Letter From the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine. Steeped in history, the Department has its origins as the Department of Anatomy at the dawn of the last century. The emergence of neuroscience as a discipline in the middle part of the twentieth century brought an evolution in our department to Anatomy and Neurobiology in 1975. With the explosive growth of the neurosciences over the past four decades taking center stage and shaping its future, the Department was renamed in 2015 as the Department of Neuroscience.

Anatomy represents and will continue as a fundamental cornerstone of the teaching mission of the Department. Indeed, we take pride in the essential role of our department in medical education, and our professors are perennial recipients of prestigious teaching awards at Washington University School of Medicine.

In its research mission, the Department focuses on the neuroscience of brain development and function, with special emphasis on discovering and elucidating the fundamental mechanisms that govern neural circuit assembly and activity. The Department also features research at the interface of neuroscience with neuropsychiatry, with particular relevance to intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders. Our faculty members are international leading scientists in broad areas of fundamental neuroscience including human brain imaging, evolutionary neurobiology, primate neurophysiology, systems neuroscience in genetically tractable organisms, behavioral neurobiology, developmental neurobiology, ion channel physiology, cellular imaging, neural signal transduction and neuroepigenetics.

Extensive collaborations within the Department as well as with many other laboratories interconnect our research with those of other departments around the School and Washington University.

The Department provides an exciting and supportive environment for training postdoctoral investigators and staff scientists as well as graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate PhD and MD/PhD students in our department are enrolled in several Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) programs including the Program in Neuroscience.

The activities of the Department are coordinated by a group of highly professional administrators and staff who strive to provide high quality support toward the research and teaching missions of the Department.

The Department supports and benefits from outstanding shared research facilities at the School and University. The Department of Neuroscience together with the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology established the Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging (WUCCI), a world-class center that combines education and training, technology development, and access to state-of-the art cellular imaging for the entire research community at Washington University.

I invite you to explore our website to learn about the Department and its members.

Linda J. Richards AO, FAA, FAHMS, PhD
Edison Professor of Neurobiology
Chair, Department of Neuroscience
Director, McDonnell Center for Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology
Spokesperson, International Brain Initiative