Welcome to Penn State Neural and Behavioral Sciences

Welcome to the Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine! At its formation on July 1, 2003, the department had 27 full time faculty members. Funded investigators in the department occupy more than 19,000 square feet of space, including 3,000 square feet of shared department space. These individuals have a broad range of scientific interests and work at the behavioral, systems, cellular, and molecular levels. Their research is aimed at understanding the basic properties of the nervous system as well as delineating the role of the nervous system in the maintenance of health and in the pathophysiology of various diseases such as, Hypertension, Drug Addiction, Autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Maple Syrup Urine Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Restless Legs Syndrome, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Stroke.  More...

Recent Awards and Recognition

Drs. Patricia McLaughlin and Ian S. Zagon receive 2013 Innovation Awards.

The annual Innovation Award Ceremony was held on October 22, 2013 with a keynote address by Glenn Prestwich, Ph.D. , University of Utah.  Individuals were recognized for moving their innovations forward by executing a licensing agreement, earning a patent or starting a company based on Penn State technology during the preceding year.  Congratulations to our Neural & Behavioral Sciences Faculty members.   


Neural & Behavioral Sciences , Graduate Student 

Amanda has been selected to receive the College of Medicine Class of 1971 Endowed Scholarship.  The accomplishments of these students consist of scholarly excellence, research achievements and participation in humanistic and community activities. Ms. Troy will be recognized at the Fall Convocation and Awards Ceremony on Friday, September 20, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. in the Junker Auditorium. Faculty members, family and friends are invited to attend.

Please be sure to extend your personal congratulations next time you see Amanda 

Congratulations to Dr. Joyce Tombran-Tink. Dr. Tombran-Tink has been awarded the first QED  Proof-of-Concept Program award for Penn State Hershey.  Since the QED Program's launch in 2009, the regionally competitive proof-of concept program supporting technology commercialization has awarded $3 million to 16 projects in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Dr. Tombran-Tink identified a peptide derived from pigment epithelium derived factor, or PEDF, that prevents degeneration of neurons through reduction of inflammation and vascular leakage in the retina in two mouse models of retinal degeneration. The peptide can effectively be administered as an eye drop, as a slow release device, or by systematic infusion. This technology could potentially benefit millions of patients with a wide variety of neurodegenerative. Click here for more information.

MERIT AwardDr. Patricia Sue Grigson received a MERIT award for her grant entitled "Drugs of Abuse and Learned Aversions: Solving a Paradox". This award will give Dr. Grigson up to 10 years of support for this project from the Nat'l Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).  This award is given to investigators whose research competence and productivity are superior.

Recognition was given to the following Neural & Behavioral Sciences department members at the 2012 Convocation held Friday, Sept. 21, 2012.

Yangli Wang, MD/PhD program (Barnstable lab), received the Madeline K. Dietz Memorial Scholarship.  Carolina Pinzon-Guzman, PhD, MD/PhD program (Barnstable lab) and Yanli Wang, MD/PhD program (Barnstable lab), received the Judith S. Bond Award. Carolyn Pritchett, Neuroscience PhD program (Hajnal Lab), received the Graduate Alumni Endowed Scholarship. Caesar Imperio, Neuroscience PhD program (Grigson lab), received the Karl H. Beyer Jr., M.D., Ph.D. Scholarship.  The department is honored to have this group of scholars as part of the Neural & Behavioral Sciences department. We look forward to their future achievements.   

Dr. Kirsteen Browning was granted an award from the National Science Foundation CAREER program.  The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.  

Dr. Joyce Tombran-Tink, Professor of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, was honored as a new member of the AFER Dowling Society.  The Dowling Society was established in 2008 to honor innovative vision researcher and first chairman of the AFER Board of Governors, John E. Dowling, Ph.D., FARVO.

Dr. Colin Barnstable, Chair of the Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, was appointed as research director of the Penn State Hershey Eye Center.  To read the full story, click here.

OGF-OGFr axis discovery provides new insights into ovarian cancer.  Click here for full article.

Dr. Sue Grigson earns $2.2 million grant to study addiction.  Click here for full article.

Use of Naltrexone reduces inflammation in Crohn's patients.  Click here for full article.

The Medical News:  Research on OGF-OGFr complex helps to understand pathobiology of diseases.  Click here for the full article.  


 Peter Kovacs, Ph.D., Manager of Neurophysiological Research Laboratory, at Gedeon Richter Plc., will present “Obesity translational research: new advances and perspectives” on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at Noon in Room C3700.

Join us on Thursdays at Noon in Room C3700 for the Neural & Behavioral Sciences Seminar Series

For additional events and seminars click here.