Thomas Jefferson University
PhD Programs



Student with research equipment

The laboratories of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience (GPN) faculty are housed in modern research buildings that are fully equipped to investigate cellular, molecular, behavioral and clinical neuroscience. These laboratories have active, extramurally-funded research programs in a variety of areas.

Individual laboratories and collaborative research cores provide contemporary methods in neuroscience. These include:

  • Recombinant DNA technology and microarray analysis
  • Protein biochemistry
  • Mitochondrial bioenergetics
  • Cell/tissue/organotypic culture
  • Electrophysiology
  • Behavioral suites
  • Animal facilities
  • Computer modeling/analysis
  • Systems biology and bioinformatics
  • fMRI
  • Electron microscopy
  • State of the art cell imaging facilities

Research Areas

Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience

EEG of the Hippocampus

The Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience faculty use a variety of techniques and technologies to better understand how the regulated activity of neural networks gives rise to complex behaviors.

Cell & Molecular Neuroscience

Microscopic Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience

The Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience faculty aim to understand the molecular mechanisms behind complex biological processes such as neuronal differentiation, synapse development, regulation of ion channels and more within the central nervous system.

Neurobiology of Disease


The Neurobiology of Disease faculty study the etiology and potential therapeutics for a variety of diseases including, but not limited to, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, schizophrenia, autism and chronic pain.

Translational & Clinical Neuroscience

Microscopic Translational & Clinical Neuroscience

The Translational & Clinical Neuroscience faculty bridge the gap between the scientist’s bench and the patient’s bedside. These faculty are directly involved in studies with human patients at Jefferson.

Current Faculty Research

Jeffrey L. Benovic, PhD How Does Dysfunctional Regulation of Signaling Contribute to Disease?
George C. Brainard, PhD How Does Light Regulate Biology, Behavior and Therapeutic Responses in Humans?
Manuel Covarrubias, MD, PhD What Mechanisms Govern the Function and Regulation of Voltage-Gated Potassium Channels in the Brain?
Matthew Dalva, PhD What Mechanisms and Cell-Cell Signaling Govern the Formation of Excitatory Synapses?
Melanie Elliott, PhD What Are the Key Neuroimmunological Drivers of Disorders Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury?
Mark Fortini, PhD How Do Cell Signaling Pathways Contribute to Neuronal Development and Neurodegeneration?
Larry Harshyne, PhD How do Brain Tumors and Other CNS Pathologies Modulate the Immune Response?
Ya-Ming Hou, PhD How Do tRNA Functions Affect Motor Neuron Activities?
Lorraine Iacovitti, PhD Can we Develop Dopamine Neurons from Stem Cells for the Therapeutic Treatment of Parkinson's Disease?
Kyunghee Koh, PhD Why Do We Sleep and How is Sleep Regulated?
Angelo Lepore, PhD Can Astrocytes be Targeted Therapeutically for Treating Spinal Cord Injury and ALS?
Le Ma, PhD How to Build and Rebuild Neural Networks From Axons and Dendrites
A. Sue Menko, PhD What are the Pathways that Signal Cell Differentiation and How do Abbreviations in These Pathways Lead to Disease?
Diane Merry, PhD How Does Polyglutamine Expansion in the Androgen Receptor Cause Motor Neuron Disease?
Piera Pasinelli, PhD How Do Motor Neurons Die in ALS?
Raymond F. Regan, PhD What Causes Cell Injury After Intracerebral Hemorrhage?
A. M. Rostami, MD, PhD What is Etiology and Pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis?
Barry W. Rovner, MD How Can We Help Patients with Two Highly Prevalent, Disabling Diseases of Age?
Roseann C. Schaaf, PhD Is There A Relation Between ANS Activity & Sensory Behaviors?
Jay S. Schneider, PhD How Can We Improve the Lives of Parkinson's Disease Patients?
James S. Schwaber, PhD How Can Maintenance of Homeostasis Involve Adaptive Molecular Processes?
Michael R. Sperling, MD How Can We Improve Our Understanding of Epilepsy and the Consequences of this Condition?
Robert C. Sterling, PhD
What Factors Improve Treatment Retention & Efficacy?
Joseph I. Tracy, PhD, ABPP (CN) What Are the Neural Correlates of Learning and Memory?
Davide Trotti, PhD How Do Motor Neurons Die in ALS?
Rajanikanth Vadigepalli, PhD How to Manipulate, Control and Fine-tune Neuroinflammation
Scott Waldman, MD, PhD How Does Cell Signaling Contribute to Regeneration in the CNS?
Philip Wedegaertner, PhD How are Signaling Proteins Targeted to Different Locations Within A Cell?
Hui Zhang, PhD How Do Dopamine Neurons Die in Parkinson’s Disease?
Ji-fang Zhang, PhD How Does Calcium Influx Through Different Types of Calcium Channels Achieve Specificity in Signaling?