Welcome to the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. The Department, founded in 1980 by brain science pioneer Sol Snyder, is one of the first Neuroscience Departments in the country. With 34 primary faculty and 68 secondary faculty conducting research in all areas of neuroscience ranging from molecular and cellular to systems neuroscience, our departmental approach and scope is in-depth and broad reaching. Current research ranges from investigating the development of the nervous system, synaptic plasticity and the molecular and cellular mechanisms of learning and memory to the neural basis of higher brain function such as perception and decision-making. Our faculty are also at the forefront of research into the molecular mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s’ disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), schizophrenia, depression, drug addiction, mental retardation and autism.
Neuroscience research at Hopkins has a long and illustrious history. This tradition started with Harvey Cushing’s pioneering studies in 1906 on the role of the pituitary in the control of growth. A rich heritage in the field of neurophysiology extend from Vernon Mountcastle’s discovery in the 1950’s of the columnar organization of the cortex, a universal organizing principle of brain function, to King Wai Yau’s studies of the physiological mechanisms underlying visual signal transduction. Major advances in the neurosciences have emerged from Johns Hopkins over the last 25 years. Opiate receptors in the brain were first identified here by Sol Snyder. 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 recently discovered novel photoreceptors in the eye that regulate the body’s biological clocks, and new macromolecules that repel as well as attract neurons during development. 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 and Alzheimer’s disease. The list of our accomplishments is impressive. To learn more we invite you to review the profiles of our faculty.
Our Neuroscience Graduate Program, inaugurated in 1985, is one of the first in the country and an international leader. Administered by the Neuroscience Department, the Graduate Program is centrally organized, forming a coherent and nurturing academic environment. This structure supports the goal of maximum one-on-one contact between faculty and students. Our graduate courses provide a solid foundation in molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience and are designed to give students rigorous training for their career but also allow them to spend most of their time in the laboratory not in the classroom. Graduates of the program are among the finest in the country. Students who have trained with our faculty occupy positions ranging from scientists at major research institutions around the world, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, departmental chairs, editors of a major neuroscience journal and leadership positions at major biotech-pharmaceutical companies.
One of the distinctive hallmarks of the Department of Neuroscience is the level of interaction and collaboration between departmental laboratories and laboratories in other departments at Johns Hopkins. This exceptional collegial environment makes The Department of Neuroscience a unique, exciting and dynamic place to do science. Warm interpersonal interactions are a notable theme of Hopkins Neuroscience Department. Just as important as scientific excellence is our focus on science as fun. Departmental activities including journal club luncheons, departmental retreats and other gatherings are part of our commitment to expanding ways to creatively work and expand our knowledge together. Coupled with the fascination of cutting-edge brain research, neuroscience at Johns Hopkins is an exhilarating experience.
This website offers you an introduction to the Department of Neuroscience. Feel free to contact any of us by email or telephone for additional information.
Rick Huganir, PhD