A Clue to the Complexity of Pain

May 30, 2024

Mechanical hyperalgesia is pain from things that should feel like a gentle touch, such as clothes against the skin. Researchers led by Mayank Gautam, PhD, and Wenqin Luo, MD, PhD, both of Neuroscience, sought to discover the neuronal mechanisms governing this response and showed that prominent touch neurons called Aβ low-threshold mechanoreceptors (Aβ-LTMRs) can both trigger and inhibit the condition.

Dorothy P. Schafer, PhD, Wins the 2024 MINS Rising Star Award

March 27, 2024

The Mahoney Institute for Neurosciences (MINS) Rising Star Award, this year in the area of Neuroimmunology, has been awarded to Dorothy P. Schafer, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

What the brain reveals in nature’s subtle game of give and take

March 26, 2024

Research led by Michael Platt uncovers the neural pathways for primate reciprocity, social support, and empathy.

You Toss and Turn

January 31, 2024

A potential future target for therapies to address “fragmented” sleep was discovered by a team led by Shinjae Chung, PhD, of Neuroscience. The researchers showed that a cluster of cells in the pre-optic area of the hypothalamus (POA) cause the “micro-arousals” associated with bad sleep when they are stimulated artificially or by severe stress. Therapies that inhibit these POA cells could one day help people sleep better.

Research shows how stress activates neurons that disrupt sleep

December 18, 2023

A study led by Shinjae Chung and graduate student Jennifer Smith of the Perelman School of Medicine has identified how stress fires up brain cells at the wrong time during sleep stages, causing interrupted slumber and poor quality of rest.

Could Newborn Neurons Reverse Alzheimer's?

November 16, 2023

New research presented by Hongjun Song, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience, suggests that a tiny strip of brain tissue called the dentate gyrus is one of the few bits of the mouse brain to generate new neurons even in adulthood. Song and collaborators suggest that this process might hold promise for developing treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

Some Kids Are Genetically Predisposed to Poor Sleep

November 09, 2023

According to new research, establishing healthy bedtime habits for your child early on is vital if at least one parent has chronic sleep difficulties. Amita Sehgal, MD, vice chair of Neuroscience and director of the Chronobiology Program, underscored the importance of paying attention to your child’s individual circadian rhythms.

Understanding the Brain via a Molecular Map

October 13, 2023

PIK Professor Michael Platt and collaborators have generated the first single-cell ‘atlas’ of the primate brain to help explore links between molecules, cells, brain function, and disease.

Trading decisions are observable in the eyes of buyers and sellers

September 05, 2023

In a new collaborative study, PIK Professor Michael Platt models how the decision-making process unfolds in the brains of buyers and sellers considering a deal.

A link between social environment and healthy brains in wild rhesus macaques

December 02, 2022

Research from Penn, Arizona State University, the National Institute of Mental Health, and elsewhere finds that on the island of Cayo Santiago, female monkeys with a higher social status had younger, more resilient molecular profiles.

New Insights into Brain Plasticity and Other Functions

July 29, 2022

"Many mammals generate new neurons in their brains throughout their lifespans which play a critical role in the brain’s plasticity, or ability to change and adapt over time. This ability to repair itself is especially important when the brain is damaged, which is what happens during a stroke or brain injury," said senior author Hongjun Song, PhD, a Perelman Professor of Neuroscience at Penn.

Hongjun Song Wins Landis Award for Outstanding Mentoring

July 11, 2022

Trainees credit Dr. Song with purposeful, individualized mentoring that extends beyond science to their families and personal lives. 

Amita Sehgal Named 2021 SRBR Pioneer

November 30, 2021

The Society for Research on Biological Rhythms launched the Pioneer program to recognize scientists who made the field into what it is today through leadership, scientific contribution, research training, and mentoring. Click here to see the full list of Pioneers.

John Dani wins MERIT Award

October 18, 2021

The Neuroscience Chair/MINS Director won a MERIT Award from NIH NIDA for a research grant.

What a Video Game Can Reveal About Monkeys’ Minds

April 06, 2021

Michael Platt, who has studied cognition in monkeys for decades, and his team, then at Duke University, recently harnessed a combination of brain monitoring and machine learning in a bid to get closer to answering this question.

Penn MindCORE Behind the CV with John Dani

March 17, 2021

MindCORE spotlights the life of John Dani, PhD (Chair, Dept. of Neuroscience; David J. Mahoney Professor of Neurological Sciences; UPenn).

Black Lives Matter

August 12, 2020

The Department of Neuroscience and the Mahoney Institute for Neurosciences (MINS) are committed to Black Lives Matter and strongly believe that greater diversity among our Students, Trainees, Staff, and Faculty will strengthen our program. We will participate wholeheartedly in the University of Pennsylvania’s Action for Cultural Transformation and will strive to reveal and remove bias, both conscious and unconscious. We strive to ensure equity and inclusion in hiring and treatment practices across the neuroscience community. Our goal is a neuroscience community that is inclusive and affirmatively anti-racist in all aspects of its operations.

John A. Dani, Ph.D.,
David J. Mahoney Professor of Neurological Sciences
and Chair of Neuroscience
Director, MINS    

John A. Detre, M.D.
Professor of Neurology
Director, Penn Brain Science Center

Minghong Ma, Ph.D.
Co-Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion and
Professor of Neuroscience

Jonathan Raper, Ph.D. 
Vice Chair for Research and
Professor of Neuroscience

Brian M. Salzberg, Ph.D.
Co-Vice Chair for Diversity and Inclusion and
Professor of Neuroscience and Physiology

Amita Seghal, Ph.D.
Vice Chair for Professionalism and
John Herr Musser Professor of Neuroscience
Director, Chronobiology and Sleep Institute

Rays of Hope

June 09, 2020

NGG Responds to Racism

June 05, 2020

Overcoming Injustices

June 04, 2020

In a message to the Penn community, President Amy Gutmann wrote of the “grim manifestations of ongoing racism, repression, and inflammation of hatred in our society.”

Neuroscience Chair John Dani on PBS's "Counter Culture"

March 03, 2020

On this episode, host Grover Silcox welcomed Dr. Dani, who discussed how the adolescent brain can be impacted by stress and nicotine, leading to greater vulnerability to addictions later in life.

Guo-li Ming, MD, PhD, is one of six PSOM faculty named to the National Academy of Medicine

October 20, 2019

Professor Guo-li Ming, MD, PhD, is one of six faculty members from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the nation's highest honors in biomedicine

Amita Sehgal's Research Featured in "Smithsonian Magazine"

February 05, 2019

These results, Sehgal explained, indicate that “sleep regulation is closely linked to the immune system, in particular how the body deals with sleep deprivation.

Penn Medicine Neuroscientist Receives Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award

June 01, 2018

Shinjae Chung, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience has been named a recipient of a 2017 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award.

Teens Who Smoke More Likely to Abuse Alcohol as Adults

April 19, 2018

Smoking as a teen could be even worse than lighting up later in life, a new animal study led by John Dani, PhD, chair of Neuroscience, has found. Early exposure to nicotine may change the way the brain responds to rewards and put users at a later, greater risk to abuse alcohol.

2017 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards - Shinjae Chung

April 01, 2018

The Hartwell Foundation today officially announced the recipients of the 2017 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Awards.

Penn’s Mahoney Institute for Neurosciences Announces Inaugural Recipient of Rising Star Award

March 12, 2018

Washington University’s Michael Bruchas honored for addiction research

Early-Career Penn Medicine Biology, Neuroscience Researchers Receive Sloan Fellowships

March 09, 2018

Shinjae Chung, PhD, an assistant professor of Neuroscience, and Iain Mathieson, PhD, an assistant professor of Genetics, both from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have been awarded highly competitive 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships.

How Brain Develops Before Birth is Tightly Controlled by RNA Modification

September 28, 2017

A chemical tag added to RNA during embryonic development regulates how the early brain grows, according to research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings are published this week in Cell.

Catch up with Amita Sehgal

March 23, 2017

Photo of Amita SehgalAmita Sehgal, the John Herr Musser Professor of Neuroscience

in the Perelman School of Medicine and director of the Chronobiology Program at Penn, discusses her interest in science and sleep, fruit flies, sleep mutants, biological clocks, and the health hazards of working at night.


December 12, 2016

Photo of Greg BashawGreg Bashaw, has been awarded research funding under a novel, multi-year pilot program from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Neural Response

November 18, 2016

Photo of  John Dani, PhDA team led by John Dani, PhD, chair of the department of Neuroscience in the Perelman School of Medicine, found that rodents that had been exposed to stress had a weakened alcohol-induced dopamine response and voluntarily drank more alcohol compared to controls.

Flies Sleep Just Like Us

June 30, 2016

Photo of Amita Sehgal, PhDAmita Sehgal, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience and director of the Chronobiology Program, is featured in a Stat "Science Happens" video on her lab's research on fruitflies and the mysteries of sleep.

Amita Sehgal, PhD, Penn Medicine Neuroscientist Elected to the National Academy of Science

May 19, 2016

Photo of Amita Sehgal, PhDAmita Sehgal, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience and director of the Chronobiology Program, is featured in a Stat "Science Happens" video on her lab's research on fruitflies and the mysteries of sleep.


May 17, 2016

Photo of Amita Sehgal, PhDLed by Amita Sehgal of Medicine, researchers have found that a rhythm of cellular detox in flies and mammals is synchronized by a neuropeptide that also drives feeding.

Neural Circuits

May 03, 2016

Photo of Michael PlattA new NIH grant will allow PIK Prof Michael Platt to continue work on social functions in the brain, which could ultimately aid those with autism or schizophrenia.

PIK Professor Michael Platt Earns $2.9 Million NIH Award for Neural Circuitry Work

May 03, 2016

Photo of Michael PlattMichael Platt of the University of Pennsylvania has received a five-year, $2.9 million Method to Extend Research In Time, or MERIT, award from the National Institute of Mental Health to continue his work on the neural circuits that mediate complex social cognition.

Penn Researchers’ Theory: Brain’s Location-tracking Cells Use Transcendental Number System

March 31, 2016

Photo of Vijay BalasubramanianVijay Balasubramanian and grad student Xue-Xin Wei of Arts & Sciences have a new theory for how the brain keeps track of locations on a mental map.

Both Sides Now: Dopamine, the Brain's "Reward" Molecule, also Controls Learning to Avoid an Unpleasant Experience, Penn Animal Study Finds.

February 29, 2016

Photo of John Dani, PhDThe brain chemical dopamine regulates how mice learn to avoid a disagreeable encounter, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at    the University of Pennsylvania. “We know that dopamine reinforces ‘rewarding’ behaviors, but to our surprise, we have now shown that situations that animals    learn to avoid are also regulated by dopamine,” said senior author John Dani, PhD, chair of the department of Neuroscience. The team’s findings are published on March 1st, 2016 in Cell Reports.

Research Star

February 26, 2016

Photo of Matthew KayserCongratulations to Matthew Kayser for receiving the 2016 Sloan Fellowship Award given to early-career scientists seen as industry leaders.

Congratulations to Josh Gold and Joe Kable on their $1,000,000 award from NSF!

August 25, 2015

Photo of Josh GoldPenn Neuroscientists Receive $1 Million "BRAIN" Grant from National Science Foundation. Award supports the study of norepinephrine's role in individual differences in learning.

Dr. Marc Fuccillo, Assistance Professor Neuroscience, has won the McCabe Fund Award for his especially meritorious proposal exploring the neural circuits neuropsychiatric disease.

August 01, 2015

Photo of Dr. Marc Fuccillo

Go Green

March 21, 2006

Photo of Peter SterlingMedicine's Peter Sterling called for scientists to reduce their carbon footprint while engaging in professional activities, particularly when traveling for research meetings.