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:

  • Schwann cell biology and development of peripheral myelin
  • Non-myelinating glia
  • Axonal transport mechanisms
  • Oxidative and nitrative stress in neurons and nervous system tumors
  • Cell metabolism related to neuronal death and tumor formation
  • Autonomic innervation of the heart in diabetes and aging
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis and bioenergetics
  • Neurofibromatosis Type 2 and Schwannomatosis
  • ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s Diseases
  • Stem cells therapies
  • Nerve injury and regeneration

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 (, Nanoscience Technology Center, College of Optics and Photonics, and Psychology. Working together with scientists and physicians from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and Florida Hospital’s Translational Research Institute enrich the clinical and translational research environment in the Neuroscience Division.

Division Faculty

Currently Viewing: Neuroscience
Dr. Zixi (Jack) Cheng Professor of Medicine
Dr. Stephen J King Associate Professor
Dr. Amber Southwell Associate Professor
Dr. Kiminobu Sugaya Professor, Neuroscience Division Head