Committed to interdisciplinary neuroscience research
UAB Department of Neurobiology was founded in 1996. It is one of the Joint Health Science departments in the UAB Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. The department currently has 14 primary faculty members complimented by a diverse secondary faculty. Evidence of the faculty's national and international impact in fundamental neuroscience research includes: their substantial number of publications in high impact journals; appointments to editorial boards and editorships of leading neuroscience journals; appointments to NIH and NSF study sections and review boards; awards of over 28 million dollars in annual research grant funds; and numerous invitations to speak at national and international research symposia. Faculty members also have received numerous national and international awards recognizing excellence in research and training.
Education and Training
In addition to its major research emphasis, the departmental faculty are actively involved in training graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in advanced research techniques in their laboratories. Interested students also have the opportunity to receive advanced training in neurobiology of disease with a focus on modern molecular research approaches to clinical topics related to neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, pediatrics and rehabilitation medicine, thus providing a unique perspective for fundamental neuroscience research and teaching careers at academic health science centers. The faculty participate substantially in the Graduate Biomedical Sciences curriculum and training program. Graduate students can choose a mentor and train in any one of the eight available themes or the combined MD/Ph.D. program.
Neurobiology research encompasses a wide range of approaches and subject matters. This is reflected in our faculty's individual laboratories. Research in the department utilizes molecular, genetic, electrophysiological cellular and behavioral approaches. Subjects studied include the typical structure and function of the nervous system, as well as understanding the mechanisms and developing interventions for physical injury and diseases of genetic or environmental origin. Specific faculty interests include: addition, Alzheimer's disease, brain/spinal cord injury, epigenetics, epilepsy, glial biology, neurotransmission, non-coding RNAs, normal learning and memory, neurodevelopmental disorders with intellectual disabilities, Parkinson's disease and perceptual disorders.
The department is housed in custom-designed laboratories and offices in the Shelby Multidisciplinary Biomedical Research Building and in the Civitan International Research Center. These locations provide unique opportunities for collaborative research with other molecular biologists and physiologists as well as a strong group of clinical investigators involved in studying mental retardation, neurological disorders, neural injury rehabilitation and molecular psychiatry research. The neurobiology laboratories are well-equipped, state of the art facilities including full instrumentation for patch-clamp electrophysiology, high resolution cellular imaging, FRET, cell culture, a broad range of recombinant technologies including "gene gun," viral transfection and transgenic approaches, molecular biology, and electron, single and two-photon laser scanning confocal microscopy.
A significant and growing number of faculty members have their laboratories housed in the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, one of only four such institutes in the country. The mission of the McKnight Institute is to promote research and investigation into the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the neurobiology of memory, with emphasis on research of clinical relevance to the problems of age-related memory loss. The institute, under the auspices of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation, has enhanced the established research enterprise in the Neurosciences through generous endowment support. These funds are used for recruitment and establishment of new investigators at UAB, for pilot research projects and educational symposia, McKnight Behavioral and Physiology Core support, and for seminars and conferences. The institute is currently housed in the 9th, 10th, and 11th floors of the Shelby Interdisciplinary Research Building.