Neuroscience Institute

One in four people will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. In fact, mental disorders are the leading cause of illness and disability worldwide. Understanding the enormous complexity of the human brain is the first step toward treating crippling diseases and disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and addiction.

Harnessing Carnegie Mellon University’s core strengths in biological sciences, cognitive science, computation, data science and engineering, the Neuroscience Institute is uniquely positioned to advance a new kind of neuroscience. We are leading the way in developing interdisciplinary research to understand and improve brain function in both healthy and diseased brains, to invent and apply the next generation of neural technologies and tools, and to educate tomorrow’s neural science leaders.

Your commitment will advance the Neuroscience Institute’s work by supporting student and faculty researchers as they discover new insights into the function of the human brain and make substantial progress toward therapies and treatments for neurological disorders.

Two students use the MRI Machine in Mellon Institute

The Neuroscience Institute focuses on four research areas with the potential for revolutionary breakthroughs:

  • Cognitive neuroscience explores the psychological and neural mechanisms that support human perception, learning, memory, language, problem-solving and social behaviors.
  • Computational neuroscience uses tools like statistics and machine learning for deeper understanding of neuronal activity.
  • Neuro-technology and engineering designs and implements the next generation of neural interfaces to better understand brain function and dysfunction and addresses clinical needs by designing new tools.
  • Systems neuroscience seeks to understand how the diversity of discrete neural cell types enable perception and behavior.

Technology and circuits involved in brain researchCMU neuroscience researchers are asking fundamental questions about the brain and accelerating research leading to the following:

  • Brain-machine interface technology used in robotic prosthetics for people recovering from stroke
  • Implantable devices that can stimulate brain activity and lead to better treatments for Parkinson’s disease
  • Next-generation hearing aid devices that filter out unwanted sounds, amplifying only the sounds on which the listener is focused
  • A deeper understanding of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Better methods to identify those who may be at risk for addiction by exploring the social, emotional and genetic aspects of these behaviors

Educating the Next Generation of Neuroscientists

Model Head with Neural HarnessAlong with advancing neuroscience research today, the Neuroscience Institute is committed to enhancing the educational experience for the graduate and undergraduate students who will become the brain science leaders of tomorrow.

The Neuroscience Institute’s training programs include doctoral programs in neural computation and psychology and an undergraduate major in neuroscience as well as minors in neuroscience and neural computation.

The CMU culture encourages sharing ideas and knowledge across disciplinary lines, fosters innovation, and empowers risk taking and challenging conventions. The Neuroscience Institute builds on that solid foundation by promoting diversity in our field and maintaining an inclusive, respectful environment that values and supports all faculty, staff and students. In this atmosphere, new ideas flourish and science advances.

You can make new discoveries in neuroscience possible through:

Graduate Fellowships: Bring the brightest graduate students to CMU and help build a student body that reflects
the world where these future neuroscience trailblazers will lead by removing financial barriers to their education.

Innovation Funds: Invest in current programs, new initiatives and promising areas of inquiry, helping to keep the Neuroscience Institute at the forefront of neuroscience education and research.

Travel and Conference Funds: Accelerate faculty and student research by facilitating connections with peers and exposing them to cutting-edge research from around the world.

Center Directorship: Support the Neuroscience Institute’s mission and help the director address emerging priorities with endowed funding.

Endowed Professorships: Provide faculty with funding that fuels their teaching and advances their research and will help us recruit and retain great educators and researchers.

Focus Area-Specific Funds: Empower promising ideas
in our four focus areas with critical funding that encourages researchers to push boundaries and take risks.


Your support of the Neuroscience Institute’s collaborative, interdisciplinary research will help us to advance the current state of brain science and develop new neural technologies and tools.

Give to the Neuroscience Institute

Sandra Kuhlman and student in her lab

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