Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology
Professor and Chair
Michael T. Shipley, PhD
The brain is a major frontier in biological research. Significant progress has been made in recent years in understanding the brain, from the level of molecular genetics and neural networks to behavior, the final product of neural activity. The Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology focuses on brain organization and function in medical, graduate and postdoctoral education. An outstanding heavily funded faculty, modern well-equipped laboratories and state-of-the-art instrumentation make this effort highly successful and internationally visible.
Faculty Research Interests
Major research efforts in the areas of developmental neurobiology, sensory systems, motivated behaviors and addiction and neural networks have been added to existing strengths in cellular neurophysiology and neuroendocrinology. A wide variety of research opportunities are made possible by extensive collaboration among departmental faculty and neuroscientists in other departments and at other institutions. Departmental faculty investigate questions from the molecular to the system level, from gene expression through assembly and function of specialized cell-membrane domains to development, function and plasticity of neuronal networks. Our faculty apply contemporary molecular, physiological and anatomical techniques to these questions.
Undergraduate Medical Program
The medical educational goal of the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology is to provide a basis for understanding the development, structure and function of the human body. To this end, department faculty are major participants in two integrated teaching blocks, Blocks II and VI, and have minor teaching involvement in Blocks IV and VII. Block II, Structure and Development, combines gross human anatomy, microanatomy (histology), embryology, radiology, surgery and physiology. In Block VI, Neurosciences, neuroanatomy is integrated with neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neurobiology and clinical neurology. In both blocks, lectures are correlated with practical laboratory assignments. Thus, the student is provided with a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter and has ample opportunity to learn important clinical implications and research applications.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs
Graduate students are encouraged to investigate critical biological questions by applying a broad range of experimental approaches. Graduate programs lead to the PhD or MD/PhD degrees. The program of study is uniquely tailored to individual student needs to establish a foundation in molecular and cellular biology with a minimum of required coursework. In addition, courses in principles of neuroscience, developmental neurobiology, modern neuroanatomical methods, the structure-function of membranes, ion channels, synaptic transmission, imaging, and reproductive physiology and endocrinology are available as well as journal clubs in neuroscience, chemosensory neurobiology, membrane biology and reproductive biology. New courses in the analysis of neural networks and innovative mini-courses that focus on scientific writing and preparation of grant applications to further prepare students to become competitive scientists are planned.
The department also attracts outstanding postdoctoral fellows.