Research

Scientists in the Department of Neuroscience participate in a wide array of research activities with a focus on understanding both the normal and injured nervous system. The theme of neuroplasticity characterizes much of the research in the Department. We study neuroplasticity during normal development and in the adult in response to activity (e.g., learning) or drugs. Our research is also focused on studying the plasticity that ensues after traumatic (such as spinal cord injury) or ischemic damage to the nervous system and over the course of developmental or neurodegenerative diseases (such as Specific Language Impairment, Autism, or Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases). The specific research interests of each of the principal investigators falls under four broad subheadings:

  • CNS disorders
  • Cognitive/Computational¬†
  • Development, Regeneration and recovery of function after injury
  • Neuroimmunology and Drugs of Abuse¬†

Under this common theme, a variety of diverse techniques and models are employed by the faculty. They range from molecular studies of gene function to studies on humans using Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) and functional MRI. Experimental models include cell culture systems, rodent genetic and experimental models of nervous system injury and disorders, as well as the use of computer simulations to understand higher cortical processing.

Centers

Center for Neural Injury and Recovery

Established in 1999, the Center for Neural Injury and Recovery (CNIR) promotes research in areas related to central nervous system injury and recovery, neurodegeneration, nervous system plasticity, and the impact of traumatic brain injuries. Drawing on Georgetown’s strengths in interdisciplinary education, research, and the mind and brain space, the CNIR convenes faculty members from various basic science and clinical departments who share a common passion to understand the fundamental mechanisms of neural plasticity, injury, and recovery.

The mission of the CNIR extends across research, education, and impact. Specifically, CNIR strives to enhance basic research on issues related to neural injury and recovery, develop novel and effective therapies for nervous system disorders, facilitate greater collaboration between scientists and clinicians, and develop training programs for young scientists who can sustain this vital work into the future.