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Neuroscience

Introduction

The Department of Neuroscience on the La Jolla campus in San Diego County unites more than 20 research laboratories that focus on the study of the nervous system and the mechanisms that cause neurological and psychiatric disorders, sensory impairment, and addiction. Researchers in the department integrate state-of-the-art approaches in genomics, imaging, molecular biology, chemical biology, electrophysiology, and behavioral neuroscience into a common platform critical for unraveling the complex neural circuits underlying nervous system function and disease. 

The research spectrum of the department is truly remarkable. It ranges from the study of single cells to the study of the human genome. Research topics include the exploration of the mechanisms that regulate neural stem cell behavior, brain and sensory organ development and function, perception, learning and memory, emotion, motivation, and cognition. A critical component of the research program is to translate the scientific findings into treatments for such important disorders as schizophrenia, autism, depression, addiction, learning disability, sensory impairment, pain, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The department benefits from strong scientific ties with several centers at The Scripps Research Institute, such as the Dorris Neuroscience Center and the Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research. Equally important are scientific interactions with the faculty of neighboring academic institutes, including Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, and the University of California, San Diego. Together with The Scripps Research Institute, these institutes have established La Jolla as one of the leading neuroscience research centers in the world, providing unprecedented opportunities for discovery. 

 

The Scripps Research Institute's Department of Neuroscience at the Scripps Florida campus is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying learning and memory, sleep, and consciousness and the human diseases that affect these cognitive processes. Our activities include basic research to understand how neurons and other brain cells work individually and collectively. The basic research is interdisciplinary and utilizes techniques of genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, imaging, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and behavior. Our molecular and cellular imaging approaches are a highlight: we have developed methodologies to visualize the changes that occur in the brain with learning in order to dissect learning more fully. We are also engaged at translating our basic research discoveries into therapeutics through new drug discovery that can help improve the cognitive impairments associated with aging and the many psychiatric and neurological conditions that alter memory including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, autism, and anxiety and depression. Our discoveries include key molecules involved in the cellular machinery underlying memory formation, the specific molecular target for certain types of antidepressants, and the identification of molecules that underlie the etiology of Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.