Our Mission

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is dedicated to understanding how the brain gives rise to mental life and behavior, 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 Foundational Commitments

Our successes spring from three foundational Institute commitments—to innovative research, to outstanding people, and to transformative impact.


Catalyzing Foundational Discovery

Research Grants

By supporting faculty and trainees 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, and Neuroscience:Translate awards in partnership with Stanford Biodesign.

Stanford Neurosciences Building

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.

Promoting Brain Resilience

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."


Engaging a Diverse Community of Scholars 

Interdisciplinary community

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.

Cultivating the next generation

Through our training programs, we are cultivating the next generation of interdisciplinary neuroscience leaders. 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 the Center 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 and summer research fellowships for community college students.

Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, Equity and Justice

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.