A Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine that further strengthens research and educational endeavors in neurological and psychiatric disease has been established at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.
Dr. Lin Mei, a neuroscientist and expert in brain cell communication who has directed MCG’s Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics for six years, is the inaugural Chairman of the department that also will pursue the restorative potential of stem cells.
“Neurological and psychiatric disease, from stroke, to autism, to schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, have significant, lasting and frequently devastating effects on the citizens of our state and nation,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, MCG Dean. “Under the leadership of Dr. Mei, this new department will further strengthen our already significant contributions in this field.”
Innovative, translational research as well as medical and graduate student education and postdoctoral mentoring will be a department focus, Mei said. Goals include expanding teaching responsibilities to include undergraduates at GRU’s Summerville Campus and pursuing federal support for a graduate-level neuroscience training program. Currently about 60 postdoctoral fellows and students are working with the department’s initial 26 faculty members.
Dr. Carlos M. Isales, who has served as Chief of the Institute’s Program in Regenerative Medicine, is Vice Chairman of Clinical Affairs of the new department. Drs. Darrell Brann, Associate Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, is the Vice Chairman of Academic Affairs.
“These terrific leaders will work closely and collaboratively with Drs. David Hess and Cargill Alleyne in our Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as Dr. Joe Tsien in the Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute and many others across our campus and the world to advance our understanding and treatment of the brain,” Buckley said. “Collectively, these strategic realignments enhance our focus on neuroscience across clinical, basic science, and translational realms.”
“We believe this is the right time to form a department with a focus on research and educational initiatives in the brain as well as regenerative medicine, which uses human cells and tissue to repair our bodies,” Mei said. He noted President Barack Obama’s 2013 announcement of the National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative to revolutionize the understanding of the human brain by accelerating the development and application of new technologies, which provide a more dynamic picture of the functioning brain.
Mei, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Neuroscience, is Associate Editor of the Journal of Neuroscience, Section Editor of Molecular Brain, and a member of the Editorial Board of NeuroSignals and Neuroscience Bulletin. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the International Symposium on Cholinergic Mechanisms and chaired the 2012 Gordon Research Conference on Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology.
He received the 2008 Mathilde Solowey Lecture Award in the Neurosciences from the NIH’s Foundation for Advanced Education in Sciences and was a 2008 Distinguished Investigator of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in late 2013.