About Us

We are on the threshold of an unprecedented period of discovery in neuroscience. Recent advances in genetics and cellular and molecular biology have provided remarkable insights into the control of neural development, the potential repair of neural damage, and the elucidation of basic mechanisms underlying learning and memory, as well as disorders of the nervous system.

In parallel, the advent of tools that can be used to examine neural function at a systems level (e.g., fMRI and computational techniques) have allowed data from molecular and cellular studies to be integrated with aspects of complex behaviors. This progress stands us in good stead for translating basic science findings to clinically relevant outcomes.

Neuroscience tends to be an eclectic discipline, and students in the department examine the structural and functional organization of the nervous system from multiple scientific perspectives and using a variety of techniques. Though departmental life is centered around the laboratory, students and faculty stay connected through a series of weekly seminars, works-in-progress sessions, journal clubs, and mini-courses on select topics. We have a strong commitment to graduate education, and the department offers a series of three Neuroscience courses augmented by select advanced programs. We encourage prospective students to stop by and see what our program has to offer.

Founding Principle

The Department of Neuroscience has been guided since its inception by the principle that Neuroscience is not a discipline, but a way of thinking about and approaching problems of nervous system structure and function. This philosophy has sustained a climate of strong and effective multidisciplinary collaborations among electrophysiologists, cellular and molecular neurobiologists, neurochemists, cognitive neuroscientists, etc. The continuing success of our faculty and students in the competitive universe of neuroscience discourse testifies to the validity of this doctrine.

A Brief History

The Department of Neuroscience was founded in 1974 to create a formal academic program for enhancing collaborative research and training in studies of a wide variety of nervous systems. Dr. Dominick P. Purpura, founding chairperson, also served as Director of the Rose F. Kennedy Center, a relationship that facilitated the growth and development of the Department within the Center. Following Dr. Purpura's departure to Stanford as Dean, Dr. Michael V.L. Bennett assumed the chairpersonship and was succeeded by Dr. Joseph Arezzo as Interim Chair. In 1999, Dr. Donald Faber became chairperson of Neuroscience and Director of the Kennedy Center, thus ensuring a continuing growth of the Department within the Center, which over time has become a center for brain sciences. Presently, Dr. Adam Kohn has assumed the role of Interim chairperson, succeeding Dr. Kamran Khodakhah.