Neuroscience Center
Department Information: 
192S ESC

Neuroscience is the study of the development and function of the central nervous system and its connection to influencing/regulating behavior.  The study of neuroscience examines neuroanatomy, physiology of nervous system, biochemistry, genetics, neuropharmacology, neuroimaging, systems and behavioral neuroscience, developmental neuroscience, social neuroscience, cognition, bioengineering, computational neuroscience, and neural dysfunction and disease.

Graduate programs within the Neuroscience Center offer research training and classroom instruction in a wide range of areas pertaining to neuroscience. Areas of research include neuroendocrinology, reproduction, central nervous system development, exercise physiology, glucose metabolism, membrane transport, channel structure, synaptic vesicle recycling, blood pressure control, tissue engineering, memory, stress and coping, aging, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, development, emotions, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, amnesia, language, vision, sleep, sensory development, brain behavior relationships, cognition, attachment, robotic rehabilitation, movement, electroencephalography, psychophysiology, traumatic brain injury and psychiatric disorders.

In addition to working with neuroscience faculty, graduate students have the option to engage in cross disciplinary research with faculty members in Neuroscience.

The Neuroscience Center offers two graduate degrees: Neuroscience—MS and Neuroscience—PhD.

Students working toward a master’s degree generally complete all requirements within two years. PhD students generally complete all requirements in four to five years.

Director:  Ramona O. Hopkins
Graduate Coordinator:  Scott Steffensen


Michael D. Brown
Teaching Professor, Physiology and Developmental Biology
PhD, Colorado State University, 1999
Regulation of Axon and Dendrite Extension and Pathfinding During Nervous System Development 

David D. Busath
Professor, Physiology and Developmental BiologyMD, University of Utah, 1978
Electrophysiology; Molecular Modeling: Molecular Biophysics

Steven Charles
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
PhD, Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008
Wrist Movement; Robotic Rehabilitation; Mechanical and Medical Engineering

Derin J. Cobia
Assistant Professor, Psychology
PhD, St Louis University, 2008
Neuropsychology; Neuroimaging; Psychosis; Dementia

Alonzo Cook
Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996
Tissue Engineering and Medical Devices; Regenerative Medicine

Jeff G. Edwards
Associate Professor, Physiology and Developmental Biology
PhD, University of Utah, 2003
Synapse Activity and Structure

Shawn D. Gale
Associate Professor
PhD, Brigham Young University, 1994
Neuropsychology; Brain-Behavior Relationship; Neuroimaging

Dawson W. Hedges
Professor, Psychology
MD, University of Utah, 1998
Psychiatry; Neuroscience; Electroencephalography

J. Dee Higley
Professor, Psychology
PhD, University of Wisconsin, 1985
Developmental Psychopathology; Psychobiology; Primate Behavior

Julianne Holt-Lunstad
Professor, Psychology
PhD, University of Utah, 2001
Social Relationship; Stress and Coping; Psychoneuroendocrinology; Psychophysiology; Health Psychology

Ramona O. Hopkins
Professor, Psychology
PhD, University of Utah, 1996
Neuroimaging; Brain Behavior Relationships; Cognitive Outcomes of Critical Illness, Hypoxia/Ischemia; Family Stress due to Illness

John “Keoni” Kauwe
Associate Professor, Biology
PhD, Washington University, 2007
Alzheimer’s disease; Identification and Functional Characterization of Disease Associated Genetic Variation

Daniel B. Kay
Assistant Professor, Psychology
PhD, University of Florida, 2008
Sleep; Cognition; Mood; Aging

C. Brock Kirwan
Associate Professor, Psychology
PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 2006
Memory; Amnesia; Functional Neuroimaging

Michael J. Larson
Associate Professor, Psychology
PhD, University of Florida, 2008
Neuropsychology; Cognitive Neuroscience; Neuroimaging; Cognitive Changes Following Traumatic Brain Injury; Cognitive Processes in Psychopathology such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Steven G. Luke
Assistant Professor, Psychology
PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011
Language Processing; Vision; Reading: Eye Movements

Rebecca A. Lundwall
Assistant Professor, Psychology
PhD, Rice University, 2013
Attentional Development; Genetics: Gene-by-Environment Interactions; Cognitive Neuroscience

Rebekka Matheson
Teaching Assistant Professor, Psychology
MD, University of Rochester, 2013
Neuroanatomy of Reward Systems, Addiction Medicine; Neuropsychiatry; Biopsychosocial Approach in Medicine; Scientific Pedagogy

David McPherson
PhD, University of Washington, 1972
Professor, Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology
Even Related Potentials: Language and Cognitive Function and in Auditory Processing and Function; Neurophysiological Foundations of Sensory Development

Jared Nielsen
Assistant Professor, Psychology
PhD, University of Utah, 2013
Brain Organization and How Neurological and Psychiatric Illness Disrupt Brain Organization

Chris L. Porter
Associate Professor, School of Family Life
PhD, Purdue University-West Lafayette, 1996
Child Development; Socialization: Behavioral and Psychophysiological Components of Temperament and Emotionality; EEG and ERP,
Childhood Attachment; Emotional, Behavioral and Biological Reactivity

Michael D. South
Associate Professor, Psychology
PhD, University of Utah, 2005
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Social Emotion/Motivation; Functional Neuroimaging; Restricted/Repetitive Behaviors and Interests; Diagnostic Issues

Michael Robert Stark
Professor, Physiology and Developmental Biology
PhD, University of California, Irvine, 1998
Developmental Biology

Scott C. Steffensen
Professor, Psychology

Sterling N. Sudweeks
Associate Professor, Physiology and Developmental Biology
PhD, University of Utah, 1997
Pharmacology of the Nervous System; Ion Channels

Arminda Suli
Assistant Professor, Physiology and Developmental Biology
PhD, University of Utah, 1999
Neural Circuitry Development

Dixon John Woodbury
Professor, Physiology and Developmental Biology
PhD, University of California, Irvine, 1986
Molecular Mechanisms of Exocytosis; Neuroscience of Transmitter Release; Electrophysiology of Ion Channels


Resources & Opportunity: 

Program resources include the laboratories and equipment of Center faculty. An electron microscope laboratory, with both transmission and scanning microscopes, a DNA Sequencing Center, Cancer Research Center, and the MRI Research Facility.

Financial Assistance: 

The Neuroscience Center offers the following financial aid: teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and tuition awards.