For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

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

Neurobiology & Anatomy Chair Itzhak Fischer, PhD, to Step Down July 1

After a distinguished 33-year career at the College of Medicine and its predecessor institutions, Itzhak Fischer, PhD, is stepping down as chair of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy on July 1, 2024, though he will stay on as a tenured professor in the department. Dr. Fischer joined the faculty of the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1991 from Harvard Medical School. Read more.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Announces Recent CURE Grant Recipients

The Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE) Program funds collaborative biomedical research that aims to improve the health of Pennsylvanians. Read more.

Estrogen and Brain Injury

Researchers in the College of Medicine who have studied traumatic brain injuries for decades are revealing new insights about how and why the brains of male and female concussion patients recover differently. Exel Drexel University Research Magazine (July 2023)

2023 Golden Apple Award Winners Announced

The annual Golden Apple Awards recognize outstanding service, teaching and mentoring by Drexel University College of Medicine faculty and professional staff, who are nominated by each class of medical students for the honor. Students vote to determine the award winners. Read more.

Wall of Fame Dedication Ceremony

Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy Wall of Fame

The Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy dedicated a Wall of Fame to honor and remember the pioneers and leaders of the last 50 years, spanning the time of Hahnemann University and the Medical College of Pennsylvania to Drexel University College of Medicine. Those honored include:

  • Michael E. Goldberger, PhD
    Founding Member of the Neurobiology and Anatomy Spinal Cord Research Center
  • Marion Murray, PhD
    Founding Member of the Neurobiology and Anatomy Department
    Director of the Spinal Cord Research Group
  • Donald S. Faber, PhD
    Endowed Chair, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy
    President of the Committee to Save the University
  • John Houlé, PhD
    Director of the Spinal Cord Research Center
  • Dennis DePace, PhD
    Pioneer of Medical Education – Gross Anatomy
  • E. Hazel Murphy, PhD
    Founding Member of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy Department

The ceremony took place on October 10, 2022, in the room containing the dedication plaques and included a memorial for Dr. E. Hazel Murphy who passed away recently.

Discovery Day 2022

The following faculty and students were honored by the College of Medicine and the Graduate School at the Discovery Day ceremony on October 27, 2022:

  • Peter Baas and Michael Lane received the Dean’s Distinguished Award for Enhancing Scientific Discovery and Excellence
  • Simeon Kofman received the First Place Prize for Outstanding Technician Poster
  • D. Leonardo Garcia-Ramirez received the First Place Prize for Outstanding Postdoc Poster
  • Candace Rizzi-Wise received the Second Place Prize for Barry Waterhouse Outstanding Platform Presentation
  • Sophie Cohen received the Second Place Prize for Outstanding Junior Graduate Student Poster
  • Adam Hall and Micaela O’Reilly received Honorable Mentions for Outstanding Senior Graduate Student Poster
  • Nadia Bouras received the First Place Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Poster
  • Yashvi Shah received the Second Place Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Poster

2022-2023 Graduate Student Awards

  • NIH F31 Predoctoral Fellowship: Micaela O’Reilly; Trevor Smith; Nicholas Stachowski
  • NSF GFRP Predoctoral Fellowship: Alison Bashford
  • T32 Training Grant Appointees: Shayna Singh; Jeremy Weinberger; Jenna McGrath; Adam Hall
  • Dean’s Fellowship for Excellence in Collaborative or Themed Research: Shrobona Guha
  • Bondi Award for Research Excellence: Dana Lengel
  • Drexel University Research Excellence Award: Sarah Bennison
  • NIH Diversity-based Supplements to R01grants: Ash Islam; Taylor McCorkle; Candace Rizzi-Wise
  • Graduate College Blue & Gold Fellowships: Alison Bashford; Sierra Coleman; Nishell Savory
  • URM Master’s Scholarship: Giavanna deMarco
  • Dean’s Travel Award: Xiaohuan (Beanie) Sun
  • Award for Best Graduate Student Poster Award at the annual International Behavioral Neuroscience Meeting in Glasgow, UK: Nancy Mack
  • Prize for scientific illustration (cover of July issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry "Molecular and clinical markers of Neurodegeneration:" Shrobona Guha

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

See all College of Medicine faculty in the Media

 Back to Top

Upcoming Events