Neuroscience research at Washington University spans more than a dozen departments across multiple schools, including Engineering, Medicine, and Arts & Sciences. The priority placed on collaboration and inclusion at WashU has created a thriving community of scholars who work across disciplines and departmental affiliations.

Research areas of strength

WashU is a leader in numerous fields of neuroscience research, including sleep, development, neurodegeneration, motor control, behavior, sensory processing and more. Below is a selection of organizing entities that foster collaboration, support training programs and accelerate discovery.

Cognitive, Computational and Systems Neuroscience Pathway (CCSN)

The CCSN is a specialized curriculum available to students pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, or other brain-related discipline at Washington University (including students in the Medical Scientist Training Program). The CCSN Pathway is not a separate degree-granting program, and CCSN students must fulfill all of the degree requirements of their home programs. The curriculum is challenging and is designed to help students tackle problems using an interdisciplinary approach.

Incubator for Transdisciplinary Futures

The convergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and brain sciences is creating a unique opportunity for transformational research into the understanding of how intelligence works. Within the Incubator for Transdisciplinary Futures, eight faculty from Arts & Sciences will join forces with three engineering faculty and four from the School of Medicine to advance insight into the mechanisms of artificial and biological intelligence.

Center on Biological Rhythms and Sleep (COBRAS)

COBRAS enables researchers across diverse specialties and departments to readily investigate the impact of sleep and circadian rhythms on their disease of interest. 

Neural Engineering

This program involves fundamental and applied studies related to neurons, neural systems, behavior and neurological disease encompassing a spectrum of activities, including mathematical modeling; exploring novel approaches to sensory (vision, hearing, smell and touch) and motor processing; exploring fundamentals of neural plasticity; and designing neuroprosthetics.

McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience

The Systems Center encourages interdisciplinary approaches to improve our understanding of integrative functions of the brain in health and disease. To achieve these goals, the Systems Center supports investigator-initiated pilot projects and contributes to shared resources and programs that enhance systems neuroscience.

McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

The McDonnell Center for Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology has supported Neuroscience-related activities across Washington University for more than 30 years.  It helps fund a wide variety of activities in research, education and outreach that promote the scope and vibrancy of our Neuroscience community. 


  • Washington University Information Technology’s Research Infrastructure Services
    Washington University Information Technology’s Research Infrastructure Services’ mission is to facilitate discovery of knowledge and enhance educational opportunities by providing secure, sustainable, scalable, and integrated research technology services in a collaborative and diverse environment.
  • Center for High Performance Computing
    CHPC provides access to high performance computing resources, a broad spectrum of scientific computing software, and expert support to help faculty make use of deep computing resources focusing on human imaging processing. Usage is free to all faculty of Washington University from contributing departments.
  • Office of Neuroscience Research
    The ONR connects the Washington University Neuroscience Community across our departments, graduate programs and campuses, and informs those who want to know more about our research on brain development and brain function, as well as brain disorders and potential therapies.
  • Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging (WUCCI)
    The overarching goal of the Center for Cellular Imaging (WUCCI) is to provide reliable and affordable access to state-of-the-art cellular imaging technologies, provide professional guidance in experimental design, sample preparation and data analysis, develop and apply new imaging technologies and work collaboratively with Wash U researchers to advance our understanding of human health and disease.
  • Animal Behavior Core
    The Animal Behavior Core (ABC) offers interested investigators a time-efficient, cost-effective opportunity to examine the behavioral consequences of gene mutations as well as assess the effects of specific drugs, experimental manipulations (e.g., neuronal loss), or altered development on behavior in laboratory rodents. Services include consultation, animal handling, behavioral testing, data management, statistical analysis, and help in writing manuscripts and grant proposals.

New neuroscience research building

The School of Medicine is nearly finished constructing a state-of-the-art, 600,000 square foot facility dedicated to neuroscience research. Once complete in July 2023, it will be one of the largest of its kind in the US and will house more than 100 laboratories affiliated with multiple departments. Its lecture rooms, auditoriums, and gathering spaces will serve as a physical hub for neuroscientists across buildings and campuses to socialize, collaborate, and learn.