Neurobiology of Disease

Faculty Contacts: Binhai Zheng & Tom Hnasko

The Neurobiology of Disease Training Area benefits from an extremely vibrant and interactive local neuroscience community. During development, billions of neurons are generated, migrate, differentiate, and interconnect to form trillions of synaptic connections that characterize the mammalian brain. Understanding how the brain develops, functions, and responds to disease and injury is considered by many to be the last frontier in modern biomedical sciences.

Faculty in the Neurobiology of Disease Training Area study a broad spectrum of neuroscience topics ranging from molecular & cellular neurobiology, synaptic physiology to systems and behavioral neuroscience; from neurodevelopmental disorders to psychiatric and neurocognitive disorders; from neurodegenerative disorders to neural regeneration; from neuroimmunology, blood brain barrier, sleep, to neuroendocrinology; from retinal diseases to peripheral neuropathies and pain; from fundamental understanding to developing cutting-edge tools. All have an ultimate goal in common: to better understand and to identify therapeutic strategies for the diseased nervous system.

The Neurobiology of Disease Training Area is part of the larger neuroscience research community at UCSD and beyond in La Jolla. Faculty and students in this training area interact frequently with those from the Neuroscience Graduate Program and the Neurobiology Training Track of the Biology Graduate Program. In addition to the Neurosciences Seminar Series, a number of seminar series on campus cover neuroscience topics throughout the year.

Find BMS Faculty in Neurobiology of Disease

Required coursework for BMS students

BMS students take a core curriculum that provides the foundation to allow them to specialize in any of the offered training areas. In the Fall quarter, "Molecules to Organisms" (BIOM 200A&B) provides a systematic approach to current Biomedical Research, using analysis of selected topics to focus on the process of research discovery and its critical evaluation. "Seminar in Biomedical Research" (BIOM 201) includes attendance at one of the UC San Diego seminar series and is designed to provoke critical discussion of the presented findings and scientific approaches in a small group setting. BMS students also take short courses in statistical analysis of data (BIOM 285) and ethics in research (BIOM 219) in the second or third quarter of their first year.

Specialized Coursework

Core Training Area Courses 

Quarter Course Number Course Title Units
NEU 270 Neurobiology of Disease 4

Elective Courses (to fulfill 15 unit BMS elective requirement)

Quarter Course Number Course Title Units
NEU 268 Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology 4
NEU 200A Basic Neuroscience: Cellular, Molecular and Developmental 4
NEU 257 Mammalian Neuroanatomy 4
NEU 221 Advanced topics in Neuroscience (Topics vary) 2
BIOM 255B Molecular Basis of Drug Action and Disease Therapy II 3

Note: Students are strongly encouraged to consult with training area organizers on class choices.


School of Medicine/ Neuroscience Microscopy Imaging Core serves the microscopy imaging needs of faculty and students with confocal, 2-photon, spinning disk, deconvolution, macroview, super resolution (SIM), slide scanner, Gatan 3View serial block face scanning electron microscopy along with various imaging software.