Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI)

Academic Unit

Program Information

Understanding how the brain works, and how it gives rise to mental function, is one of the most exciting challenges in science. This effort is inherently interdisciplinary, and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI) draws upon developments in molecular and cell biology, genetic engineering, and cognitive and social psychology, as well as applied math, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, and physics, for new methods of measuring and understanding neural function.

One of the goals of the institute is to understand how the whole system works together as one unit from all of the very complex interactions and underlying parts. Princeton collaborators utilize their expertise in quantitative disciplines to answer these questions. There is a particular emphasis on the close connection between theory, modeling, and experimentation using the most advanced technologies.

One of the most important objectives of the institute is to provide Princeton undergraduates with training at the forefront of neuroscience. The program encourages the serious study of molecular, cellular, developmental, and systems neuroscience as it interfaces with cognitive and behavioral research. Current research at Princeton includes molecular, genetic, and pharmacologic analysis of learning and memory; the role of neural stem cells in the adult brain; viral infections of the nervous system; optical and electrical recordings of neuronal function; brain imaging studies of cognitive functions, such as attention and memory in humans; and mathematical and computational analysis of neural network function. A more extensive listing of research opportunities in neuroscience is available online.

In addition to providing centralized curricular resources for students and faculty, the institute offers shared scientific facilities and access to state-of-the-art instruments for studying the brain, including two research dedicated scanners, integrated EEG systems, an eye tracker, a laser scanning confocal and two-photon microscope, a transmission electron microscope, and large computing clusters to name a few.