Recognizing the importance of neuroscience as an emerging discipline, on June 13, 1989 the faculty of Case Western Research University School of Medicine overwhelmingly voted to approve a petition to establish the Department of Neurosciences. The original five faculty members, Vance Lemmon, Robert Miller, Norman Robbins, Jerry Silver and Richard Zigmond came from the Center for Neuroscience, directed by Story Landis, who became the founding chair of the newly established department. Under her leadership, and the subsequent leadership of Lynn Landmesser, Who became chair in 1999, the department was able to expand and attract additional outstanding new member, enabling it today to cover a broad spectrum of modern basic and translational neuroscience. Many of its faculty members have become acknowledged leaders in their respective areas of neuroscience. In additions, the department also established a vibrant and highly productive NIH funded neuroscience graduate training program with its alumni going on to successful careers in academia and industry.
Understanding how the nervous system develops and functions and how it is altered by disease, injury, or environmental factors is one of the most exciting frontiers remaining in biomedical research today. Our goals are: 1) To understand how circuits in the brain, spinal cord, and autonomic nervous system are assembled during normal development, 2) To understand how these circuits function to enable normal sensation, movement, homeostasis, learning and memory, and higher cognitive functions, 3) To use this understand of basic mechanisms to provide new strategies and tools to treat a variety of disorders of the nervous system, and 4) To train the next generation of neuroscientists. By serving as a focus for neuroscience research and training throughout the institution, the department has facilitated important advances in our understanding of mechanisms underlying normal neuronal function and in developing potential therapies to treat the disease or injure nervous system. With continued support from government and private funding agencies, as well as from Case Western Research University and the School of Medicine, we are confident that these goals can be achieved.