Understanding the Brain

Blazing a path for discovery and treatment in neuroscience

Terrie E. Inder, MD, PhD
Mark Katzman

Washington University researchers are committed to studying the human brain across the life span. Terrie E. Inder, MD, PhD, studies neurodevelopmental outcomes of newborn infants.


The human brain remains a critical frontier in modern-day medicine. Brain diseases devastate millions of families through loss of life, cognitive and emotional disability, social and financial instability, and fear. Washington University is at the forefront of discovery and treatment in neuroscience. Our enduring partnerships with alumni, friends, and philanthropists allow us to advance the field, simultaneously providing treatment to patients in need and influencing the healing of others throughout the world. 

Areas of excellence

The Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (Knight ADRC) is internationally known for leadership in the field. Researchers at the Knight ADRC not only developed the standard clinical measure for staging of dementia, but also established that Alzheimer’s disease begins damaging the brain decades before the first appearance of outward symptoms.

The Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research in the Department of Psychiatry is advancing the science underlying the diagnosis and treatment ofpsychiatric illnesses.

At the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, more than 500 scientists are devoted to discovering funda-mental causes of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis,and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

With more than 17,000 new cases of malignant brain tumors diagnosed each year, the Department of Neurological Surgery is developing new approaches and clinical trials.

Scientists and physicians at the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center provide the latest research to families of children with developmental disabilities.

Washington University has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead a consortium of research institutions in the Human Connectome Project, a bold effort to map the human brain. 

The Washington University Neurofibromatosis Center in the Department of Neurology is the largest and most comprehensivecenter of its kind in the world.

Together, we can

  • fund clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease and advance our leadership in Alzheimer's and related disorders.

  • develop drugs to treat mental illness.

  • discover treatments for childhood disabilities.

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