Graduation with Distinction

The Graduation with Distinction Program (GwD) is intended for students who demonstrate academic excellence through the successful completion of a significant research project during their undergraduate career. This is especially important for students planning to pursue a graduate degree, but is highly recommended for any student with a strong interest in research.

GwD is an opportunity for senior neuroscience majors to expand their research further and present their findings via an oral defense, a written thesis, and a poster presentation.

Please see bottom of page for faculty mentors and the titles of student theses from the last 3 years.

Important Dates to Remember

GwD 2023

  • May graduates: applications are due in the Fall semester senior year, by 4:00pm on Friday during the first week of classes.

 

  • February 24th-April 3rd, 2023: Turn in a draft of your Results & Discussion sections of thesis to your mentor for comments
  • Assemble defense committee list and email names to tyler.lee@duke.edu by 4:00 pm on Friday, March 3rd, 2023
  • Completion of final polished version of thesis must be submitted to committee members between March 20th-April 3rd, 2023
  • Oral defense period: April 3rd-14th, 2023. Your committee members have to be given your thesis a week prior to your presentation day. Completed form must be submitted to Tyler Lee April 14th
  • Poster Presentation date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2023, 4:30pm (set up at 4pm in DIBS)
  • Final Distinction paper due: April 26th, 2023 emailed to tyler.lee@duke.edu

Fall/December graduates must submit their application in the spring semester prior, by 4:00pm on Friday during the first week of classes.

Frequently asked questions for GwD in Neuroscience

What is the criteria for the selection of GwD students?

Neuroscience majors with a GPA of 3.5 or above in neuroscience courses may apply for Graduation with Distinction in Neuroscience. They must also maintain at least this level of performance in their neuroscience coursework (Gateway, Core, Statistics, and Electives) throughout the remainder of their studies at Duke. The written application form must include a summary of the student’s research topic, be endorsed by the student’s faculty mentor, and be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

What is the evaluative body?

You and your mentor should choose 2 committee members for your oral defense. One member of your committee (either your mentor or one of your two additional committee members) must be a neuroscience faculty member from an Arts and Sciences department, or be a faculty member who teaches regularly in the undergraduate neuroscience program. One member of your committee can be a postdoctoral fellow or an advanced graduate student who has completed their preliminary exam. Dr. Len White may be able to be the third person on your committee, but you must ask ahead of time so he can plan. You should form your committee as soon as possible but no later than March 3rd, 2023. Contact Tyler Lee to give her the names of your committee members along with the date, time and location for your defense.

Is there another program that could help with my GwD research?

Yes, Summer Neuroscience Program is an undergraduate summer program that allows students to strengthen their research and portfolio.

Are there special courses, other activities required, or other comments?

The thesis is usually based on at least two semesters of independent studies in neuroscience (NEUROSCI 493 and 494) with the same faculty mentor.

Students aspiring to graduate with distinction will register for NEUROSCI 499 Current Research in Neuroscience. This spring-term lecture course includes review of directed reading and research in both theoretical and experimental neuroscience, as well as discussion of the students’ independent study projects. Emphasis is placed on the development of the ability to critically evaluate empirical research and to construct mathematical or deductive/inductive models. The final project in this course includes preparation of a formal research proposal and a review of the role of ethics in science.

Graduation with Distinction in Neuroscience research projects will be presented as scientific posters during a celebration on April 25th, 2023 at 4:30 pm, (arrive at 4:00 pm to set up your poster) LSRC; DIBS. The student will need to arrange poster printing of their work. Please contact Tyler Lee ( tyler.lee@duke.edu ) for more information.

Faculty mentors and titles of student theses (2020-2022)

 

Lab information: https://www.adcocklab.org/

  • Pre-Learning Affective States and Trait Anxiety Impact Learning from Error

More information: https://dibs.duke.edu/profile/edna-andrews/

  • Multilingualism, Literacy, and Cultural Preservation in Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the Diaspora

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/ayse.belger

  • Childhood Adversity, Acute Stress and Working Memory in Children and Adolescents

Lab information: https://bergelsonlab.com/

  • The Impact of Electronic Input on the Language Learning of Visually Impaired, Hearing Impaired, and Typically Developing Infants

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/miles.berger

  • Intraoperative EEG Pre-Burst Suppression as a Predictor of Postoperative Delirium
  • APOE2 Effects on Alzheimer's Disease Biomarkers and Cognition

Lab information: https://bilbolab.com/

  • Neuroimmune Regulation of Dopaminergic Circuitry throughout Adolescent in the Dorsal Striatum
  • The Role of Inflammation in Maternal Diet-Induced Sex-Specific Behavioral Differences
  • Impacts of Maternal Mouse Diet
  • Healing the Brain by Healing the Gut: Microbiome Modulation Prevents Social Behavior Deficits following Prenatal Exposure to Environmental Stressors
  • Cross-Fostering Influences the Effects of Air Pollution and Prenatal Stress on Social Behavior

 

Lab information: https://www.neuro.duke.edu/research/faculty-labs/calakos-lab

  • DYT1 Dystonia Impairs eIF2A Signaling through Nuclear Sequestration of the Proteasome

More information: https://medicine.duke.edu/profile/jonathan-edward-campbell

  • Investigating how the CNS Engages Alpha-Cell GPCRs to Initiate Glucagon Secretion during Counter Regulation of Hypoglycemia

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/xi2.chen

  • Investigating Macular Edema in Preterm Infants by Examining Microvascular Patterns using OCT-Angiography

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/o.chibafalek

  • Exploring the Mechanistic Role of A-synuclein in the Nucleus: Insights from Familiar Parkinson's Disease
  • The Role of DNA Methylation at SNCA Intron1 in Gene Regulation: Mechanistic Understanding of Parkinson's and Implications for Gene Therapy

Lab information: https://www.braintoollab.com/

  • Autonomous Brain Tumor Boundary Identification in Secondary Brain Metastases

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/simon.davis

  • How does Cross-Hemispheric Connectivity Impact Cognition in Healthy and MCI-AD Older Adults?

Lab information: https://www.imclab.org/

  • The Structural Correlates of Moral Foundation in Younger Children and Older Adults
  • Investigating Age-Related Differences in Moral Judgments and Resting-State Functional Connectivity

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/christopher.donnelly

  • Behavioral Characterization of Humanized Mice: A Platform to Understand Chronic Graft- Versus Host Disease-Associated Pain?
  • STING Signaling in Peripheral Sensory Neurons Confers Protective Immunity against Listeria Monocytogenes Infection

Lab information: https://drealab.weebly.com/

  • Oxytocin and Vasopressin 1A Receptor Neuroanatomy in Monogamous and Non-Monogamous Eulemur Species

Lab information: https://www.neuro.duke.edu/research/faculty-labs/dzirasa-lab

  • Brain-Wide Spatiotemporal Dynamics Underlying Depression

Lab information: https://www.egnerlab.org/

  • Neural Evidence of Control State Reinstatement: an fMRI Study

Lab information: https://sites.duke.edu/eroglulab/

  • Discovery of a Novel Mechanism in Astrocyte-Microglia Crosstalk

Lab information: https://sites.duke.edu/deed/

  • Asymmetry in Manual Exposures during Naturalistic, Caregiver-Infant Play and Communication Development in 9-24-Month-Old Infants and Toddlers
  • Resting-State Functional Connectivity of the Ventral Attention Network and Non-Clinical Anxiety in Early Childhood
  • Amygdala-mPFC Functional Connectivity and its Relationship to Emotion Regulation in Preschool-Aged Children

Lab information: https://sites.duke.edu/dukeidlab/

  • Multiple Identity Mindset, Flexible Thinking, and Cross-Race Interactions

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/beth.gifford

  • Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Levels

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/kirby.gottschalk

  • RSAD1 in Alzheimer's Disease

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/ahmad.hariri

  • Is Sleep Reflected in the Brain: Functional Connectivity Patterns and Disordered Sleep
  • Graph Theoretical Analysis of fMRI: Test-Retest Reliability of Common and Innovative Approaches to Network Neuroscience

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/deborah.jenson 

  • An Analysis of French and English Indo-Caribbean Literary Depiction of Indentured Servitude and its Associated Neurological Implications 

Lab information: https://www.neuro.duke.edu/research/faculty-labs/kantor-lab

  • Cis-Regulatory Elements in HIV-Based Vector Transcription

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/richard.keefe

  • Auditory Emotion Recognition in Individuals at High Risk for Psychosis

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/ckuhn

  • Novel In-Vivo Fast Scan Cyclic Voltammetry Method Quantitates Phasic and Tonic Dopamine, MDPV Simultaneously in Adult and Adolescent Rats

Lab information: http://www.labarlab.com/

  • Emotional Regulation of Moral Memories

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/jason.luck

  • Quantifying the Association between Oculomotor Response and Sub-Concussive Loading among High School Football Players using Deep Learning
  • Oculomotor Responses as an Assessment for Subconcussive Loading in the Pediatric Population

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/rajendra.morey

  • Impacts of mTBI and Subconcussive Head Injury in Military Veterans
  • More than an Increase in Sea Levels: The Impact of Climate Change on Mental Illness Prevalence

Lab information: https://anesthesiology.duke.edu/research/nackley-lab

  • Generation and Validation of a Novel Adipocyte-Specific Adrb3KO Mouse Model

Lab information: https://sites.duke.edu/rubinlab/

  • Tonic Immobility Knowledge, Sexual Assault Related PTSD Symptom Impact, and the Peritraumatic Tonic Immobility PTSD Treatment Model

Lab information: https://www.mcablab.science/

  • Dopamine Modulation of Preferences for Equity in Economic Exchange
  • Individual Differences in Grit and Physical Activity
  • Drugs, Dopamine, and Dollars: Subjective Responses to Dextro-amphetamine are related to fMRI Anticipatory Responses to Monetary Reward
  • Examining the Effectiveness of Neural and Behavioral Predictors of Physical Activity
  • Digital Neurointerventions: Self-Efficacy, Subclinical Depression and Motivating Physical Activity

Lab information: https://www.mindatlargelab.com/index.html

  • The Mystical Experience: Cognitive and Personality Traits in Psychedelic Users

Lab information: https://sites.duke.edu/shinoharalab/

  • Neutrophil Dectin-1 Signaling Negatively Regulates T Cell Proliferation
  • Investigating ASC Isoforms in Astrocytes

Lab information: https://sites.duke.edu/silverlab/

  • The Role of Eif4a3 in Axonal Development

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/moria.smoski

  • Resilience and  Psychological Functioning in the Context of Infertility
  • The Neuroendocrinological Underpinnings of Affective Responding within Anhedonia

Lab information: https://soderlinglab.cellbio.duke.edu/research

  • Uncovering Protein Localization at Inhibitory Synapses

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/hss

  • The Effects of Adolescent Intermittent Ethanol Exposure on a Memory-Related Hippocampal Circuit
  • Hippocampal-Hypothalamic Circuit that Mediates Anxiety-Like Behavior

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/maggie.sweitzer

  • Neural Correlates of Social Reward in Smoking and Depression

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/eric.thompson

  • The Role of Abelson (ABL) Family Kinases in Medulloblastoma Cell Invasion, Proliferation, and Migration

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/henry.tseng

  • Optineurin Attenuates Oxidative Stress in Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration

Lab information: https://www.neuro.duke.edu/research/faculty-labs/volkan-lab

  • The Involvement of IG Superfamily Cell Adhesion Molecules in the Development of Olfactory Circuit Architecture

Lab information: https://neurosurgery.duke.edu/research/faculty-research-and-labs/waitku…

  • Role of SMARCAL1 in Pediatric Malignant Gliomas with ARTX Mutations
  • Identification and Characterization of STAT3 Post Translation Modifications in the U251 Glioblastoma Cell Line

Lab information: https://www.neuro.duke.edu/research/faculty-labs/west-lab

  • Utilizing Novel Epigenomic Editing Tools to Regulate the Expression of the Immediate Early Gene Arc

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/williams

  • Exploring the Proteomic Implications of Therapeutic Intervention with Physical Activity in a Female Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease
  • The Role of Arginine Bioavailability and Exercise in a Female Model of Menopause and Alzheimer's Disease
  • Neuroprotective Effects of Exercise on Dysfunctional Cognition and Ceramide Metabolism in a Female Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/douglas.williamson

  • The Role of Aging and Tryptophan Hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) on Inflammation in a Mouse Model of Depression

Lab information: https://www.woldorfflab.org/

  • Does Spontaneous Prestimulus Alpha Power Support Conscious Visual Perception? A Meta-Analysis 
  • Disambiguating the Neural Processes Underlying Expectancy and Reward-Feedback Processing
  • Investigating the Neural Mechanisms by which Perceived Value Impacts Prospective Memory
  • The Learning of Reward Associations Bases on Spatial Location

Lab information: https://www.rebeccayang.org/

  • Spatial Learning Differences between Male and Female Drosophila

Lab information: https://people.duke.edu/~hy43/

  • Neural Mechanisms Underlying the Use of Sensory Feedback during Fine Motor Behavior

More information: https://scholars.duke.edu/person/zucke001

  • Using Visualization to Reduce Test Anxiety in Collegiate Student Anxiety 
  • Freshmen Attitudes towards Mental Health Treatment: The Effects of Psychoeducational Dialogues