Directors Message

Headshot of Kimberley McAllister
CNS Director Kimberley McAllister, PhD

Welcome to the Center for Neuroscience at the University of California at Davis. We are an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to understanding brain function in health and in illness. Our teams of internationally recognized scientists lead research programs on a wide range of topics at all levels of brain development, function, and dysfunction. Their discoveries provide the building blocks that form the foundation for improvements in health and new therapies for disease.

Established in 1992 as one of the first interdisciplinary centers of its kind in the United States, the Center has an international reputation for excellence and is one of the most productive and well-funded research centers at UC Davis. The Center is comprised of 21 in-house faculty members, 42 postdoctoral fellows and research associates, 23 staff members, 48 graduate students, and over 50 undergraduate volunteers. The in-house faculty conduct research across a wide range of neuroscience approaches and subfields, from genetics and molecular biology to cellular, systems, cognitive and translational neuroscience.  A number of cross-cutting themes engage faculty working at different levels of analyses, including neurodevelopment, synaptic plasticity, learning and memory and perception and decision-making. These links create synergies among faculty and their laboratory groups that are based on their co-location at the Center and this is reflected in their many collaborative projects, grants and scientific papers.

In addition to its role as an incubator of outstanding research, the Center is UC Davis’ hub for basic neuroscience research and graduate training. The Center brings together the 21 in-house research groups with more than 60 additional lab groups from across the undergraduate and medical school campuses as affiliate members, enriching collaborative opportunities and increasing the breadth and depth of neuroscience research at UC Davis. One of the defining traits of neuroscience at UC Davis is our collegial and supportive atmosphere that enhances the quality of our research and training environment. Through hosting many academic and outreach events, the Center also acts as a nexus for the UC Davis neuroscience community and the other departments and schools across campus as well as local industry and community groups. 

The Center is also home to one of the premier graduate training programs in the country.  Our Neuroscience Graduate Program provides students with unparalleled opportunities for research at the cutting-edge of neuroscience.  The program is comprised of 46 trainees and faculty from 13 departments across five schools and colleges, thereby enabling students to participate in extensive collaborations, access cutting-edge resources, and receive exposure to world-class research in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment. The Center also hosts several interdisciplinary training programs, including a world-renowned Vision Sciences Training Program and a new innovative program to train the next generation of neuroscientists to bridge the gaps between the major levels of learning, memory, and plasticity research (cognitive, systems, cellular/molecular) in order to promote our understanding of psychiatric disorders and reduce their tremendous burden on families, society, and public health. 

I hope that you will enjoy exploring our website and discover the breadth of the cutting-edge research and training at our Center. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for additional information about how to get involved in our mission. 

Kimberley McAllister, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Neuroscience