Vision science fellowship training is laboratory based and offers both predoctoral and postdoctoral opportunities to trainees in specific areas of vision science, or over a wide range of topics. Trainees work under the supervision of Institute faculty members who are engaged in basic science research and have active laboratories. They may work on individual projects or contribute to faculty projects. The scope and nature of each vision science fellowship is developed by the trainee and his/her faculty mentor.
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Predoctoral fellowships are offered in neurobiology, neurosciences, pharmacology, chemistry, biochemistry and visual physiology. They provide the means for graduate students to obtain their doctorates while working with Institute faculty in highly specialized laboratory environments. Predoctoral fellowship candidates must first be accepted into one of the PhD granting programs administered by the Graduate Division at UCLA. Each graduate program has its own curriculum that stipulates required course work, laboratory rotations, and qualifying examinations. The current departmental affiliations of the Institute's faculty include Biological Chemistry, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Human Genetics, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiological Sciences.
UCLA ACCESS is an umbrella graduate program that represents 11 PhD-granting programs in the Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Life Sciences. ACCESS maximizes student choice by providing students with a range of research opportunities that span molecular, cellular and integrative areas of the biosciences. The first year of course work and laboratory rotations provides students with the ability to make a well-informed decision on their topic and mentor for thesis research. Students transition into one of the 11 degree-granting programs at the end of the first year of graduate study.
Postdoctoral research fellowships are offered for one to three years in all of the vision sciences at the Institute. Each fellowship is unique, and conducted according to mutual agreements between trainees and their mentors. Research areas for postdoctoral fellowships include molecular biology, genetics, biophysics, biomechanics, cell biology, eye development, and biochemistry. Upon completion of their fellowships, trainees usually pursue careers in academia or industry.
In addition to individually supported research fellowships, a special integrated program is offered under the auspices of a National Eye Institute Vision Science Training grant for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows. The grant provides trainees with coordinated and organized exposure to a wide range of techniques and current knowledge in the vision sciences. Applicants for the Predoctoral Fellowship Program must first gain acceptance to one of multiple accredited graduate programs at UCLA. Applicants for the Postdoctoral Program are recruited directly by faculty preceptors. All fellows are required to take a defined program of core courses and become rapidly acquainted with the fundamentals of vision research within a broad spectrum of the basic sciences. The training gives each fellow the broadest possible background in ophthalmology and the basic sciences, and enables him/her to pursue individual interests with clearly designed experiments. Fellows are required to present their research at informal and formal seminars and encouraged to participate in the publication of scientific papers. To gain a broad background in the vision sciences, fellows utilize the expertise of several laboratories and collaborate with fellows and faculty members other than their own preceptors.