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  • ASU-Barrow PhD Program

    For more than ten years, the ASU-Barrow Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience has served as a premier training program for leaders in neuroscience. Established in 2007 as a collaborative effort between Barrow Neurological Institute, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the program was the first neuroscience graduate program in Phoenix. With a focus on interdisciplinary research, the program complements the large neuroscience presence in the city.

    This doctoral program provides students with a unique opportunity to answer today’s most pressing neuro-related questions under the guidance of top-tier researchers. With interests ranging from basic science to translational and clinical research, students are able to explore neuro-related issues at the molecular, single-cell level as well as at a behavioral and cognitive whole systems level. Students in this program benefit from close collaboration with experienced researchers from the very beginning of their doctoral work.

    Students apply to the PhD program through the ASU admissions process. Once students are admitted to the program, they take courses at ASU while beginning their neuroscience research work at the partner institution of their choosing. Since the program’s inception, 20 of the 65 neuroscience PhD students have chosen to complete their graduate studies as a member of a Barrow laboratory. Students choose Barrow based on the groundbreaking translational neuroscience expertise we offer. We ensure that our students obtain broad training in the neurosciences while also mastering their particular area of interest, all in a dynamic research and clinical environment. Emphasis is put on mentoring students toward successful, independent scientific careers.

    Since its beginning in 1962, Barrow Neurological Institute has steadily grown its reputation as a worldwide leader in numerous neurological and neurodegenerative diseases areas. Our neurobiology faculty members focus on areas such as:

    • Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD)
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
    • Brain tumors
    • Neuroimaging
    • Neuroimmunology
    • Neurosurgery
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Stroke and vascular disease

    We invite students with a strong desire to push the boundaries of neuroscience to join us at Barrow Neurological Institute. Graduates from our labs have gone on to pursue careers in academia, pharmaceutical companies, and the biotech industry.

    For more information about the program, please contact the program director, Dr. Rita Sattler, by email at [email protected].

    How to Apply

    The ASU-Barrow Neuroscience PhD Program is part of the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. Students apply to the program through ASU’s graduate admissions process. Applications are accepted October 1 through December 15 for admission the following August.

    // Review Guidelines and Apply Here


    The ASU-Barrow Neuroscience PhD Program requires 84 credit hours, which include core courses, elective courses, journal club seminars, neuroscience research seminars, and research and dissertation hours.

    // View a Complete Listing of the Curriculum Requirements

    Current Students

    Name: Evgenii Belykh, MD
    Year Joined: 2016
    PI: Mark C. Preul, MD
    Email: [email protected]
    Research interest: Optical and fluorescence guidance in neurosurgery, confocal microscopy, neuroanatomy, minimally invasive techniques, and simulation training

    Name: Lynette Bustos
    Year Joined: 2017
    PI: Rita Sattler, PhD
    Email: [email protected]
    Research interest: Neuron-glia interactions, synaptic dysfunction, and protein mislocalization in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

    Name: Lena Mary Houlihan
    Year Joined: 2019
    PI: Mark C. Preul, MD
    Email: [email protected]
    Research interest: Improve operative techniques in the management of vascular malformations and skull base lesions

    Name: Elizabeth Keeling
    Year Joined: 2019
    PI: Ashley Stokes, PhD
    Email: [email protected]
    Research interest: Development, analysis, and application of imaging techniques to neurodegenerative disorders

    Name: Costanza Lo Cascio
    Year Joined: 2016
    PI: Shwetal Mehta, PhD
    Email: [email protected]
    Research interest: Understanding the molecular mechanisms that cancer stem cells in malignant brain tumors employ to evade and change cellular fate in response to radiation treatment

    Name: Stephen Moore
    Year Joined: 2016
    PI: Rita Sattler, PhD
    Email: [email protected]
    Research interest: Understanding the dysregulation of RNA metabolism in the most common genetic form of ALS, a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the gene C9orf72, and how this dysregulation contributes to ALS disease pathogenesis and neurodegeneration

    Name: Samuel X. Shi M.S.
    Year Joined: 2017
    PI: Qiang Liu MD, PhD
    Email: [email protected], [email protected]
    Research interest: Interested in the reciprocal communication between the CNS and immune system in the context of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis as well as acute neuronal injuries of acute ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage

    Name: Chelsea Tran
    Year Joined: 2019
    PI: Robert Bowser, PhD and Rita Sattler, PhD
    Email: [email protected]
    Research interest:

    About Barrow Neurological Institute
    Since our doors opened as a regional specialty center in 1962, we have grown into one of the premier destinations in the world for neurology and neurosurgery. Our experienced, highly skilled, and comprehensive team of neurological specialists can provide you with a complete spectrum of care–from diagnosis through outpatient neurorehabilitation–under one roof. Barrow Neurological Institute: Discover. Educate. Heal.