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Neural Systems

Name Email Phone Room
Sridhar  Raghavachari (703) 292-8421  685N  
Evan  Balaban (703) 292-8421  685N  
E. Floh  Thiels (703) 292-8421  685N  
Richmond  R. Thompson (703) 292-8421  685N  
For general inquiries about the Neural Systems Cluster you may contact us at


Apply to 17-508

The Neural Systems Cluster focuses on the basic functions of the nervous system and its interactions with the physical and social environments. The neuronal mechanisms underlying organismal responses and adaptation to an ever-changing biosphere are also of interest.  The Cluster encourages the use of comparative species approaches to better understand how organisms perceive their environment, transduce that information in the nervous system and respond appropriately.  Projects supported by the Neural Systems Cluster span multiple levels of analysis ranging from the molecular and cellular to the complex behavioral aspects of organisms functioning in their natural environments.  The use of comparative and evolutionary studies, as well as the development of novel theoretical, computational, and transdisciplinary approaches to guide and instruct experimental design, are particularly encouraged. Interdisciplinary research in neuroscience at the interfaces of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering is also supported.

Proposals should be submitted to one of the three programs below, each of which reflects one of three conceptual domains in neurobiology:

The Organization Program supports research focused on how the nervous system is organized along developmental, genetic, molecular and cellular lines; exploring developmental mechanisms and determining how experiential/environmental interactions affect the basic structural and functional characteristics of the nervous system.

The Activation Program supports research focused on how signals from the external environment activate the nervous system to produce motor responses; investigating how the internal state of the organism reaches a decision threshold, integrates sensorimotor responses, and triggers an action.

The Modulation Program supports research focused on how various factors modulate the nervous system to produce complex behavior, and how that complex behavior, in turn, feeds back to have an impact on the nervous system; examining basic neural mechanisms underlying neuroendocrine and neuroimmune function, learning and memory, biological rhythms, and other complex behavior.

Program Directors:

Sridhar Raghavachari: Neural systems ACTIVATION, sensory-motor integration, neural plasticity.  

Evan Balaban: Neural systems ORGANIZATION, developmental neuroscience, molecular and cellular neuroscience; neurogenesis; synaptogenesis; gliogenesis.    

E. Floh Thiels: Neural systems MODULATION, neuroendocrinology, neuroimmunology, behavioral neuroscience.


Richmond Thompson: Neural systems MODULATION, neuroendocrinology, neuroimmunology, behavioral neuroscience.


Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program

Frequently Asked Questions to NSF 17-508