Neuroscience and Neurobiology

Last update : August 10, 2013


Neurons “Blue Brain Project”

Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system, mainly the brain. In the past neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. Today it is an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, physics, and psychology.

Recent theoretical advances in neuroscience have been aided by the study of neural networks.

Neurobiology is sometimes used as a synonym, although it refers specifically to the biology of the nervous system. Neurobiology is studied at numerous universities : Harvard, Stanford, Yale, UCLA, Duke, Austin, …

Several prominent neuroscience organizations have been formed to provide a forum to all neuroscientists :

A public education booklet about the brain and neuroscience has been published by the IBRO.

In June 2012, EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) launched the NEUROPOLIS project, a global Neuroscience Hub, with the partnership of the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva. Two entities will be constructed :

  • A research infrastructure in Lausanne, constructed on the grounds of the institutions of higher learning, UNIL-EPFL
  • A research infrastructure in Geneva, near the University Hospital, including a new Institute of Translational Molecular Imaging (UNIGE)

NEUROPOLIS will establish an institute of international stature. Like CERN in the field of physics, NEUROPOLIS unites neuroscientists and biologists from around the world. The initiator of the project is Henry Markram, the Director of the Human Brain Project at EPFL. NEUROPOLIS will also be open to the general public : an interactive space will be dedicated to neuroscience and the conquest of the brain. A video about the project is available at Dailymotion.

Another famous medical research organization, dedicated to accelerating the understanding of how the human brain works, is the Allen Institute for Brain Science. This Seattle-based nonprofit institute was launched in 2003 by Paul Allen, the co-founder, with Bill Gates, of Microsoft Corporation. The Allen Institute for Brain Science provides researchers and educators with a variety of unique online public resources for exploring the nervous system, which are all openly accessible via the Allen Brain Atlas data portal.

Additional informations about neuroscience and neurobiology are available at the following links :