From student to steward: the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience at Georgetown University as a case study in professional development during doctoral training.
Medical education online
2014; 19: 22623
Sex-specific gray matter volume differences in females with developmental dyslexia.
Brain structure & function
A key facet of professional development is the formation of professional identity. At its most basic level, professional identity for a scientist centers on mastery of a discipline and the development of research skills during doctoral training. To develop a broader understanding of professional identity in the context of doctoral training, the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) ran a multi-institutional study from 2001 to 2005. A key outcome of the CID was the development of the concept of 'stewards of the discipline'. The Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience (IPN) at Georgetown University participated in CID from 2003 to 2005. Here, we describe the IPN and highlight the programmatic developments resulting from participation in the CID. In particular, we emphasize programmatic activities that are designed to promote professional skills in parallel with scientific development. We describe activities in the domains of leadership, communication, teaching, public outreach, ethics, collaboration, and mentorship. Finally, we provide data that demonstrate that traditional metrics of academic success are not adversely affected by the inclusion of professional development activities in the curricula. By incorporating these seven 'professional development' activities into the required coursework and dissertation research experience, the IPN motivates students to become stewards of the discipline.
View details for PubMedID 25005356
Developmental dyslexia, characterized by unexpected reading difficulty, is associated with anomalous brain anatomy and function. Previous structural neuroimaging studies have converged in reports of less gray matter volume (GMV) in dyslexics within left hemisphere regions known to subserve language. Due to the higher prevalence of dyslexia in males, these studies are heavily weighted towards males, raising the question whether studies of dyslexia in females only and using the same techniques, would generate the same findings. In a replication study of men, we obtained the same findings of less GMV in dyslexics in left middle/inferior temporal gyri and right postcentral/supramarginal gyri as reported in the literature. However, comparisons in women with and without dyslexia did not yield left hemisphere differences, and instead, we found less GMV in right precuneus and paracentral lobule/medial frontal gyrus. In boys, we found less GMV in left inferior parietal cortex (supramarginal/angular gyri), again consistent with previous work, while in girls differences were within right central sulcus, spanning adjacent gyri, and left primary visual cortex. Our investigation into anatomical variants in dyslexia replicates existing studies in males, but at the same time shows that dyslexia in females is not characterized by involvement of left hemisphere language regions but rather early sensory and motor cortices (i.e., motor and premotor cortex, primary visual cortex). Our findings suggest that models on the brain basis of dyslexia, primarily developed through the study of males, may not be appropriate for females and suggest a need for more sex-specific investigations into dyslexia.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00429-013-0552-4
View details for PubMedID 23625146