Faculty of the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology are neuroscientists, with research interests in the structure and function of the nervous system. The long term goal of this research effort is to understand the normal human brain as well as the mechanisms of neurological disease and injury, so that effective therapeutic treatments can be developed.
Scientific research can be viewed as two inter-related fields of study; basic scienctific research and clinically applied research. Neuroscientists who work in the basic sciences, study fundamental biological principles of brain structure and function of normal and of diseased or damaged brains. Neuroscientists who work as clinical researchers, then, use these discoveries to provide a framework for developing therapeutic interventions that can be applied to patients through clinical trials.
For example, basic scientists may study the structure and function of synapses in the brain, and how normal activity can be altered to produce epileptic seizures. Clinical investigators, then, take this understanding to test the efficacy of anti-seizure medications in human epilepsy patients.
The neuroscientific research in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology is both comprehensive and interrelated. While Anatomy & Neurobiology faculty invest most of their efforts in basic research, faculty members also are extending this work towards clinical trials for new treatments for spinal cord injuries and epilepsy. Using state-of-the-art techniques in genetic engineering, scientists have generated animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, aging, spinal cord injury, stem cell therapies, stroke, hearing disorders, cognitive decline and others. These ‘model systems’ allow investigators to study the molecular and cellular bases of a wide range of human neurological diseases.
Neurological diseases present a huge cost for our society; a cost that can be measured in human suffering, loss of productivity and financial strain. Research projects undertaken by Anatomy & Neurobiology faculty are laying the ground work for treatments for neurological diseases. With over 25 scientists and 30+ graduate students, some of the brightest minds in the world of neuroscience work everyday, looking for the next breakthrough.