The mission of the Neuroscience Division is to discover cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern normal development and function of the nervous system. This knowledge is then applied to expand understanding of how neurological disorders arise and may be treated. Current focus is on movement disorders such as Parkinson’s, ALS, peripheral neuropathies that damage neurons and myelin, as well as Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that promotes tumorigenesis in the nervous system.

The division’s researchers are conducting cutting-edge research on:

Faculty work in a collaborative environment together with partners within UCF and in the community to translate this knowledge into new therapies for neurological disorders. Faculty collaborate with UCF researchers in Mechanical Engineering and the Prosthetic Interface Initiative http://www.ucf.edu/faculty/cluster/prosthetic-interfaces/, Nanoscience Technology Center, College of Optics and Photonics, and Psychology. Scientists and physicians at VAMC, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and Florida Hospital Translational Research Institute enrich the clinical and translational research environment in the Neuroscience Division.

Division Faculty

    Dr. Ella Bossy-Wetzel
  • Title: Professor
  • Office: BBS 414
  • Phone: 407.266.7139
  • Research to identify critical events that cause neurodegeneration particularly those associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. ALS, mitochondria
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    Dr. Zixi (Jack) Cheng
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Office: BMS 230
  • Phone: 407.823.1505
  • Studies on sleep apnea, diabetes and aging-induced cardiac neuropathy. Brain-Heart Connections, Autonomic Nervous System
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    Dr. Cristina Fernandez-Valle
  • Title: Professor
  • Office: BBS 249
  • Phone: 407.266.7033
  • Uncovering molecular mechanisms controlling normal and pathological development of Schwann cells. Translational science focused on target and drug discovery for development of Neurofibromatosis Type 2 therapies. Myelin, signal transduction
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    Dr. Yoon-Seong Kim, MD
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Office: BBS 312
  • Phone: 407.266.7070
  • Elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. Current focus is on DNA oxidative damage and its contribution to mutated α-syn through transcriptional mutagenesis.
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    Dr. Stephen J King
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Office: BBS 214
  • Phone: 407.266.7108
  • Discovery based research that examines the role of molecular motors in intracellular transport. A focus of the lab is on a novel mouse model of CMT we have developed that is caused by a mutation in the dynein motor gene. Axonal transport and peripheral neuropathies
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    Dr. Mohtashem Samsam
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Office: HPA II 320
  • Phone: 407.823.4810
  • Pain and migraine as well as the role of inflammation in neurological and psychiatric disorders.
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    Dr. Amber Southwell
  • Title: Assistant Professor
  • Office: BBS 327
  • Phone: 407.266.7134
  • Neurodegenerative disease modeling and preclinical development of experimental therapeutics and biomarkers with a focus on Huntington Disease
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    Dr. Kiminobu Sugaya
  • Title: Professor, Neuroscience Division Leader
  • Office: BBS 412
  • Phone: 407.266.7045
  • Stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.
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    Dr. Xugang Xia
  • Title: Professor
  • Office: BBS 555
  • Phone: 407.266.7154
  • Searching for genetic mutations causing neurodegenerative diseases and revealing molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in the diseases
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    Dr. Hongxia Zhou
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Office: BBS 554
  • Phone: 407.266-7153
  • Devoted to reveal the causes and identify the treatments for neurodegenerative diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
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