The Division of Neuroscience at the ONPRC conducts research aimed at identifying and defining fundamental aspects of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying nervous system function. The guiding principle of these research efforts is the concept that our nonhuman primate resource can be best utilized by implementing a "vertical integration" approach in which studies are first conducted in laboratory animals and then in nonhuman primates to fully exploit the translational value of basic research. The Division is focused on the fields of Developmental Neuroscience and Neuroendocrinology, with special emphasis on Neurodevelopmental and Neurodegenerative disorders. Programs aimed at understanding the neurobiology of aging and mental illness, and at unveiling the neurogenetic underpinnings of complex behaviors add diversity and strength to these central themes. The major long-term goals of the division include efforts to develop unique primate models to understand and develop interventions for selected human diseases. A significant number of research programs employ genetic approaches and genetic models to study nervous system function. A variety of modern genomics tools and bioinformatics strategies are available to our researchers via both ONPRC-sponsored projects and OHSU-based new genomics facilities. The Division is one of the founding members of the recently created OHSU Brain Institute, and is a strong advocate for interdisciplinary research in basic and clinical neurosciences.
In addition to its investigative activities, the Division of Neuroscience provides specialized research training to graduate students, postdoctoral research fellows, and visiting scientists. Its faculty members hold appointments in, and actively contribute to the OHSU Neuroscience, Behavioral Neuroscience and Molecular and Cellular Biosciences graduate programs. Finally, the Division serves as a regional, national and international resource for integrative neuroscience research because of its unique capabilities to conceptually and experimentally link neural functions of evolutionary less advanced mammalian species with those particular to nonhuman and human primates.
The Division is currently composed of 14 Core Scientists (salary support from the ONPRC) with primary appointments in Neuroscience, nine Staff Scientists and six Affiliate Scientists (not receiving salary support from the ONPRC). Altogether, they bring more than $8 million/year in grants to the ONPRC and OHSU.