The Stanford Neurosciences Institute is dedicated to understanding how the brain gives rise to mental life and behavior, both in health and in disease. Our research community draws from and informs multiple disciplines, including neuroscience, medicine, engineering, psychology, education and law. The discoveries that arise from these collaborations will transform our understanding of the human brain, provide novel treatments for brain disorders, and promote brain health throughout the lifespan.
Neuroscience is poised to transform the 21st century the way that quantum physics and breaking the genetic code transformed the 20th. With better knowledge about brain function, we will better understand how to treat neurological and psychiatric disorders, lessening their impact on individuals, families, and society. We will better understand who we are: our thoughts, emotion, creativity, and morality. And we may well design who we will become, modifying our abilities, knowledge, and ways of being.
The Institute is at the forefront of each of these intellectual projects.
Probing the inner workings of the brain
We can see into the future of our climate and peek inside an atom, but we still don’t grasp the mysteries of the brain. Stanford Neurosciences Institute researchers are using the latest imaging, genetic, electrophysiological, and analytic techniques – and building new ones – to reveal how the brain functions at its most basic level, how we make decisions, the origins of psychiatric disease, and more. This is basic science, aimed at understanding who we are and why we do what we do.
Translating neuroscience discoveries into treatments
As we live longer and longer, more of us – and more of our families – will live with dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. Many more struggle with the consequences of stroke, psychiatric disease, or autism. Although we know more than ever before about risk factors for those conditions, we still don’t know enough about how to treat or manage them.
Neuroscientists, aging researchers, geneticists, engineers, and chemists are all working together to rejuvenate the brain, treat disease, and come to terms with cognitive differences and disabilities.
New tools to probe and connect with our minds
Achieving our goals in NeuroDiscovery and NeuroHealth will take more than just new ideas and collaborations – it will also take entirely new tools. We’re inventing new ways to image the brain at all scales, from individual molecules to neuron circuits to entire regions of the brain, helping neuroscientists see for the first time structures and processes that had been invisible.
We’re also developing the next generation of neural implants and other electronic interfaces that could open new windows into the operation of individual neurons and neural networks.
And we’re creating technologies that could transform the treatment of paralysis, psychiatric disorders, and even blindness: Stanford Neurosciences Institute researchers are working on next-generation retinal prosthetics to restore vision as well as high-density wire bundles to enable high-precision neuron recording and stimulation.
Stanford has long been a leader in basic research, engineering and medicine and has stayed ahead of the curve by uniting scientists across disciplines around challenging questions in neurosciences. Our small campus – where scientists from different disciplines can easily meet to share ideas – fosters collaborative, interdisciplinary research like no other.
We engage extraordinary people, including faculty and, through training programs and fellowships, graduate students and postdocs. We drive interdisciplinary research through major research initiatives and seed grants for off-the-beaten-path ideas. And we provide vital infrastructure, including a new, state-of-the-art research facility set to open in 2019.