Neuroscience lab groups in BMED are actively engaged in studies of synaptic physiology, CNS disease mechanisms and imaging, as well as basic structural, functional, and pharmacological studies on neurotransmitter receptors and transporters.

While Neuroscience is fast becoming an area of interest embraced across much of the campus, its development can be traced directly back to BMED faculty and the creation of the Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience. Much of the research within the department is targeted at molecular and cellular levels, with lab groups using biochemical and biophysical approaches to investigate mechanisms that underlie neuronal signaling and neurodegeneration. These projects rely on wide range of approaches and experimental models, including: tissue culture, in vitro electrophysiology, optogenetics, immunohistochemistry, fluorescence imaging, neurochemistry, transgenic mice, and behavioral testing. Strong ties also exist with our Medicinal Chemistry groups, where projects target the design and synthesis of novel small molecules with which to probe a variety of neurochemical processes. Indeed, a number of these projects have become more translational in nature and are yielding new leads for CNS therapeutics, diagnostics and imaging agents. A more detailed list of BMED faculty interests in Neuroscience can be found below.

Students working in the Neuroscience labs have pursued graduate degrees in:

Participating Faculty

Richard Bridges

Regents Professor; Director of Neuroscience

Understanding the neurochemical roles that CNS glutamate transporters on neurons, astrocytes, and microglia play in brain cell signaling and neurodegenerative mechanisms.

Philippe Diaz

Associate Professor

Kasper Hansen

Associate Professor

Studies on the structure, function, and molecular pharmacology of glutamate receptors and evaluation of their roles in synaptic transmission, as well as their involvement in psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Travis Hughes

Associate Professor

Several prescription ant-diabetes drugs show anti-Alzheimer's activity. We seek to understand the molecular basis of this activity and to develop improved drugs with enhanced effectiveness.

Nathan Insel, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience

Michael Kavanaugh

Professor, Director McLaughlin Research Institute

Diana I Lurie


Identification and isolation of phytochemical constituents from Ayurvedic plants that inhibit the release of inflammatory cytokines from microglial cells of the central nervous system.  

Nicholas R. Natale

Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Sarjubhai Patel

Assistant Research Professor

Studying the role of microRNA (miRNA) in regulating oxidative stress related-genes pre and post-concussion and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Travis Wheeler

Associate Professor