My son-in-law is touring colleges in the US so that he can study the brain and how it is affected by DMD, hoping to one day figure out how to help that aspect of this disorder.

So far, he has been brought in for interviews by Penn (Ivy league), Washington Uni. in St. Louis, and Uni. of Southern Cal.

Personally, we want him to go to USC because it is close to home and we will still have our grand babies close to home. But, funding there is low. Yah, cuz George Lucas and Will Ferrell are giving all their money for the acting portion of the school. No worries, USC is what it is...a great school to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

So, that leaves him with UWinSTL and PENN.

Does anyone in these areas know anything about these schools? How is their Neurological programs? Heard of the professors/doctors that work with the students?

Any feedback would be great.

Robert McDonald, I met you at conference in philly 2008....if i remember correctly, you went to school in STL. Can you provide any feedback?

Any help i can get to help my son-in-law make an informed decision on where he goes for his graduate degree is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Christian

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Christian,

I can't tell if your son-in-law is looking at grad school or undergraduate. My dad was a professor at USC in their psychology department for 30+ years. Though he retired 15 years ago, as have almost all of his friends and colleagues, he still follows it closely. He tells me that the quality of student they've been able to recruit in the past 20 years is worlds better than when I was looking at colleges (back in the day when those smug losers at UCLA could call it the University of Second Choice with a straight face, and parents of rich kids in the OC and Pasadena paid Stanford money to have their kids attend classes taught by graduate students who didn't speak English)and he encouraged me to go elsewhere, even though I could have gotten the family discount. I would investigate that aid package a little more closely. Often the fellowships and ta-ships aren't awarded as part of the conventional financial aid package and are controlled by the individual departments. Also, Dr. Mozaffar who runs the neuromuscular clinic at the UCI Medical Center in Orange, the guy who diagnosed Alexander, did his residency at Washington University at St. Louis. He seemed to still be in touch with those people and is a cool guy who's pretty accessible.
Well - I think Pat F.could get you in touch with some folks at Penn. That is where Lee Sweeney does his research, so he could probably get you in touch with some folks. I'm also not sure what connection CHoP has to UPENN as far as their internships etc... (they are on essentially the same campus...). I went to Drexel which is right next to PENN... so if he needs any details of local areas etc... let me know. Also - if you are back in Philly for a visit or etc... let us know maybe we can arrange a get together.
~Paul
Christian,
I studied medicine at the University of Missouri in Columbia, not St Louis. I had residency training in Neurosurgery in Philly and then ENT/Head and Neck Surgery back in Missouri. I did research in Microbiology, Immunology, Cell Biology etc at the University of Missouri in Columbia and at both Columbia Presbyterian and Cornell Medical Centers in New York City (those two entities have since merged somewhat from what I understand). I am not familiar with the neuro-psychiatric education/training at WashU or PENN.

Is your son-in-law going to be a freshman in college or is he looking for a graduate position for a Masters or PhD? I know that both WashU and PENN have good neurology departments in their respective schools of medicine which would be for the graduate study. If he is just starting college it does not matter as he needs to just get a good undergrad experience and then move forward into the more specialized area he is interested in.

In answer to the remarks about PENN and CHOP. CHOP is essentially the peds hospital for PENN. Lee Sweeney is the chairman of the Dept of Physiology at the PENN School of Medicine.

Let me know if you have other questions.
I asked a relative who went through WashU's molecular cell biology Ph.D. program. So, while he doesn't know the neurology dept. intimately, he can vouch for at least half a dozen of their faculty being very good researchers/mentors as well as decent instructors. Also adds that St. Louis is a great place to live (if you don't mind hot summers) & housing is reasonably priced.

I have no comparison info on U. of Penn., though.
Thanks for the responses.

Robert, he is finishing his 4 year degree this May. He is then going to go for his doctorates.

I will try and get him to join this community and see if he can add more.
Hello everyone,

I am Christian's son-in-law he was talking about. Just to clarify a few things, I was essentially trying to decide which school of the two (Penn and WashU) had more opportunities for performing research related to DMD. My undergraduate background is in neuroscience, so naturally I applied to neuroscience PhD programs to get into the best schools possible. However, once I am in the program, opportunities for research are not limited to neuroscience alone. As long as the faculty works under the umbrella of the division of biomedical sciences at either school, I can pursue research with them, though I would somehow have to relate it to neuroscience (but hey, working on a method to get dystrophin into the brain can be applied to elsewhere, right?). However, during my interviews, few of the faculty I spoke with had any information about reseach outside of the immediate neuroscience program. Thanks for all the comments so far, and I appreciate any advice.
It shouldn't be hard to make a connection between DMD research and neuroscience. For instance:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19172427
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19229966

Try this site:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez
Select PubMed and use paired keywords like "dystrophy neuron" etc.

Good luck with your grad school hunt!
Hi

Veronica Hinton at Columbia has been doing research on dmd and cognition for over 10 years. She is in the neuropsych part. She might be good to do some colaboration with. She might know some programs that could mentor your interests well. Just more info for you to sift through.

Karen
I have actually spoken with Dr. Hinton, and she even invited me to join her lab if I attended Columbia, but unfortunately I was not admitted. Furthermore, the only direction she pointed me in was UCLA. There are very few researchers working on similar topics. It seems like I might have to try my luck bringing a new interest to an established lab in a similar field.

Karen said:
Hi

Veronica Hinton at Columbia has been doing research on dmd and cognition for over 10 years. She is in the neuropsych part. She might be good to do some colaboration with. She might know some programs that could mentor your interests well. Just more info for you to sift through.

Karen
Shane has decided to take the scholarship with UPenn and starts in June. Congrats Shane and good luck!

Paul J.,

My daughter, son-in-law, and grand kids (yes, i have 2 of 'em at 36 years young) will be your neighbors. I hold you responsible for feeding them at least once a week like my wife and I do. ;-)

Thanks to those of you who responsed to this thread.

Christian
Christian,
I'm about 45 minutes west so 'neighbor' is a bit of a stretch... but hey - if you find yourself in-town visiting drop me a line...
I actually used to be a cook at a restaurant on Penn's campus (its no longer there...) back in the day.

Also - not sure about the duration of their stay - and their housing situation, but I know PENN has a program where they help with the downpayment on a house in nearby local community - and for each year you stay there they forgive a % of that loan (or something like that - I can get the details from friends of mine who have done that). But I also don't know if that is just for employees or for students...
~P
~Paul


MicahsDaddy said:
BR>
Paul J.,

My daughter, son-in-law, and grand kids (yes, i have 2 of 'em at 36 years young) will be your neighbors. I hold you responsible for feeding them at least once a week like my wife and I do. ;-)

Thanks to those of you who responsed to this thread.

Christian
They will be very close to me Christian so you can send them my way for dinner once a week:) And they can use the pool anytime in the summer.

MicahsDaddy said:
Shane has decided to take the scholarship with UPenn and starts in June. Congrats Shane and good luck!

Paul J.,

My daughter, son-in-law, and grand kids (yes, i have 2 of 'em at 36 years young) will be your neighbors. I hold you responsible for feeding them at least once a week like my wife and I do. ;-)

Thanks to those of you who responsed to this thread.

Christian

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