Brain Research Center (SBRC) has been organized to serve as the unifying
body link = #00ff00 for the diverse and physically distributed neuroscience-related
research across SUMC and the University. It serves to foster, coordinate,
of faculty in over 15 departments with neuroscientists
collaborative and multidisciplinary research programs
research initiatives and fundraising
spirit of community for both basic and clinical neuroscientists
of students, scientists, and the public.
coordination of university-wide neuroscience efforts is imperative if we are
to adapt to rapid changes in research trends and funding opportunities. Towards
this goal, we have already secured funds from the PMGM for part of the training
and educational activities for one year and, in conjunction with other efforts
that we hope will culminate in funding in the next few months, we expect that
the Center can succeed in becoming financially self-sufficient. We await approval
from the institution for major fundraising by both the Office of Medical Development
and the University Development Office.
is an inherently multidisciplinary field with fundamental questions that require
integrative research from molecules to systems/behavior and computation, and
from embryos to adults in both normal and diseased states. Neuroscience research
at Stanford involves more than 80 faculty distributed across the School of
Humanities and Sciences and the School of Medicine. These neuroscientists
are in 14 basic science and clinical departmentsAnesthesia, Biological
Sciences, Comparative Medicine, Genetics, Molecular Pharmacology, Neurobiology,
Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Neurosurgery, Radiology, Pediatrics,
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, Developmental Biology, Molecular
and Cellular Physiology and Pathology. Most of the neuroscience faculty have
achieved individual international recognition. The SBRC combines the individual
strengths of these faculty and departments into an entity that for
the purposes of research, collegiality, education and fundraising is
greater than the sum of its parts. The concept for this Center has its origins
in 1996 with independent initiatives by leaders in Neurology and Neurological
Sciences, in Radiology, and in Psychology (in H&S). These efforts were
combined and expanded to reflect the breadth of the neurosciences at Stanford
and the need to have a centralized body link = #00ff00 to support the many
faculty in the neurosciences at Stanford already work together effectively
as a community to train students in the Neurosciences Ph.D. Program, but this
top-ranked educational program is not the appropriate body link = #00ff00
to promote research collaboration between individual laboratories and to drive
major fundraising efforts. Moreover, through the SBRC, there will be new opportunities
for the many clinically-oriented neuroscientists to mentor Ph.D. students
and to interact with their basic science and clinical colleagues.
of the Stanford Brain Research Center is to capture world leadership in research
and training by promoting and integrating basic and clinical multidisciplinary
brain research at Stanford. Departmental coordination in support of faculty
recruitment helps departments attract top neuroscience faculty, and enables
the institution to accommodate rapid developments in the field and maintain
an appropriate balance neuroscience research that spans from molecules to
brain and behavior. The SBRC promotes an interactive environment and sponsors
educational programs that fosters collaborative research and facilitate bench
to bedside efforts. The existence of the SBRC and its programs, its success
in fostering collegial interactions and collaborations, and its proactive
initiatives help to attract sponsored research and private support for which
individual Stanford brain research efforts are not competitive or currently
serves as the umbrella for Stanford faculty with neuroscience research interests
that are organized into the following three groups:
Brain, Behavioral, and Cognitive Neuroscience
Neurobiology of Disease
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Each group has representation
on the Executive Committee which coordinates the activities of the SBRC. The
list of faculty participants and a one sentence description of their research
interests is provided in the Appendix.
sponsors a number of initiatives to support its mission. These are in the
areas of: building a neuroscience community, attracting funds, education,
and community outreach.
a neuroscience community: Neuroscientists interact with colleagues because
of a common departmental affiliation and physical location, common scientific
and teaching activities, and communal activities of the Neurosciences Ph.D.
Program. The SBRC offers several functions that promote interactions both
within and across the various disciplines of the neurosciences. The goals
are to expand the neurosciences community and to encourage collaborations
by increasing awareness of research being done across basic and clinical lines
throughout the campus. SBRC membership expands beyond the Neurosciences Program
and includes faculty who do not wish to mentor Neurosciences Ph.D. students,
but who can contribute to and benefit from the research and educational mission
of the SBRC. Research presentations are designed to promote a sense of community
and inform faculty and students about the depth of research efforts at the
basic and clinical levels, both of which will promote new collaborative interactions.
Frontiers of Neuroscience seminar series:
There are currently two seminar series at Stanford devoted to neuroscience--Neurobiology
of Disease (Winter quarter; hosted by the Neurosciences Ph.D. Program) and
Frontiers of Neurobiology (Spring quarter; hosted by the Department of Neurobiology)
and the SBRC will complete the yearly cycle with a seminar series in the Fall.
Our goal is for this to be a popular high-profile seminar series that enables
the neuroscience community to invite top neuroscientists in the country to
spend a day talking with faculty and students and showcase the latest advances
in neuroscience, from molecules to behavior. Representatives of the departments
with neuroscience faculty at both the School of Medicine and H&S and students
in the Neurosciences Ph.D. Program choose speakers and serve as hosts for
the individual visits and presentations. This same mechanism is used to choose
and host speakers for the Neurobiology of Disease seminar series and works
very well in representing interests across departmental lines as well as increasing
collegial interactions .
Research colloquia: One of the goals of the SBRC is to sponsor bi-monthly
presentations of research by Stanford faculty. Each session will involve two
faculty from different departments but who are working on related topics.
The goal will be to inform all members of the neuroscience community about
the neuroscience being done throughout the campus. This will foster links
and create collaborative interactions across departments and disciplines,
such as connecting clinical neuroscientists with faculty from multiple departments
using fMRI. We also hope to be able to support journals clubs and groups such
as the Hebb Club, a quarterly faculty research colloquium focused on brain
and cognitive neuroscience which includes faculty from Stanford, UCSF, and
Neurobiology of Disease seminar series: This effort was initiated by the Neurosciences
Program four years ago and will now become one of the functions of the SBRC.
This popular high-profile seminar series presented each winter quarter has
enabled the neuroscience community to invite top neuroscientists in the country
to spend a day talking with faculty and students and present the latest on
the underlying neurobiology of various diseases of the nervous system. Each
participating department will have a liaison who will work together to select
the speakers and host their visits.
Mini symposia:The SBRC hosts semi-annual interdisciplinary symposia.
These typically take the form of half-day symposia with 3-4 speakers. The
first one will be held in Winter 1999 on the topic of aging. Additional symposia
on the molecular basis of learning and memory, learning disabilities, stroke,
and on functional imaging of higher brain functions are anticipated over the
next two years. A symposium to launch the new Center is being planned for
Spring 1999. This half-day event will highlight ongoing neurosciences research
at Stanford and the exciting new directions for the future.
Coordination of faculty recruitment: The SBRC will engage departments that
traditionally hire neuroscientists in a discussion about the overall balance
of neuroscience expertise at Stanford in relation to trends in neuroscience.
The Executive Committee, along with the relevant chairs, will help to coordinate
recruitment of new faculty in areas of weakness that may span departmental
boundaries or areas that will complement existing strengths. The SBRC can
help departments with the billets to recruit top neuroscientists, with the
advantages of a co-ordinated community of neuroscientists, the SBRC functions,
and financial support as described below.
extramural funds: With the SBRC in place, we envision many new opportunities
for expanding the extramural funding base for the neurosciences at Stanford.
Some elements of the proposed SBRC have been functioning for over a year and
have led to converging efforts to address new areas that require coordinated
research efforts. A number of collaborative efforts have already been initiated
as a result of the activities described above and meetings on interdisciplinary
topics, such as:
translation of molecular research to living models as applied, for example,
to persons with neurogenetic diseases, stroke, and epilepsy.
reorganization of structure and function of brain tissue after injury
such as trauma or stroke and during learning and memory.
elucidation of the processes involved in aging, and the treatment of
disorders of the aging brain.
brain development for complex thought, language and emotion, and treatment
of children in whom these processes are disordered.
Gene therapy in diseases of the nervous system.
and other initiatives provide new needs and opportunities for extramural funding,
Sponsored research program from the pharmaceutical industry: We anticipate
substantial funding from the pharmaceutical industry for investigations of
Alzheimers disease, pain, and various forms of neurodegeneration. We
are working with Chris Scott, Director of Research Development, to offer a
sponsored research program attractive to major pharmaceutical companies. This
program will follow the successful Stanford models with SmithKline Beecham
and Rhone Poulenc Rorer. One proposal, already under review, is focused on
neuroscience applications by faculty at both Stanford and UCSF.
Industrial affiliates: The SBRC has assumed the industrial affiliates program
from the Neurosciences Program and invites clinical and basic science departments
with a large neurosciences component to join this effort. We anticipate that
an offering from the SBRC which includes a larger number of neuroscientists
and covers a broader range of neuroscience expertise than can be offered by
the smaller individual departments will be highly successful at attracting
and maintaining industrial affiliates. The affiliation will be via Spectrum
and the funds generated will be used to support the efforts of the SBRC and
the Neurosciences Program.
Federally-supported research programs: New interactions among Stanford neuroscientists
can lead to program project and center grants. Two PPGs (Conte Center and
Epilepsy Center) are currently active here, and one Center grant in Radiology
is focused on MR technology development. Given the size and distinction of
the neuroscience faculty, we believe the number of multicomponent research
programs can be significantly increased. Individual research proposals in
response to RFAs and RFPs that were previously unrealistic because of the
lack of an integrated organization will become highly competitive.
Postdoctoral training grants: Each of the three SBRC groups is well positioned
to attract training grant support for postdoctoral fellows. The various research
and educational activities described in this proposal improves the training
environment for world class training programs that make such proposals more
Private donorship and foundation support: The SBRC will specifically undertake
fundraising for endowed chairs, start-up funds to help recruitment of new
faculty by member departments, and initiatives from the three groups constituting
the center. For example, imaging of the nervous system at both the subcellular
and the functional level is needed by a large number of SBRC participants,
but such imaging often require expensive instrumentation. The Brain and Cognitive
Neuroscience group has requested assistance in support of a new fMRI magnet
and the SBRC has undertaken this as one of its first fundraising efforts.
The SBRC and the increased level of neuroscience-based activities on campus
and in the community will make fundraising easier by individual SBRC members
and by Stanford.
In addition to the seminars and colloquia described above, a further goal
of the SBRC is to support existing teaching and training programs, and to
undertake new educational programs that are beyond the ability of individual
Neurosciences Ph.D. Program:Many faculty in the neurosciences at Stanford
already work together effectively as a community to train students in the
Neurosciences Ph.D. Program. With the advent of the SBRC, whose purview it
is to promote research collaboration between individual laboratories and to
drive major fundraising efforts, even greater opportunities for our students
exists. The seminars and colloquia sponsored by the SBRC enhance educational
opportunities for Ph.D. and M.D. students, for postdoctoral fellows, and for
interns and residents. The emerging sense of community facilitates collaborative
teaching in existing and new courses. Finally, with successful fundraising,
the SBRC can help to fill some of the gaps in educational costs for these
Community Outreach: One of the important functions of the SBRC is to provide
an educational bridge with the non-scientific community of the Bay Area and
beyond. In addition to providing a service to the community, such activity
increases the visibility of the SBRC and assists in fundraising. A planned
evening series will bring the community up to date on new developments in
neuroscience as they affect our understanding of the neurobiology of disease
and of human behavior. The general format will be a dinner with faculty, guests,
and community leaders followed by two presentations and discussion (one presentation
by a Stanford faculty and another by an outside expert) to a large audience.
A reception will follow. One of the first of these will be on learning disabilities
and will be coupled with one of our mini-symposia. These events also provide
opportunities for both scientists and non-scientists such as educators,
clergy, ethicists, business people and lawyers to discuss issues in
neurosciences that relate to society.
is run as a Center without walls under the program co-directorship of Dr.
Howard Schulman (Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurobiology, and Neurosciences
Ph.D. Program Director) and Dr. Gary Steinberg (Professor and Chairman, Department
of Neurosurgery). The program directors, together with the remaining members
of the Executive Committee involved in the creation of this concept
Dr. Gary Glover (Professor of Radiology and Director of the Radiological Sciences
Laboratory), Dr. Craig Heller (Professor and Chairman of Biological Sciences),
Dr. William Mobley (Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology), Dr.
Allan Reiss (Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Dr. Brian
Wandell (Professor of Psychology) will form the executive committee.
Dr. Judy Illes (Radiology, Director for Grants and Research Program Development),
also one of the founding members of the SBRC, serves as executive director.
An advisory board composed of four distinguished members of the national neurosciences
community is being organized at this time.
faculty retain primary appointments in their existing departments. Meetings
will occur twice a year to set priorities and goals.
of grants, indirect costs and tuition reimbursement will be handled according
to the guidelines of the Research Council, as they become available.
IN THE STANFORD BRAIN RESEARCH CENTER
Development of minimally
invasive tools for the treatment and resection of benign and malignant brain
New pharmacological approaches
for stroke treatment and prevention; imaging methods for early identification
of ischemic brain tissue.
Regulation of membrane
excitability; molecular basis of the gating of ion channels.
Functional MRI; advanced
MRI applications to disease states.
Development and function
Molecular and cellular
mechanisms controlling muscle differentiation and localization of mRNAs during
neuromuscular development; gene therapy for neuronal damage.
Paul S. Buckmaster
Alterations in brain
morphology and organization during starvation and
Molecular and cellular
mechanisms of cell death in CNS injury and in
transgenic and knockout strategies.
Motor neuron disease,
aging, Alzheimer's Disease.
David R. Cox
Human genetics; molecular
genetic basis of human disease; human disease; human genome analysis.