Focus Areas

The Brain Health Institute (BHI) has identified four focus areas of outstanding strength within Rutgers that are primed for further development.




Rutgers has multiple investigators that study neurodevelopmental processes at the cellular, circuit, or behavioral levels. Researchers in the neurodevelopment focus area study neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, tourette’s, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia.



Neurodegeneration and Injury

Exceptional strengths exist at Rutgers in neurodegeneration and injury, including numerous labs that study multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and spinal and traumatic brain injury.

Uncovering physiological mechanisms in epilepsy using computational, optical and electrophysiological methods. Image courtesy of Dr. Viji Santhakumar, Rutgers-NJMS, Newark.

NeurodevelopmentMotivational and Affective Neuroscience

Understanding the motivational and emotional mechanisms of the brain will lead to important clinical applications for treating drug addiction, feeding disorders and obesity, and serious emotional disorders including depression and anxiety. The development of research teams with expertise in molecular, physiological circuit, and behavioral approaches will produce important advances in treatments for these disorders.

Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience

This area is highly relevant to other focus areas because cognitive and sensory dysfunctions are key elements in neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative/injury and motivational and affective disorders. Rutgers investigators work on cellular and psychological aspects of cognition; outstanding computational neural modeling of these processes exists both in-house and in collaboration with faculty at Princeton University. The development of teams, including faculty from the Computer Science Department, will promote understanding and modeling of complex brain functions.