A woman in goggles and a blue lab coat uses lab equipment while conducting research A woman in goggles and a blue lab coat uses lab equipment while conducting research

Center for Neuroscience Research

Brain: The Final Frontier

The nervous system and neural control of behavior is a growing area for study in the life sciences. Cellular Neuroscience is a focal area in the Department of Biological Sciences and Behavioral Neuroscience is a focal area in the Department of Psychology.

At the graduate level, an interest in neuroscience can be followed within either of the two departments.  The Center for Neuroscience Research focuses on interactions among neuroscientists at the University and at surrounding institutions.

A transparency of illustrations of the brain as seen from over the shoulder of a faculty researcher


Center for Neuroscience Research

The Center for Neuroscience Research fosters interdisciplinary research on the nervous system at the undergraduate, doctoral, and postdoctoral levels. Approaches range from anatomy, electrophysiology and behavior to biochemistry, genetics, endocrinology and molecular biology.

Established in 1968, the unit has become widely known for its work on neuroplasticity including the development and plasticity of the nervous system (especially experience-dependent changes in synaptic connections) and factors that underlie and influence neurodegeneration and/or behavior. The Center has sponsored many seminars, symposia and conferences on these topics.

Center Associates investigate the formation of synaptic connections in many different animals such as the mouse, rat, zebrafish, crayfish, fruit fly, and frog. Members of the center also examine how neurons make connections, how excess connections are removed, how neurons recover from damage, and how such neural connections modulate or control behavior. Hormonal and drug effects on brain function are also investigated.

These research approaches are relevant for such problems as Alzheimer's Disease, epilepsy, strabismus, amblyopia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and diabetes. The Center promotes the exchange of research findings, especially the knowledge of new techniques, and encourages students to enter careers in neuroscience research.


Damian Zuloaga
Director, Center for Neuroscience Research
Associate Professor, Psychology
[email protected]

Neuroscience Research Programs

A student in a blue lab coat and googles completes research at a workstation, surrounding by shelving and scientific equipment

The Center serves as a focal point on campus for various programs that have a significant neuroscience component. Most important are interactions with the departments that include its affiliates: the Neurobiology group within the Department of Biological Sciences, the Psychobiology group within the Department of Psychology, the Neuroscience group within the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and the Department of Environmental Health and Toxicology within the School of Public Health. Additional interactions include faculty from the Departments of Anthropology, Sociology and Chemistry.

The Center is active in the local chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (the Hudson-Berkshire Neuroscience Society). This group includes members from several local colleges, including Albany Medical College, Siena College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Union College, College of St. Rose and Russell Sage College. In addition to its own monthly seminars and formal activities, the Society fosters informal contacts and resource sharing between the members, thus expanding the neuroscience community.

Related Research

To learn more about research at the University at Albany and research compliance, visit the Division for Research and Economic Development website

You can also visit the Life Sciences Initiative website to learn more about research at UAlbany specific to life sciences.

Academic Programs

There is no undergraduate major in Neuroscience. Most students who are interested in neuroscience investigate undergraduate degrees in Biological Sciences, Psychology, Chemistry and Human Biology,

The University does offer Student Initiated Interdisciplinary majors designed to allow highly motivated students to meet special educational goals not available from the many existing majors at the University.

Graduate Programs

Behavioral Neuroscience PhD

Biology PhD

Learn more about admission to our graduate programs on The Graduate School website.

Faculty and Alumni


Two students look at a pair of monitors. The student on the left is pointing at the left monitor, which is showing a teal and black display of neuroscience research.


Affiliated Faculty
  • Bruce C. Dudek, Professor of Psychology,
    [email protected], 518-442-4824
    Behavioral genetics, alcohol neuropharmacology, and psychopharmacology.
  • Paolo E. Forni, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences,
    [email protected], 518-442-4361
    Developmental neuroscience, with emphasis on the ontogenesis, connectivity, and functionality of olfactory/vomeronasal neurons, the terminal nerve, and GnRH-1 neurons.
  • Ewan C. McNay, Associate Professor of Psychology
    [email protected], 518-442-4820
    Behavioral neuroscience, glucose effects on cognition and brain function
  • Li Niu, Professor of Chemistry
    [email protected], 518-591-9918
    Biochemical and biophysical studies of glutamate ion channels, drug discovery for CNS diseases involving glutamate ion channel dysfunction
  • Andrew Poulos, Associate Professor of Psychology,
    [email protected], 518-591-8839
    Circuits responsible for adaptive and maladaptive fear related behaviors; interactions between amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex; stress related alterations.
  • Annalisa Scimemi, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences,
    [email protected], 518-442-4367
    Cellular and circuit basis of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disease; in vitro and in vivo analysis of synaptic function using optogenetics, electrophysiology and novel microscopy and computational approaches.
  • Damian Shin, Interim Chair & Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics
    [email protected], 518 262-8627
    Neuronal signaling underlying Parkinson’s disease
  • Sally Temple, Research Professor, Biomedical Sciences
    [email protected], [email protected] 518 694-8188
    Understanding the role of neural stem cells in central nervous system development, maintenance, and repair.
  • Max Turner, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
    [email protected], 518-442-3300
    Neurobiology of the visual system with a focus on visual processing and neural computation in Drosophila melanogaster.
  • Christine Wagner, Professor of Psychology and Dean of the Graduate School
    [email protected], 518-437-4494
    Maternal and fetal neural development, progesterone and sexual differentiation of the brain and behavior.
  • Damian Zuloaga, Associate Professor of Psychology
    [email protected], 518-442-4361
    Sex differences in behavioral and neuroendocrine stress responses.
Former Students

Information about other students who have received PhDs in Neuroscience-related disciplines is appreciated.


In Memoriam