The human brain is perhaps the most complex object known—it has more neurons than the Milky Way galaxy has stars. Understanding how nervous systems are put together, work, and change is one of the main challenges facing biologists today. Through combined electrophysiological, embryological, genetic, and molecular approaches, work in model systems such as C. elegans, Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus, chick, and mice have yielded much of our knowledge of the mechanisms and molecules that underlie the development and function of nervous systems. At the University of Utah we are exceptionally strong in using model systems to study neurobiology, with researchers using all of the major model systems. Other researchers in our program are using human genetics and functional brain imaging to understand the origins and etiology of human neurological diseases. These researchers are brought together by the Neurobiology Interest Group.
Diverse interests of the Neurobiology community
- Developmental Neurobiology
- Stem Cells and Regeneration
- Synaptic Function and Receptor Biology
- System Neuroscience
- Human Disease and Pathology
Many of the faculty in the NIG are also associated with the Neuroscience Program or the Neuroscience Gateway, which is a major new initiative of the University, aimed at understanding brain function at all levels from genes to behavior. Many of the students and postdocs in the NIG are supported by the Developmental Biology Training Grant or the Genetics Training Grant. A description of the activities and requirements for trainees supported by these training grants can be found on the training grant websites.
Faculty members of the Neurobiology Interest Group are located throughout the campus: Each member of the MBP is affiliated with a University of Utah department, and these departments occupy space in several buildings on campus: Biology - Life Science, South Biology, and Aline W. Skaggs Buildings; Biochemistry - Medical Center and Emma Eccles Jones Building; Human Genetics - Eccles Institute of Human Genetics; Neurobiology & Anatomy - Wintrobe Building; Oncological Sciences - Medical Center and Huntsman Cancer Institute; Pathology - Medical Center and the Emma Eccles Jones Building.