The PhD program in Neuroscience is an interdepartmental, multisite enterprise based at the School of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Milano-Bicocca and its mission is to provide an excellent environment for research training based on the coexistence and cooperation of Italian and International Universities, hospital-based research centers, pharmaceutical industries with a strong vocation for innovation and a European research center with unique opportunities in the field of X-ray imaging and irradiation. This mission is pursued through the interaction between researchers and clinicians, who work in academic or industrial reality, and belong to all areas that constitute the more modern concept of the “world of Neuroscience”.

An important feature of the PhD program in Neuroscience is the propensity to internationalization, leading to the development of research programs that include a period of study/research in partner laboratories distributed in the most prestigious foreign universities. From the academic year 2019-2020, a joint doctoral program with the University of Surrey (UK) has also been activated. At least one of the three years of the course will be entirely carried out at the British university and at the end of the course, this path will finally culminate in obtaining a “dual PhD”, ie the title of Ph.D. will be issued both by the University of Milan-Bicocca and by the University of Surrey.

The PhD program is an active part of the Milan Center for Neuroscience (NeuroMI), a highly interdisciplinary research center. Both mobility between laboratories and research periods abroad are highly recommended, and in this context, the PhD program is part of the Network of European Neuroscience Schools (NENS) of the Federation of European Federation of Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and of the Organisation for PhD Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System (ORPHEUS). The educational objectives of each track are briefly described below.

  1. Experimental Neuroscience

The aim is to provide training in basic research in the field of Neurosciences. The projects in this area can address all aspects of cellular and molecular biology, genetics, neurochemistry and neurophysiology, aimed at understanding the biological mechanisms and pathogenesis of diseases using animal or cellular models, also intended to test possible pharmacological treatments. However, basic research will not be strictly restricted to Neurosciences, given the clear interdependence between normal functioning and pathology of the nervous system and other conditions (eg immunological, oncological, infectious, degenerative). Furthermore, research projects involving the application of preclinical study methods of pathological patterns at a behavioral, molecular, neurophysiological and histopathological level, as well as the application of the most modern tissue engineering methods, can be addressed.

Particular attention will be paid to the more rigorous respect of the ethical principles of preclinical experimentation as well as of the reference legislation, which must be fully known in its most updated form. Specific training courses will be organized in collaboration with the Ethics Committee of the University of Milano-Bicocca.

  1. Clinical Neuroscience

After completion of this track knowledge of multidisciplinary clinical research methods in Neuroscience will be achieved, also profiting from joint activities organized in collaboration with the University of Milano-Bicocca Medical School Residency programs. Training on the mechanisms underlying cognitive and behavioural disorders secondary to organic or functional disorders of the central nervous system will be provided. In addition, strategies to allow functional recovery will be evaluated. Finally, training in research methodologies applied to the study of the interaction between the external environment and the onset of psychopathology during the developmental stages of childhood and adult life will be provided. Also in this track special attention will be placed on a solid preparation on the ethical and regulatory issues correlated with clinical trials.

  1. Neuroscience International Track

This track is reserved to students who enter the joint doctorate course with the University of Surrey, which as anticipated will culminate in obtaining a double PhD degree. The purpose of this track is the acquisition of research methods and specialized scientific and linguistic skills necessary for the development of projects that require international collaborations in the field of experimental and / or clinical Neurosciences, also through mandatory attendance at partnering foreign laboratories to the doctoral project.