Director’s Message

Welcome to the Program for Interdisciplinary Neuroscience.


Here at the Brigham we have more than a century of expertise in neuroscience and the care of patients with disorders of the nervous system. We work on psychiatric, developmental, neurologic, and age-related disorders. We investigate and treat pain, epilepsy, depression, and dementia. We study brain tumors, consciousness, addiction and anxiety. In fact, if it touches the nervous system—we’re involved in it.


The BWH Program for Interdisciplinary Neuroscience spans research, teaching and patient care. We take a bottom-up approach. We identify urgent unmet needs and new opportunities, and then design, fund and build bespoke programs to address the challenge. We focus on opportunities that span multiple departments and divisions, drawing together expertise and resources from across the Brigham community and beyond. Collaboration is at the heart of the Program.


I am delighted to highlight several initiatives below that reflect our key programs that span basic research, clinical research, and training and education:


  • In support of our shared basic neuroscience research mission we’ve established the NeuroTechnology Studio. The NeuroTech Studio is providing advanced technology and expertise in the many areas including, for example, imaging, high content screening, and medicinal chemistry. A suite of new instruments and equipment is supported by full-time scientists and technologists committed to supporting any BWH investigator, irrespective of departmental affiliation, working on the nervous system.


  • We’re also launched the new Women’s Brain Initiative—a major new research effort to help advance our understanding of how biological sex may affect the susceptibility, course and treatment of certain neurological and psychiatric disorders. The Program is off to fast start, with a portfolio of major research projects underway on topics such as depression, obesity, endocrine disrupters and Parkinson’s disease.


  • In the realm of training, the Traveling Neuroscience Research Fellows program will identify and support our most promising post-doctoral neuroscience researchers. These prestigious fellowships will provide some research support and enable the fellows to present their work at major conferences. Crucially, the fellowship will also cover the costs of sending our young scientists to other centers across the globe to learn and import the best in neuroscience thinking.


  • In teaching we have launched what might be a unique educational opportunity that we refer to as the Bench to Bedside to Bench seminar series (BBB). Intended to introduce research and administrative personnel to our patients, each BBB seminar is based around an interview and examination of a new patient by Dr. Martin Samuels, Founding Chair Emeritus, Department of Neurology at the Brigham. His conversations with a patient each month help reveal how the Brigham’s highly trained physicians approach patients with nervous system disorders and how they go about helping them. We have also launched the first of many Science & Technology Workshops, such as providing an introduction to microscopy and how to get the most out of the various microscopes available to Institute investigators.


Further details of all these programs can be found behind our website’s “Programs” tab herein. Other new programs will follow, so please keep an eye on the site.


The BWH Program for Interdisciplinary Neuroscience represents a new approach to collaborative research and care. Like any collaboration, it depends upon the vitality and openness of a community. In our case the community is the 1,000+ neurologists, neuroscientists and other nervous system experts across the hospital, and the wider local, national and international community of people who care about and support our work. We welcome your involvement.


Dennis J. Selkoe, MD