July 26, 2022

Who are the U-M Neuroscience Innovators?

In January 2022, Christian Burgess, Ph.D., U-M Assistant Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the Michigan Neuroscience Institute, became the Director of the U-M Neuroscience Innovators. MNI sat down with Dr. Burgess last week to chat about the Innovators and learn more about this group of early-career scientists who foster collaborative and innovative research across U-M’s neuroscience community.

Who are the U-M Neuroscience Innovators?

The Innovators group began with 35 faculty members, all early career PIs (Assistant or Associate Professors) affiliated with the University’s Neuroscience Graduate Program. These PIs represented various departments across the medical and academic campuses and focused on a broad spectrum of neuroscience research. The group was initially funded by the Kavli Institute and MBNI (the precursor to MNI) but is now supported by the Michigan Neuroscience Institute and Michigan Medicine.
What is the mission of the Innovators?

The U-M Neuroscience Innovators support neuroscience research for Junior Faculty and Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Michigan.
The group aims to:

  • provide a source of peer support for junior faculty in the neurosciences across campuses;
  • foster collaborations/interactions between faculty who might not otherwise have the chance to interact regularly;
  • make the University of Michigan more attractive to potential recruits at the graduate, postdoc, and faculty levels; and,
  • generate a “voice” for the future of neuroscience at The University of Michigan.

How will that be accomplished?

The Innovators sponsor several projects and financial initiatives that support the University’s neuroscience community. These include co-sponsoring the annual U-M Neuroscience Conference each May, hosting a paid undergraduate summer fellowship, organizing a Neuroscience Innovator Lecture Series, and providing financial support for postdoctoral community events.

What’s next for the Innovators?

We are wrapping up our summer fellowship (called the Magnificent Michigan Summer Research Fellows), and our undergraduate students will be presenting posters based on their work throughout the summer. We are excited to see the culmination of their work and invite everyone to attend the poster presentation on Friday, August 12 at noon in the BSRB Seminar rooms. We hope to see you there!