History of MINS

Sixty years ago, the study of the brain and behavior was scattered across numerous fields of research that were narrowly focused and relatively independent of each other. Anatomists talked to anatomists about structure. Psychologists talked to psychologists about behavior. Clinicians talked to clinicians about disease. However, there was little opportunity or inclination to work across disciplines, let alone across academic departments, to provide a more complete view of brain function. So it was with uncommon vision that Louis Flexner, a professor of Anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania, foresaw that brain science would move forward most rapidly in a collaborative environment that supported integrated research and training. With the help of the very first institutional training grant from the NIH (for the princely sum of $25,000, which according to Dr. Flexner "in those days was worth something"), our Institute was born.

With later financial support from the David Mahoney Institute of Brain Intiatives, the Mahoney Institute for Neurosciences (MINS) at the University of Pennsylvania continues as one of the world's preeminent institutions for neuroscience research and training. Acting as the university's intellectual fulcrum for the study of the brain, MINS continues to support cross-disciplinary thinking and an integrated approach to fundamental, pre-clinical, and clinical research on the brain. With over 150 faculty from 32 academic departments in the School of Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and the associated Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, MINS provides a fertile environment that is a template for programs at academic institutions around the world. MINS also maintains a close relationship with the renowned graduate program it founded, the Neuroscience Graduate Group (NGG), which is now administered under the umbrella of Penn's Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS)

Click here to read an oral history of the Institute recorded in 1993 from its first four directors: Drs. Sprague, Flexner, Stellar, and Barchi (pictured above).