Neuroscience research has changed dramatically in the past half century, and the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School has been a leader in its evolution. Founded in 1966, we were the first neurobiology department in this country, created by scientists from various disciplines who came together to unlock the secrets of the brain. Today, our international team of talented investigators uses innovative imaging technologies, genetics, new methods of electrophysiological recording, biochemistry, molecular biology, and next-generation sequencing and bioinformatic analyses to decipher patterns of gene expression in neurons, synaptic transmission, neuronal development and function and to understand how neurons process sensory information and drive specific behaviors.
The HMS neurobiology community, however, is far greater than its collection of outstanding, collegial investigators. We are also the Harvard Brain Initiative, a pan-Harvard enterprise that aims to connect neuroscientists with investigators in allied fields, in a concerted effort to discover and describe the physical bases of mental activity. We are the Program in Neuroscience, which supports talented graduate students interested in conducting neuroscience research. We are the faculty from other HMS departments and the School’s affiliated hospitals who do neuroscience research, attend our seminar series and train neuroscience students. We are the talented and terrific postdocs that come from all corners of the earth to do neuroscience at the top neuroscience research institution in the world. We are the excellent research assistants so integral to our research efforts.
We are our overwhelmingly successful seminar series that we hold in conjunction with the F.M. Kirby Neuroscience Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and we are our named annual lectures and symposia: the Lefler Symposium, the Kuffler Lecture, the Bertarelli Symposium, the Khodadad Symposium, and the Brooks Lecture. We are our Friday noon pizza-and-research talks where students and postdocs present their work, often unpublished and in progress, in a relaxed and friendly environment. We are our Friday evening beer hours, hosted by a different lab each week. And we are our annual retreat, an event that brings us together to present our work, to learn from one another, and to socialize in a beautiful New England venue.
Together we are the Department of Neurobiology, committed to one mission: to understand the workings of the brain through basic research and to use that knowledge to work toward preventive and therapeutic methods that alleviate neurological diseases.