Neuroscience is the study of the brain and nervous system in both humans and non-human animals, and in both health and disease. 


It is a relatively new field of science, only emerging as a distinct subject in its own right during the 20th century.  However, it has grown rapidly and now covers multiple areas including novel technologies, and research into many brain functions and disorders, as well as applications as diverse as education, artificial intelligence and the law.

Weighing about 1.3 kg, the human brain consists of millions of individual nerve cells or neurons (as shown in the image) plus millions of additional cells known as glia*. These are all connected via microscopic points of contact into a vast network of interlinking circuits and sub-circuits.  

The brain is responsible for our thoughts, mood, emotions and intelligence, as well as our physical movement, breathing, heart rate and sleep. In short, it makes us who we are and facilitates almost every aspect of what it means to be alive.  

Neuroscientists have the daunting task of trying to understand how all these billions of neurons in the brain and nervous system work.

Although there has been incredible progress, there is still much left to discover.  What happens when we sleep that means it is essential to life? How does chronic pain develop - and how can we stop it doing so? Why do some parts of the brain seem more susceptible to disease than others? What is the neural basis of consciousness? Can we enhance the brain's ability to learn; and should we?

Learn more about neuroscience** in our videos and talks, online resources, and written resources. (If you're looking for health information on disorders of the brain and nervous system, please see this page recommending organizations who can give medical information and support). 

If you're a teacher, don't miss our resources for delivering neuroscience in the curriculum and our interactive webinars for children.

Or why not become a neuroscientist yourself?  Find out more in careers.

CSHL neuroscientists focus on understanding how neural connections in the brain translate into behavior. Their research provides insights into the circuitry underlying complex cognitive processes such as decision-making and attention, as well as developing tools to map circuit disruptions associated with neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease, autism, schizophrenia and depression.

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