Faculty who study the neuroscience of hearing and vocal communication at the University of Southern
California (USC) established a research training program for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and physician-scientist
scholars starting in 2009: the Hearing and Communication Neuroscience (HCN) Training Program. The
program brings together a broad spectrum of scientists to enhance inter-disciplinary communication, and offers
the advantage of providing research training opportunities that bridge basic science with translational research
and clinical applications. The program serves to reinforce research and training interactions between scientists
who study basic aspects of hearing and vocal communication in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts &
Sciences, the Keck School of Medicine, and the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. The program combines
the strengths of an outstanding group of researchers, the resources of USC graduate programs in
Neuroscience, Development/Stem Cell/Regenerative Medicine, Psychology, and Linguistics, and expertise in
clinical otologic excellence provided by the Department of Otolaryngology. The rationale of this proposal is to
engage predoctoral, postdoctoral, and physician-scientist trainees in a highly interactive and multi-disciplinary
training experience ranging from cell biology to cognitive neuroscience and linguistics that is unfettered by
conventional departmental barriers, and to actively facilitate their development as independent scientists.
We have successfully filled positions with outstanding predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars during the first ten
years of the program. Predoctoral trainees typically join the program during the second year of their graduate
training, whereas the level of seniority of post-doctoral trainees participating in the program varies. All trainees
receive multi-disciplinary training in all aspects of hearing and communication neuroscience, as well as
practical skills that will prepare them for careers in independently-funded research, education, and industry.
The ability to expose trainees directly to both cutting-edge research in basic science as well as ongoing clinical
research and applications is a major strength of the program.