Neurological Disease Research
Neurological diseases represent enormous health, economic, and social burdens to the United States and the rest of the world. Chronic pain, for example, is estimated to affect more than 50% of the U.S. population, with an indirect economic impact estimated to exceed $100 billion annually.
There is an urgent and unmet need for better understanding the pathophysiology of neurological diseases, and for applying this knowledge to the clinical practice of medicine in order to improve patient quality of life. From the recognition of this need, the Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences (CEN) was created.
Our mission is to foster creativity and collaboration among people who have a passion for understanding the complexities of the nervous system and applying this knowledge to improve human health, productivity, and quality of life.
Having students contribute to neuroscience research at UNE is one of the highest priorities for faculty and professional staff in the CEN. UNE’s neuroscience program features faculty with expertise that extends across the colleges and includes not only the basic and clinical sciences but also the liberal arts. This cross-disciplinary approach results in unique training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students who have shared interests in the field.
For undergraduates, there is a neuroscience major and a minor. There are also many research opportunities in individual laboratories, as well as an undergraduate neuroscience club which is actively involved in our K-12 Outreach program.
For graduate students, UNE is part of the University of Maine's Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering (GSBSE), which allows students enrolled in the program to do thesis work in UNE laboratories or rotate through UNE labs.
There are also opportunities for research for medical students, through both the College of Osteopathic Medicine's Dean’s office (Peter Morgane Student Research Fellowships) or the Student Government Association (Carmen Pettapiece Student Research Fellowship). The Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education offers additional opportunities.
The CEN has fostered a unique and diverse group of researchers. To ensure the growth of the neuroscience research community at UNE, the CEN actively supports the growth of the center through recruitment, mentorship, and support of new faculty.
- Potential for research collaborations with multidisciplinary scientists and health care professionals at UNE
- Connections to a number of groups that share interests in neuroscience and neurology, including Maine Medical Center, the Jackson Laboratories, the University of Maine, and the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health
- Resources and funding opportunities for faculty who are part of the CEN
CEN in the Community
K-12 Outreach Program
The CEN has a well-established K-12 Outreach Program, which brings together faculty, staff, and students from UNE and puts them into area K-12 schools with the goal to promote interest in STEM disciplines in the community. We are always interested in volunteers for one of our many outreach events. We also have a number of community partnerships with local businesses to help support and maintain our dynamic programs.
The CEN also has developed an annual Brain Fair which engages the local community in brain exploration. Students develop and implement neuroscience-related, hands-on activities and experiments for the general public as a way to help increase awareness of traumatic brain injury, neurological diseases, and addiction. We are always looking for volunteers and sponsors for these events.