Our History

Neuroscience research at Hopkins has a long and illustrious history. This tradition started in 1906 with Harvey Cushing’s pioneering studies on the role of the pituitary in the control of growth.

A rich heritage in the field of neurophysiology and neuropharmacology extend from Vernon Mountcastle’s discovery in the 1950’s of the columnar organization of the neocortex, a universal organizing principle of brain function, to Sol Snyder’s discovery of the opiate receptors to King Wai Yau’s studies of the physiological mechanisms underlying visual signal transduction. Mountcastle’s legacy has continued with faculty investigating visual and somatosensory perception at the systems level. Our faculty have elucidated many of the molecular underpinnings of visual and olfactory signal transduction and the molecular and physiological mechanisms of synaptic plasticity. Neuroscience faculty have discovered new macromolecules that repel as well as attract neurons during development and recently discovered novel photoreceptors in the eye that regulate the body’s biological clocks. 

The role of glia in the regulation of nervous system function in health and disease has been a focus of several labs at Hopkins. Recently, faculty have been dissecting cellular circuits involved in sensory processing, reward and aversion, social interactions and spatial navigation We have also made advances in understanding diseases of the nervous system, elucidating molecular causes of stroke damage, discovering new molecules that stimulate the re-growth of damaged neurons and studying genes involved in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, schizophrenia and intellectual disability. The list of our accomplishments is impressive and ongoing. To learn more we invite you to review the profiles of our faculty.

Top to bottom:  Harvey Cushing MD / Vernon B. Mountcastle MD / Solomon H. Snyder MD, DSc, DPhil (Hon Causa)