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Welcome to the Department of Neurosciences

Research and Graduate Training

RESEARCH carried out by 45 primary and secondary faculty members (faculty link at left) covers a broad spectrum of modern basic and translational neuroscience. Current basic research being carried out is relevant to Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injury, developmental disorders such as autism and Rett syndrome, brain tumors, mood and other psychiatric disorders, multiple sclerosis, and the use of stem cell based therapies.

A vibrant and highly productive NIH funded GRADUATE TRAINING PROGRAM (link at left) has produced many PhD and MD/PhD alumni who have gone on to successful careers in academia and industry. One feature that makes our department a particularly attractive training environment is the highly interactive atmosphere, characterized by extensive collaboration among laboratories and with other departments at the University. Thesis research opportunities are available with more than 30 trainers.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Neurosciences Department is to carry out world class research that advances our knowledge of how the nervous system develops and functions and how it is altered by disease, injury, genetic, and environmental factors. Neuroscience is inherently multidisciplinary and integrative and solving significant outstanding problems in this field requires substantive interactions between those working at different levels of neural organization: molecular, cellular, systems/circuit, and behavioral/cognitive. To accomplish its mission the department has assembled a group of primary faculty members who in aggregate have this diverse skill set. We also facilitate the research of 30 secondary faculty members and other basic and clinical neuroscientists within the institution.

Our goals are: 1) To understand how circuits in the brain, spinal cord, and autonomic nervous system are assembled during normal development, 2) To understand how these circuits function to enable normal sensation, movement, homeostasis, learning and memory, and higher cognitive functions, and 3) To use this understanding of basic mechanisms to provide new strategies and tools to treat a variety of disorders of the nervous system. Our mission is also to train a new generation of neuroscientists, both basic and clinical, and to provide a strong foundation in understanding normal function of the nervous system and how this is altered by disease or injury to medical students. By serving as a focus for neuroscience research and training throughout the institution, the department has facilitated important advances in our understanding of mechanisms underlying normal neuronal function and in developing potential therapies to treat the diseased or injured nervous system.

In the Spotlight

Department of Neurosciences Researchers Use Skin Cancer Drug to Reverse Alzheimer's Disease in Mice

Cramer PE, Cirrito JR, Wesson DW, Lee CY, Karlo JC, Zinn AE, Casali BT, Restivo JL, Goebel WD, James MJ, Brunden KR, Wilson DA, Landreth GE “ApoE-Directed Therapeutics Rapidly Clear β-Amyloid and Reverse Deficits in AD Mouse Models,” Science 1217697 Published online 9 February 2012

“We have successfully reversed all of the known pathological features and behavioral deficits found in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. Never before has anyone observed clearance of amyloid plaques with such speed in mouse models.” (Gary Landreth, Department of Neurosciences, CWRU, commenting on the research in a Scientific American article)

Paige Cramer, graduate student and lead author

Gary Landreth, Professor of Neurosciences
CWRU School of Medicine

Department of Neurosciences Researchers Restore Breathing in Rats with Spinal Cord Injuries

Warren J. Alilain, Kevin P. Horn, Hongmei Hu, Thomas E. Dick and Jerry Silver “Functional regeneration of respiratory pathways after spinal cord injury,” Nature 475, pp. 196-201, 2011.

“I think simply, in terms of what it would take if I were a nerve fiber, stuck in the scar, to get where I need to go. You need fundamental tools. You need a bridge to get to where you're going, a bridge that will get you over long distances. One that will keep you alive, nurture you, like fertilizer. The nervous system is like a plant. It doesn't want to die. You can take a plant that's just about dead, and if you give it the right soil and some water and a little fertilizer, some magic can occur. All life wants to survive.” (Jerry Silver, Department of Neurosciences, CWRU, commenting in the Plain Dealer on the robust restoration of respiratory pathways after spinal cord injury)

Warren Alilain (L) and Jerry Silver (R) (Photo: Lynn Ischay, The Plain Dealer)

Jerry Silver, Professor of Neurosciences, CWRU School of Medicine (Photo: Lynn Ischay, The Plain Dealer)


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