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]

Annalisa Scimemi
Director, Center for Neuroscience Research
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
[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
    Behavior Genetics, Alcohol Neuropharmacology, and Psychopharmacology.
  • Paolo E. Forni, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences,
    [email protected], 518-442-4361
    Structural, Developmental and genetic analysis of olfactory system.
  • Alexxai Kravitz, Associate Professor of Psychiatry
    [email protected], 314-273-7956
    Study of basal ganglia circuits and how their function changes in disease states such as obesity, addiction, and anxiety disorders.
  • Ewan C. McNay, Associate Professor of Psychology
    [email protected], 518-442-4820
    Glucose effects on cognition and brain function
  • 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
    Synaptic structure and function; Astrocyte control of synaptic function; Synaptic basis of neuropsychiatric disorders.
  • Damian Shin, Associate Professor, Albany Medical College
    [email protected], 518 262-8627
    Neuroscience research; neuronal signaling underlying Parkinson’s disease
  • Sally Temple, Research Professor, Biomedical Sciences
    [email protected], 518 694-8188
    Understanding the role of neural stem cells in central nervous system development, maintenance, and repair.
  • Christine K. Wagner, Associate 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.
Former Students

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

Laks Ananthakrishnan
Associate Product Manager,
Surgical Models, Contract Research Solutions/phenotyping
Taconic Labs
[email protected]

Susan Barron
Professor of Psychology
University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
[email protected]

Verner Bingman
Professor of Psychology
Bowling Green University, Bowling Green, OH
[email protected]

Barbara J Caldarone
Instructor in Neurology
Yale Univ Sch Med, New Haven, CT
[email protected]

Gregg Castellucci
Postdoctoral Associate
New York University Neuroscience Institute
[email protected]

Akira Chiba
Professor of Biology
Univ Miami, Coral Gables, FL
[email protected]

Richard E. Dearborn Jr.
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Science
Albany School of Pharmacy, Albany, NY
[email protected]

Christine Gervasi
Laboratory coordinator, Biological Sciences
University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY
[email protected]

Tao He
Department of Internal Medicine
Harbor Hospital, Baltimore MD
[email protected]

Nathaniel Heintz
Professor of Molecular Bio.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rockefeller University, New York, NY
[email protected]

Sungwon Hong
Assistant Professor of Physiology
School of Medicine, Dongguk University, Kyongbuk, Korea
[email protected]

Gwen Jacobs
Director of Cyberinfrastructure
University of Hawaii
[email protected]

Xiaoying Jian

Hae-Young Koh
Center for Neuroscience, Brain Science Institute
Korea Institute of Science & TechnologySeoul, Korea

Alexxai Kravitz
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis
[email protected]

Cynthia Lemere
Associate Professor of Neurology
Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital &
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
[email protected]

Byunghee Leu
Postdoctoral Fellow
Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA
[email protected]

Audie Leventhal
Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy
University of Utah Medical School
[email protected]

Rick Levine
Retired Professor of Neurobiology and Physiology
University of Arizona
[email protected]

Weichun Lin
Associate Professor of Neuroscience
UTexas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas TX
[email protected]

David Lotshaw
Retired Professor of Biology
Northern Illinois University
[email protected]

Ken Lukowiak
Professor of Physiology & Biophysics
University of Calgary
[email protected]

Steve Matsumoto
Oregon Hlth Sci Univ
School of Dentistry, Dept Anatomy
[email protected]

Maureen McCall
Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
University of Louisville
[email protected]

Peter O'Day
Retired Professor, Institute of Neuroscience,
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
[email protected]

Natalie Odinocky
Research Imaging Specialist at Evident/Olympus

Tony Olek
Retired Senior Lecturer, Dept of Biology, and Director, Undergraduate Program in Biology and Medicine,
University of Rochester
[email protected]

Leah Olson
Retired Professor of Biology,
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
[email protected]

Christopher J. Pace
Chief Clinical Officer
Neuro Alert Monitoring Services
White Plains, NY

Sandra Petralia
Associate Product Manager, tansgenic models
Taconic Labs, East Greenbush, NY
[email protected]

Tamara J Phillips
Professor of Behavioral Neursoscience,
Senior Research Career Scientist, VA Medical Center
Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR
[email protected]

Madeline Rhodes
Professor of Psychology
McDaniel College, Westminster, MD
[email protected]

Nidhi Rumpal
Johns Hopkins Unv School of Medicine
Inst for Cell Engineering-Neurodegeneration Program
Baltimore, MD
[email protected]

Don Sakaguchi
Morrill Professor; Director of Biology and Genetics Undergraduate Programs
Iowa State Univ, Ames, IA
[email protected]

Stefan Strack
Professor of Pharmacology,
University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA
[email protected]

Theresa Tritto
Scientific Program Director, Penn Translational Neuroscience Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Nina Tumosa
Education Coordinator VA Hospital and Professor of Internal Medicine/Geriatrics,
St Louis University, St. Louis, MO

Walter Walthall
Associate Professor of Biology
Georgia State University
[email protected]

Natasa Zec
[email protected]

Yangu Zhao
Senior Staff Scientist,
Natl. Institute of Child Health, Lab of Mammalian Genes and Development, Bethesda, MD


In Memoriam

John P. Broida
Associate Professor of Psychology
University of Southern Maine

Craig Kinsley
Professor of Neuroscience
University of Richmond
[email protected]