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About Us

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute

Our Mission

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is dedicated to understanding how the brain gives rise to mental life and behavior, both in health and in disease.

Neuroscience is at an inflection point in its history. New technologies are transforming scientists’ abilities to explore the brain — yielding more detailed images of its cells, more accurate measurements of its activity, and more precise ability to mimic its functions than ever before. With these new approaches have come astounding new insights about the exquisite complexity of the brain.

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is at the forefront of this exploration.

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. And the creative, cross-disciplinary mindset we foster in our trainees is cultivating the next generation of neuroscience research.

Our success, both now and in the future, springs from three foundational Institute commitments—to outstanding people, to innovative research and to state-of-the-art facilities.  

Engaging Extraordinary People

The future of neuroscience is profoundly interdisciplinary, and our community includes more than 500 Stanford faculty affiliates, hailing from all 7 Stanford schools and more than 50 departments. We have hired six exceptional interdisciplinary faculty scholars whose work transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries and continue to grow our institute’s faculty. We are Stanford's hub for neuroscience discovery, engineering, and translational health research and welcome researchers of all backgrounds to join us to learn, collaborate, and advance our understanding of the brain.

Fostering the Next Generation

We are cultivating the next generation of interdisciplinary neuroscience leaders. Through our training programs, the Institute supports research fellowships for undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who will be the standard bearers for the future of the field. The student programs of theCenter for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology enhance the accessibility of the discipline of computational neuroscience and neuro-engineering. We also support programs to enhance diversity, inclusion and belonging among our trainees and advance their careers in science, including the BELONG program, summer research fellowships for community college students.

Promoting Diversity and Belonging

We believe diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging are essential to the advancement of science and to the development of a vibrant intellectual community. (Read our Diversity Statement) Research conducted in the absence of diversity and inclusion of all people and their ideas slows the pace of science and our ability to treat diseases and improve lives. Through the work of our Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, Equity and Justice, we are committed to implementing changes within our organization to produce and sustain equity for historically underrepresented groups.

Seeding Interdisciplinary Research

By supporting faculty as they explore their bold and transformational new research ideas, we aim to advance the neurosciences and, in doing so, to better understand our own brains, thoughts, emotions, creativity and morality. We support the broad areas of innovation and discovery in NeuroDiscovery, NeuroEngineering and NeuroHealth through grant programs that include our flagship Big Ideas in Neuroscience initiatives, as well as Seed Grants, Research Accelerator awards, and Neuroscience:Translate awards in partnership with Stanford Biodesign.

Creating Vital Infrastructure

In 2020, we opened our new state-of-the-art research center in the ChEm-H and Neuroscience Research Complex, which serves as a focal point for our community. It is a uniquely beautiful and functional space—an expression of the values and intellectual goals of both institutes. This intellectual hub is home to more than 40 collaborative research groups as well as our shared Neuroscience Community Laboratories, which serve as a resource and catalyst for collaboration across the Stanford neuroscience community.

Advancing the Science of Healthy Brain Aging

In 2022, Stanford launched the Phil and Penny Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience, housed at the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, to harness Stanford’s multidisciplinary scientific expertise to tackle one of the most baffling questions in brain science: Why do some people succumb to degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s while others reach their 90s with their mental acuity intact? By uniting the Stanford neuroscience community around this unsolved question, the Knight Initiative aims to inspire new discoveries in brain aging and resilience and usher in a new era for brain science and extend human brain health long into what we now consider "old age."

Five Years of Progress Advancing Neuroscience

In fall of 2018, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Institute, the community we have built and the achievements of our researchers and trainees. 

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute at 5 years. For more information, download Wu Tsai Neuro Infographic PDF or email

Land Acknowledgement

Stanford sits on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe (how to pronounce). This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Ohlone people. Consistent with our values of community and inclusion, we have a responsibility to acknowledge, honor, and make visible the University’s relationship to Native people.