Our Mission

The Harvard Brain Science Initiative (HBI) was launched in 2014 by the Office of the Provost of Harvard University, as a cross-schools initiative. Our mission is to promote interdisciplinary and cross-campus interactions amongst neuroscientists in the University and its affiliated hospitals — enhancing research, enriching education, engaging the public in brain science, and together expanding its power for the betterment of human health and society. Throughout all that we do, we aspire to build and nurture a scientific community that is diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.

Below are some pages you can visit to learn more about the people in our community and the resources available to support our vision for diversity and inclusivity:

Our Leadership >>
Our Scientists >>
Our Staff >>
Diversity & Inclusion Resources >>

The Landscape of Neuroscience at Harvard

In the past five decades, Harvard’s campus has given rise to the world’s largest neuroscience enterprise. In 1966, neuroscience began formally at Harvard with the founding of the world’s first Neurobiology Department, situated at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Uniting physiologists, biochemists, and anatomists, the department pioneered an interdisciplinary approach that was revolutionary at the time. Their discoveries have defined the field of modern neurobiology.

In 2004, Harvard established the Center for Brain Science (CBS) within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. CBS brings neuroscientists together with physical scientists and engineers to develop new tools for neuroscience. Members are drawn from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Neurobiology at HMS, the School of Engineering, and various Harvard-affiliated hospitals.

The Harvard Brain Science Initiative (HBI), launched in 2014, unites neuroscientists from CBS and the Department of Neurobiology, as well as other basic science departments at HMS, the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, and others across Harvard’s affiliated hospitals. HBI is co-led by the Chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, David Ginty, and the Director of the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University, Venkatesh Murthy, and advised by a steering committee of thirteen other leading neuroscientists at Harvard.

HBI represents a “One Harvard” approach to coordinating and serving the neuroscience research, teaching and medical community as a whole. We aim to ensure that resources are available for basic researchers to initiate high-risk projects and make fundamental discoveries, to provide platforms that encourage interdisciplinary thinking, to enhance training opportunities for students and fellows, and to help neuroscientists from different parts of the university and affiliated hospitals stay abreast of each other’s accomplishments. We also hope to engage with neuroscientists at other institutions and the general public to exchange ideas and share progress on some of the biggest challenges facing brain science and medicine today.

Image header courtesy of the lab of Jeff Lichtman