Neuroscience Faculty

The Neuroscience faculty are dedicated to an intra-disciplinary approach to the study of how the brain functions, endowing humans with the capacity to know, to feel, and to value. We are also committed to giving you the research and publication opportunities you need for a comprehensive learning experience and to become successful graduate school and career candidates.

Prof. Barbara Lom

Barbara Lom
Ph.D. Northwestern University

I study neurobiology in the vision system of the tadpole, specifically in the retinal ganglion cell, the only type of neuron that connects the eye to the brain. My laboratory investigates how individual neurons wire themselves together into a precisely interconnected and functional nervous system. More specifically, the lab is interested in how growth factors direct axon extension and innervation, as well as the intracellular signaling mechanisms that translate external neurotrophic signals into specific cellular responses such as growth cone formation and the elaboration of axonal and dendritic arbors.

Prof. Julio Ramirez

Julio Ramirez
Ph.D. Clark University

My research interests include the recovery of function after central nervous system injury, with an emphasis on determining the functional significance of hippocampal neuroplasticity. My students and I have been exploring whether axonal sprouting contributes to the recovery of memory function after brain injury in rats. To date, we have shown that accelerating hippocampal sprouting can indeed enhance recovery of memory function after cortical injury. Our work in this research area raises interesting possibilities for therapeutic interventions in cases of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, or traumatic brain injury. 

Prof. Mark Smith

Mark Smith
Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

My research interests focus on the biochemical and behavioral effects of opioids, a class of drugs that are used extensively for both clinical and recreational purposes. By examining the effects of drugs in behavioral assays we are able to make inferences on how drugs of interest manipulate neuronal activity. I have recently begun examining the development of tolerance and cross tolerance to the effects of these drugs following their chronic administration. Data from these studies are challenging many long-held beliefs about the development of drug-related tolerance.