University of Nebraska Medical Center


The Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience administers one-year research internships in neuroscience and neuroimmunology. These internships provide research opportunities in various aspects of neuroscience from molecular mechanisms of synaptic transmission to brain imaging of neurological disease.

Interns may also take classes in neuroscience and related disciplines without tuition or fees. All interns must complete UNMC orientation and immunizations to be allowed to register for classes.

A 12-month stipend of $30,000 is provided to each intern. Failure to enroll in any courses will result in a reduced stipend.

Neuroscience and Neuroimmunology at UNMC

The Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience has a strong focus on the role of the immune system in neurological disorders as evidenced by the department’s housing of the editorial office of the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology and publication of the textbook Neuroimmune Pharmacology. It ranks 7th nationally in NIH funding among pharmacology departments (8th as a neuroscience department).

The departments of Neurological Sciences, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and Cellular and Integrative Physiology offer students additional neuroscience and neuroimmunology research opportunities. Research here includes molecular, genetic, and physiological studies of neuro-immune interactions in neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism; functional brain imaging in neurological diseases; retina cell biology and physiology; and CNS contributions to cardiovascular disorders.


Applications are accepted from September 1 to March 15 each year. Applicants should use the online system and create an account. The internship is listed under Graduate Studies. Click on the "Summer" entry of the year you would like to start the internship. Before beginning the application, please prepare the following documents:

  • Copy of undergraduate transcript(s)
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement regarding career goals and why this program is of interest (250 words or less)

Deadline: March 15th

Research Areas

Autonomic Neuroscience

The CNS regulates the function of many organs in the body largely through the autonomic nervous system. In various conditions such as Parkinson's, diabetes, heart failure, hypertension and stress, CNS adaptations contribute to the pathophysiology of the disease state. Work at UNMC is focused on understanding these mechanisms so that effective therapeutic interventions can be identified.

Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience

Researchers at UNMC interested in cognition and behavior use behavioral, functional brain imaging, and electrophysiological techniques to examine brain dysfunction in disease.

Biology of Drug Abuse

Addiction to alcohol, opiates, cocaine and methamphetamine is an expanding public health problem. This problem is amplified by how abused drugs lead to or worsen many other health problems including cancer, cardiovascular, infectious diseases, and psychiatric disorders. Researchers at UNMC are working to determine the underlying molecular mechanisms by which drugs of abuse impair CNS function, manifest addiction, and worsen other diseases.

Biology of Neurological Disorders

Many researchers at UNMC focus on the role of the immune system in neurological diseases and in neural complications of AIDS infection. Inflammation is a major mechanism in which the brain responds to a variety of injuries. Whether it be AIDS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease (AD), traumatic brain injury or Juvenile Batten Disease neurons are not always directly destroyed by the insult. Disease can occur indirectly through glia cells by setting off a chain of biochemical events that produce toxins and inflammation that can compromise neuronal cell signaling and ultimately destroy neurons. Substance abuse can interact with the immune system and other cellular components to worsen neurological and neuroinfectious diseases. UNMC researchers use a wide diversity of techniques and experimental approaches to solve these questions.

Neurodevelopment and Neurosignaling

A central question in Neuroscience relates to how the genome and experience interact to modulate brain structure and function. Another major question is how the molecular and cellular structure of the brain underlies brain function and brain dysfunction. For example, in a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders (e.g., epilepsy, ischemia, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia), specific neurotransmitter signaling systems appear to be dysfunctional. Neuroscientists at UNMC use a variety of genetic, electrophysiological, anatomical, molecular, and biochemical techniques to understand these questions.