency program have a total of 18 contiguous months to conduct research full time. As one of the few Basic Neuroscience residency programs in the country, we have had an excellent record of success in launching the careers of many prominent physician-scientists who are now successful independent faculty or chiefs of Pediatric Neurology Divisions. Several of our trainees have won the prestigious Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award from the Child Neurology Society.

The research infrastructure at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital is simply first-rate. Our residency program builds upon BCM’s nationally renowned expertise in Neuroscience, Molecular and Human Genetics, and works in concert with the unparalleled multidisciplinary research environment at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI). The NRI is the first of its kind in the world to be an institute dedicated to basic and translational neuroscience research for neurological disorders afflicting both children and adults. Positioned in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, the NRI is a nexus for interactions among multiple disciplines such as genetics, developmental biology, and neurobiology along with computational neuroscience, mathematics, physics, biochemistry, and engineering in ten core laboratories providing highly-specialized services ranging from bioinformatic analysis to neuropathology, imaging, virus production, two-photon imaging, super-resolution imaging, iPSC-derived neurons, and electrophysiology. These cores are crucial in advancing the career development of young investigators and accelerating our understanding of disease pathophysiology.

Residents in this training pathway are mentored by program leadership Dr. Tim Lotze (Child Neurology Residency Program Director) and Dr. Hsiao-Tuan Chao (Child Neurology Residency Associate Program Director - Basic Neuroscience Pathway) and have opportunities to work under the mentorship of prominent scientists such as Drs. Huda Zoghbi, Hugo Bellen, Jeffrey Magee, Sameer Sheth, James Lupski, Josh Shulman, Tom Lloyd, Brendan Lee, and Paul Pfaffinger, to name a few. The collaborative mission of Baylor, Texas Children's, and other Texas Medical Center institutions allows our residents to explore neuroscience-related opportunities with faculty from other departments including Neuroscience, Molecular and Human Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Radiology, Pathology and Immunology, Hematology-Oncology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, and many others. In this way, a Basic Neuroscience resident has a tremendous number of options through which they can work with a mentor that meets their particular interests and career goals.

Last but not least our program is happy to boast the fact that we are in one of America’s most vibrant and economically stable cities. Houston is an international and highly diverse city that hosts the world’s largest concentration of healthcare organizations in the Texas Medical Center, which is the largest medical center in the world with 21 hospitals, eight academic and research institutions, and 50 total related non-profit organizations. This is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA, the Houston metropolitan area is the fourth largest in the nation, and is ranked in the top 100 cities around the world.

In summary, the strengths of our clinical training program combined with the incredible basic science resources make Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital stellar institutions to begin a research-oriented career.

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