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Department of Neuroscience

Neuroscience is a term coined in the 1960's to define the collective scientific effort to understand the brain and how it controls behavior and perception.  The Department of Neuroscience is committed to providing excellence in research, education and public service.
Blue Astrocyte attached to Black Blood Vessel Glial cells on the surface of the rat retina.
Astrocytes are labeled in blue and Muller cells in yellow and red.  Image by Paulo Kofuji, Teng Wu, Kathleen R. Zahs, and Eric A. Newman.

About the Department

The Department of Neuroscience is part of the University of Minnesota's Medical School. The Medical School and related healthcare professional schools are grouped under the Academic Health Center.


The $50 billion spent annually on Parkinson's and a sister disease is second only to the $172 billion spent on Alzheimer's disease.

No wonder University of Minnesota neuroscientist Michael K. Lee is excited about finding what may be the key to how Parkinson's disease kills neurons. He and his colleagues have discovered that a protein normally present in brain tissue can form clumps inside neurons, which may poison the cells. 

They also found that at least one drug can relieve both the protein clumping and the symptoms in animal models of Parkinson's disease. The work was published in March in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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A first of its kind study aims to answer the questions what makes us age and how aging affects the brain. Apostolos Georgopoulos, Medical School, talks about studying healthy brains with a MEG, which takes an undistorted, highly detailed image of brain activity.

Congratulations to Professor Paul Letourneau!  Seven articles have been written which will appear in the Journal of Developmental Neurobiology. This is a special section of articles devoted to his research, in honor of the beginning of his 65th year.

Tapping into the "babble" between groups of neurons in the brain, University of Minnesota researchers have linked a pattern of signals to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition for which there is no objective test.

Such a test could give doctors a way to diagnose PTSD, assess its severity, and evaluate treatments. It could also guide those who decide who is entitled to disability payments or which soldiers are fit for redeployment.
Leading the study were Apostolos Georgopoulos, Regents Professor of Neuroscience and director of the Brain Sciences Center at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and VA psychologist Brian Engdahl, a clinical associate professor of psychology at the University. The work is published online in IOP Publishing's Journal of Neural Engineering.

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University of Minnesota Medical School professor Janet Dubinsky, Ph.D., has been awarded the Science Educator Award on behalf of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).

A professor in the Department of Neuroscience, Dubinsky actively promotes public education in the field. One of her most significant accomplishments is creating BrainU. In collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota, BrainU brings neuroscience materials and curriculum to middle school and high school teachers; the program has reached teachers in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. As a result, students become more involved in science as the cognitive climate in the classrooms improves. Since its inception, BrainU has reached 140 teachers and tens of thousands of students.

Society for Neuroscience founded the Science Educator Award in 2003 to recognize an outstanding neuroscientist who has made significant contributions in promoting public education and awareness about the field. To date it has more than 40,000 members.

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.