New Biological Information Processing program presents incredible oppportunity

A new program in the University of Lethbridge’s Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN) presents an incredible opportunity for the next generation of scientists.

The Biological Information Processing (BIP): From Genome to Systems Level program (, funded by the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through its Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program, is currently seeking exceptional graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

“In this program, students learn from an unparalleled group of mentors who are world leaders in their fields,” says Dr. Robert Sutherland, program director, NSERC CREATE Biological Information Processing, and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience.

Graduate student Rajat Thapa (BSc '12) is working with neuroscience researcher Dr. Aaron Gruber as part of the BIP program.

Citing neuroscience, biology, epigenetics, cancer research and neurotechnology development as fields of supervisor expertise, Sutherland says the unique approach of the BIP program makes it attractive to students who are looking at gaining hands-on experience that is easily translatable to industry.

“The program stands apart from the standard academic track because it provides opportunities for science entrepreneurship, industry contact and the translation of science to industry,” he says. “It also offers a very competitive stipend to qualified applicants.”

Rajat Thapa (BSc ’12) is a graduate student working under the supervision of neuroscientist Dr. Aaron Gruber. His research focus is on decision making and he relishes the opportunity to not only learn alongside some of the world’s leading neuroscientists, but to put those lessons into practice.

“The program allowed me to jump right into research,” says Thapa, originally from Nepal. “The focus is on learning through independently leading a research project. It’s helping me gather tools in terms of methods, data analysis techniques and creative and critical thinking necessary to pursue the questions I hope to answer someday.”

Students who have a background in neuroscience, cell biology, imaging science, physiology, biochemistry and computation are urged to apply for acceptance to the School of Graduate Studies ( at the University of Lethbridge and simultaneously to the NSERC CREATE Biological Information Processing Program. The application deadline for MA, MSc and PhD candidates for the Spring 2014 cohort is Oct. 1, 2013. Post-doctoral candidates can apply at anytime.

“The world-class expertise that the students have access to will benefit them throughout their subsequent careers,” says Sutherland. “To have this collection of researchers right here in Canada, in southern Alberta, is quite remarkable, and our belief is that we can provide our students with the toolkit necessary to produce the next generation of innovators in neuroscience.”