The Neurobiology Department, the first of its kind in the country, was established to bring together faculty of many disciplines including biochemistry, molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, and medicine, to study the development and function of the brain.
Our scientists now pursue basic research programs that strive to understand how complex neural circuits are shaped and reshaped during the development of the brain and in the adult brain to generate thoughts and memories, to process sensory information and to drive behavior. Our studies have direct bearing on neurological diseases such as neurodegeneration, disorders of cognitive function, epilepsy and disorders of sensory information processing, and offer insights into potential therapies.
The faculty, staff and students of the department have contributed breakthrough discoveries in neuroscience. We hope that this website will help you understand what makes the department an exciting place to learn, teach and work. Explore and enjoy!
In 2004, Harvard established the Center for Brain Science (CBS) within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. CBS brings neuroscientists together with physical scientists and engineers to develop new tools for neuroscience. Members are drawn from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Neurobiology at the Harvard Medical School, the School of Engineering, and the Harvard-affiliated hospitals.
The Harvard Brain Science (HBI) represents a "One Harvard" approach to coordinating and serving the neuroscience research, teaching and medical community as a whole.
Explore their site: brain.harvard.edu!
How is the brain wired to extract information from the environment and convert that information into action? To answer this question, Bob Datta, MD '04, PhD '04, and his lab study mice, specifically their olfactory system. They study how scents from food, predators, or mates trigger activity in specific neural circuits to enable mice to eat, for example, or to avoid being eaten. His team thinks this work will teach us fundamental lessons about how the brain takes information and turns it into action. Read more »