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The Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Drexel University College of Medicine provides an outstanding academic environment for multidisciplinary research and training in the neurosciences. The Department has 36 faculty members, including 22 with funded research laboratories. The Department has a wide variety of research grants with over $10 million in annual total costs, as well as several endowments. Recent grant awards include a T32 NIH Training Grant in Spinal Cord Injury, numerous NIH and DoD grants, and several Foundation grants. As of 2020, the Department is ranked 27 in NIH funding among similar departments of all medical schools in the U.S (source: Blue Ridge Inst for Medical Research). For individuals interested in a career in the neurosciences, the Department offers postdoctoral training in various laboratories and graduate student training through the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Research Centers

Research in the Department is organized into four major research centers each of which comprises a critical mass of faculty and trainees whose collaborative research forms a multidisciplinary community. Research centers promote a highly interactive and collaborative environment that encourages training and research beyond the confines of one laboratory, thus providing flexibility and diversity in the training process.


Additional research areas include:


In addition to graduate student (MS, PhD, MD/PhD) education, the department is responsible for the teaching of several major courses for medical students including Gross Anatomy, Medical Neuroscience and Microanatomy with laboratory components. Based on the experience and resources offered in these classes, our educators developed online remediation courses that, in the last seven years, have served medical students from more than 40 medical schools and offered a collaborative Artistic Anatomy course for art students, which is one of its kind in the U.S. and was featured on the Emmy-nominated WHYY-TV's (PBS) Friday Arts program in a story called "The Gross Lab."

Learn more about:

Faculty Highlight

Liang Oscar Qiang, MD, PhD

Dr. Qiang completed his MD and MS at Nantong University in 2000 and 2003, respectively, and his PhD at Drexel in 2009. His dissertation was "Functional Analyses of Microtubule Severing Proteins in the Central Nervous System." He then did postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Asa Abeliovich at Columbia University Medical Center, where he studied pathological mechanisms and potential therapeutic approaches Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. He is currently using human organoid technology to study several neurological disorders.

Liang Oscar Qiang, MD, PhD

Student Highlight

Trevor Smith, BS

Trevor is a 4th year PhD candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Simon Giszter. He was recently awarded an F31 fellowship from the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke which focuses on how the spinal cord facilitates movement through combinations of primitive motor elements or ‘modules.' By investigating module structure and facilitation, Trevor’s research will help to identify biological constraints in motor control and will guide strategies for motor rehabilitation after injury.

Trevor volunteers as a TA for Medical Neuroscience and demonstrates gross neuroanatomy during high school tours of Drexel University College of Medicine.

Outside of the lab, Trevor enjoys hiking, writing and exercising.

Trevor Smith, BS

Recent Alumnus

Brielle Ferguson, PhD

Brielle Ferguson, class of 2017, conducted her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University and is now an assistant professor at Harvard University. She is cofounder of BlackInNeuro and was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 Scientists. While at Drexel in Dr. Wen-Jun Gao’s laboratory, she received a Dean’s Fellowship and an F31 Fellowship.

Brielle Ferguson, PhD

News & Announcements

Department Of Health Awards $1 Million To Spinal Cord Injury Research Grant Recipients

The Pennsylvania Department of Health awarded $1 million in grants to six recipients focused on spinal cord injury (SCI) research. The grants are part of the department’s Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE) program which awards research for clinic and health services and biomedical research funded by the Tobacco Settlement funds. Read more.

2021 Golden Apple Award Winners Announced

The annual Golden Apple Awards recognize outstanding service and teaching by Drexel University College of Medicine faculty and professional staff. Each class of medical students nominate faculty and professional staff for the honor and vote to determine the award winners. Read more.

Itzhak Fischer Receives Inaugural Daniel V. Schidlow, MD, Transformational Leadership Award

The College of Medicine's Daniel V. Schidlow, MD, Transformational Leadership Award is presented to a faculty member who exhibits substantial leadership to transform and make change through example and articulates an energizing vision. This faculty member encourages, inspires, mentors and sponsors a diverse, inclusive and equitable next generation of clinicians, scientists, educators and staff. This transformational faculty leader motivates members of the institution to innovate and create change that will help grow and shape the future success of the institution. Dr. Fischer was honored at a virtual ceremony, along with other Faculty Award recipients, on December 18.

Veronica Tom Receives the Julian Marsh Faculty Scholar Award

The College of Medicine's Julian Marsh Faculty Scholar Award is presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in scientific research, achieved international recognition, demonstrated outstanding teaching skills, mentored students as well as peers, and provided consistent, high-quality leadership to the medical school, creating a better environment for all faculty and students. Dr. Tom was honored at a virtual ceremony, along with other Faculty Award recipients, on December 18.

Veronica Tom Receives Provost's Award

Veronica Tom, PhD, professor of neurobiology and anatomy, received the 2020 Provost Award for Outstanding Mid-career Scholarly Achievement in recognition of her leadership, dedication and contributions in neuronal cytoskeleton and neurodegenerative disease research. Dr. Tom will receive $15,000 in support of her research.

See all Neurobiology & Anatomy news

In the Media

April 13, 2022: Itzhak Fischer, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, and Kenny J. Simansky, PhD, senior vice dean for research, were quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer obituary on the life achievements of Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Hazel Murphy, PhD.

March 1, 2022: Ramesh Raghupathi, PhD, professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, was quoted in a New York Times Magazine article about the hidden epidemic of brain injuries resulting from domestic violence.

December 13, 2021: Research from Jessica Barson, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, was mentioned in a KPLA-Radio (Columbia, Missouri) segment about why consumption of alcohol leads to a desire to overeat.

August 4, 2021: Ramesh Raghupathi, PhD, a professor in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy, was interviewed in a Newsy segment about a link between traumatic brain injuries and aggression, and whether mindfulness may help patients.

December 10, 2020: AWIS-PHL Honors Three College of Medicine Women

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