Neuroscience research at Columbia has a long and rich history, dating back to the founding of the Neurological Institute in Manhattan in 1909. The Institute was affiliated with Columbia University from its earliest days, and moved to Washington Heights as an affiliate of the Columbia University Medical Center upon the Center’s opening in 1929.
Columbia became a major center of neuroscience research in 1948, when H. Houston Merritt became chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Neurological Service at the Neurological Institute. Over the next 20 years, he trained more academic neurologists and chairmen of neurology departments than any other clinical chief in the country.
Today, Columbia Neuroscience is broad, with 70 labs associated with 15 different departments. Cumulatively, the Columbia neuroscience community of world-class neurobiologists generates more research funding than any other group in the country. Among them are two Nobel Prize winners, KIBS Director Eric Kandel (2000) and KIBS Investigator Richard Axel (2004); 11 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators; eight members of the National Academy of Sciences; and 13 members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The textbook Principles of Neural Science counts numerous Columbia faculty as co-authors, is the most widely used neuroscience text in the world.
Columbia’s prominence in the world of neurological research has been enhanced in recent years with the founding of KIBS in 2004 and the establishment of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute (MBBI), first announced in 2004 as part of the University’s 250th anniversary celebration and endowed by Mort Zuckerman in 2012. In 2006, Columbia received a $200 million gift to construct the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, opened in 2017, serves as the physical home for Kavli and Z-MBBI, and the epicenter of brain research in the 21st century.