Neuroscience is the collective scientific effort to understand the brain. It is an interdisciplinary science collaborating with fields such as chemistry, engineering, and psychology. The Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota Medical School is committed to providing excellence in research, education, and public service

About the department


Neuroscience faculty have a wide range of research interests and expertise, with investigations ranging from molecular to systems neuroscience.

neuroscience educationEducation

The Department of Neuroscience is home to the undergraduate neuroscience major. The University also offers a graduate degree in neuroscience, as well as neuroscience courses and seminars.

public servicePublic service

The Department of Neuroscience supports a number of programs that bring neuroscience into the community, such as Brain Awareness WeekBrainU, and Minnesota State Brain Bee.

Department news

Masino image

Congratulations to Dr. Mark Masino on receiving a new, five-year NINDS R01 entitled, "Dopaminergic modulation of spinal locomotor circuits."  For more information on his research, see the Neuroscience Faculty pages at: 

Alfonso Araque image

Congratulations to Dr. Alfonso Araque (pictured) and Dr. A. David Redish on receiving a new grant award from NINDS titled, "Astrocyte-neuron interaciton in behavior driven by striatal information processing."  This grant will run from 2016 - 2020.  For more information on their research, see the Neuroscience Faculty pages at: 

Congratulations to Dr. Lin on his promotion to Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Neuroscience!  See more about Dr. Lin's work and research at the following link: 

Silvain Lesne Lab

Congratulations to Dr. Lesne on his promotion to Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Neuroscience!  See more about Dr. Lesne's work and research at the following link:

McNamara Lecture hall

The Inaugural 2016 Wallin Neuroscience Discovery Day featured plenary speaker, Dr. Thomas Südhof, of Stanford University and Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine (2013).  The title of his lecture was,"Neurexins in synapse specification and synaptic transmission: implications for neuropsychiatric disorders.” 


Congratulations to Dr. Michael Lee who has received a $2.2 million dollar award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for a project titled, "Pathological role of c-Abi in alpha-synucleinoapathy."  

Congratulations to Drs. Michael Lee and Dezhi Liao, who have been awarded a prestigious $1 million dollar Mayo Partnership Grant by the state of Minnesota.  The grant, "Molecular Mechanism of Novel Small Molecule Therapeutics for Alzheimer's Disease," partners with Dr. Eugenia Trushina, Neurology and Pharmacology, at the Mayo Clinic. 

Dr. Esther Krook-Magnuson is using a technique called optogenetics to shed light on what happens during an epileptic seizure. Optogenetics is a new field that has been picking up steam in the last five to ten years. Esther's work will help scientists and physicians to better understand brain circuits so that they can develop targeted therapies to help stop seizures.

The AAMC and the Group on Research Advancement and Development (GRAND) recently held a contest that asked member institutions to submit videos capturing the importance of basic science research. Dr. David Redish, Ph.D., won second place over two dozen entries. 

Congratulations to Dr. Vulchanova for her recent NIH U18 Cooperative Agreement award for, Selective Peripheral Neuromodulation through Organ-Specific AAV-Mediated Gene Transfer. Dr. Vulchanova's grant will provide proof-of-concept for a therapeutic approach to the modulation of nerve activity based on delivery of genes with the goal of enabling selective neurmodulation. The study will also test tools that may help to control the peripheral neural circuits that regulate individual organ.


Research spotlight

Mechanisms of neurodegenerative disordersSilvain Lesne Lab

Dr. Sylvain Lesné’s laboratory aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms triggered by proteins abnormally aggregating in cerebral brain tissues during the course of neurodegenerative disorders, with a specific focus on Alzheimer’s disease. 

Seminar calendar



Research ethics at the University of Minnesota

We are committed to protecting research participants, upholding ethical standards, and improving our practice at every step of our work.