- Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program | Neuroscience
Monocyte-derived microglia like cells (in green) invade the cerebellum of an adult mouse after bone marrow transplantation and are found in close contact with Purkinje neurons (in red). This treatment in a mouse model of the neurodevelopmental disease Rett syndrome results in arrest of pathology. Courtesy of James Cronk, Dr. Jony Kipnis' Lab
Neuroscientists at UVA explore basic questions about the workings of the brain, the neural bases for mental disorders, neurodegeneration, and other common brain dysfunction.

Sensory systems, behavior, neurodegeneration and memory loss, addiction and motor systems are just a few examples of areas within neuroscience that are current topics of study in our program.  It is an exciting time to be a neuroscientist.  New advanced techniques allow for macro (fMRI, Optigenetics) and micro (capillary electrophoresis, electrophysiology) analysis of neuronal systems. The Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Virginia is training experimentalists in basic science and translational research, always with an eye on disease relevance.  As such, we stress didactic learning for the first year and experiential laboratory-based learning in the second year and beyond.

Our diverse and interdepartmental faculty allows for dynamic, cross-disciplinary training in a variety of basic and translational neuroscience research areas that include the following:  Building and Wiring the BrainSensory systemsNeurodegeneration and Brain InjuryBehavior and EpigeneticsGlial and Immune Cells in Health and DiseaseNeurodevelopment, Neurocognitive and Neuropsychiatric Disorders; and the Neurobiology of Ion Channels.


  • Douglas A. Bayliss
    Mechanisms of neuromodulation in central neurons
  • Mark P. Beenhakker
    Circuit mechanisms of sleep and epilepsy
  • Edward H. Bertram
    Studies of various aspects of epilepsy using anatomy and in vivo and in vitro physiology.
  • George S. Bloom
    Pathogenic mechanisms in Alzheimer's Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders
  • Peter C. Brunjes
    Use the olfactory system to examine general problems in the brain maturation, including the role of afferent activity on tissue development and the interplay between evolution and development.
  • James A. Coan
    Neuroscience of Emotional Expression and Individual Emotion-Regulation Capabilities
  • Barry G. Condron
    Regulation and Function Serotonergic Neurons During Development
  • Jessica J. Connelly
    Epigenetic mechanisms involved in complex human disease
  • Jeffrey T. Corwin
    Regeneration and Developmental Biology of the Hearing and Balance Organs in the Vertebrate Ear.
  • Carl E. Creutz
    Calcium-dependent, membrane-binding proteins and mechanisms of exocytosis
  • Christopher Deppmann
    Elucidating and Understanding the Mechanisms Underlying Nervous System Development
  • Thomas Jason Druzgal
    Multi-modal brain MRI to study different aspects of neurodegenerative diseases. Effects of mild traumatic brain injury on student athletes. Parkinson's Disease and essential tremor.
  • Noelle Dwyer
    Neural Development; Cell Division in Neural Stem Cells; Axon Outgrowth and Guidance
  • Alev Erisir
    Developmental Plasticity and Neuropathology of Synaptic Circuitries.
  • Wolfgang O. Friesen
    Neuroethology of animal locomotion
  • Felicia Gaskin
    Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune disease, cytoskeletal proteins, microtubule assembly
  • Alban Gaultier
    Exploring new therapeutics avenues to cure Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Howard P. Goodkin
    Status epilepticus
  • Robert M. Grainger
    Molecular embryology--gene regulation in cells committed to specific developmental lineages
  • Patrick A. Grant
    Transcription; Chromatin Modifications, Neurodegenerative Disease, Cancer
  • Tobias Grossmann
    Developmental Social Neuroscience (with a specific focus on infancy)
  • Ali D. Guler
    Behavior and epigenetics; Building and wiring the brain; Neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders; Biological timing: circadian rhythms.
  • Patrice G. Guyenet
    Neural control of blood pressure and respiration
  • John T. Hackett
    Synaptic Transmission
  • Adrian J. Halme
    Regeneration and Systemic Responses to Tissue Damage
  • Tajie H. Harris
    Immune response to infectious disease in the CNS
  • Madaline B. Harrison
  • David Hill
    Development and plasticity of sensory systems
  • Jay Hirsh
    Molecular genetics; development and function of neurotransmitter-synthesizing neurons in Drosophila
  • Vesna Jevtovic-Todorovic
    Mechanisms by which anesthetic drugs interact with neurotransmitter systems in the central nervous system to produce pharmacological and toxicological effects.
  • Jaideep Kapur
    Pathophysiology of Status Epilepticus; Plasticity of GABAergic Synaptic Transmission
  • Masashi Kawasaki
    Neuroethology of electric fish
  • Raymond E. Keller
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis
  • Jonathan Kipnis
    Neuroimmunology and glia biology in cognition, neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration
  • Sarah C Kucenas
    The role of glia in the development, maintenance and regeneration of the nervous system
  • Kyle Lampe
    Neural tissue engineering, biomaterials, drug delivery, redox regulation of stem cell fate, engineering cell-interactive microenvironments
  • Kevin S. Lee
    Neuronal Vulnerability: A Study of Cellular Mechanism
  • William B. Levy
    The neural bases of cognition; Computational theories of brain function
  • Jeh-Ping Liu
    Spinal Cord Development and Motor Neuron Differentiation
  • Xiaowei Lu
    Developmental regulation of planar cell polarity in the mammalian nervous system
  • John R. Lukens
    Neuroinflammatory disease
  • Wendy J. Lynch
    Behavioral Pharmacology, Sex Differences, Animal Models of Addiction
  • Kevin R. Lynch
    Chemical biology of sphingosine 1-phosphate
  • Mani S. Mahadevan
    Molecular Mechanisms of Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy
  • James W. Mandell
    Identification of Novel Biomarkers for Inflammatory Myopathies
  • Carol A. Manning
    Dementia neurodegenerative disease & cognition
  • Michael J McConnell
    The Cause and Consequence of Somatic Mosaicism in Neurons
  • C. Daniel Meliza
    Neural Mechanisms of Pattern Learning and Recognition in the Auditory System
  • Deforest Mellon
    Sensory System Organization and Development
  • Michael Menaker
    Behavioral and Physiological Analysis of Vertebrate Circadian Rhythms
  • James P. Morris
    Social perception and cognition; Social Neuroscience; Human Neuroscience
  • Manoj Patel
    Modulation of sodium channel gating by beta subunits and novel sodium channel blockers; Synaptic transmission in dorsal horn neurons
  • Edward Perez-Reyes
    Exploring epilepsy circuits then preventing seizures using AAV-based gene therapies.
  • K. Kevin Pfister
    Regulation of Cytoplasmic Dynein for Membrane Bounded Organelle Trafficking in Axons
  • Dennis R. Proffitt
    Human Perception & Cognition
  • Ignacio Provencio
    The Role of Melanopsin Retinal Ganglion Cells in the Photic Regulation of Mammalian Circadian Rhythms
  • Javier Provencio
  • Benjamin W. Purow
    Novel therapeutic approaches to brain cancers and to other neurologic diseases
  • Kodi S. Ravichandran
    Apoptotic cell clearance mechanisms in health and disease
  • Michael M. Scott
    Investigation of the neuronal circuits and epigenetic modifications involved in the control of food and drug reward
  • Jung-Bum Shin
    Auditory Neurobiology
  • Sarah Siegrist
    Regulation of neural stem cell proliferation by extracellular factors, local and systemic. Intrinsic signaling programs regulating neural stem cell fate decisions: death versus survival. Functional and molecular similarities between Drosophila and mammal
  • Nina J. Solenski
    Mechanisms of cerebral ischemia
  • James Radford Stone
    Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Christine I. Thisse
    Molecular Mechanisms of Early Vertebrate Development and Morphogenesis. Application to Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
  • Nassima Ait-Daoud Tiouririne
    Addiction Medicine, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology
  • Slobodan M. Todorovic
    Pharmacology and function of T-type (low-voltage-activated, LVA) calcium channels in sensory transmission.
  • Jeremy B. Tuttle
    Neurodegenerative and Aging Dysfunction at the Cellular Level
  • B. Jill Venton
    Analytical Neurochemistry; Dopamine and Serotonin Neurotransmission in Drosophila; Mechanisms of rapid adenosine signaling in rodents
  • Cedric L. Williams
    Studies of various aspects of learning, memory, olfactory discrimination and explosive detection. We develop computer driven learning programs that produce optimal olfactory discrimination and detection learning in rodents.
  • Bettina Winckler
    Endosomal function and dysfunction in neurons
  • Mary K. Worden
    Hormonal Modulation of Neuromuscular Function
  • Paul A. Yates
    Development and regulation of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and blood vessels as they relate to retinal diseases.
  • Scott O. Zeitlin
    Mechanisms of Huntington's Disease Pathogenesis
  • J. Julius Zhu
    Neural Circuits in Healthy and Diseased Brains
  • Hui Zong
    Mouse models of brain cancers
  • Zhiyi Zuo
    Neuroscience and Anesthetic Neuroprotection