The Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) was established in 1998 by a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. In November 1999, the Center became one of the National Science Foundation's Science and Technology Centers. The Center has expanded to include seven institutions in Atlanta, Georgia including: Georgia State University, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the three schools in the Atlanta University Center: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.
In line with the National Science Foundation's goals, the Center was developed to:
- foster interdisciplinary research;
- integrate research and education;
- transfer discoveries and technology from the laboratory to the public.
The CBN's original scientific focus was the neuroscience of social behavior and the emotional and regulatory processes that underlie it. In the intervening years, inclusion of additional behavioral neuroscientists at the participating institutions resulted in an expansion of the CBN's activities into the areas of memory, cognition, and reward functions of the brain. That process continues today as the CBN responds to the changing landscape of neuroscience and the evolving needs of its member institutions. Most recently we are exploring new research in the area of "positive emotions."
When the CBN was established as an NSF STC, our mission was articulated in this way:
Our mission is to bring together the unique resources from a consortium of Atlanta colleges and universities, backed by considerable state and federal support, to build a nationally recognized program that will:
- define the interaction of brain processes and complex behaviors;
- create a cadre of interdisciplinary investigators focused on behavioral neuroscience;
- transfer relevant discoveries from the laboratory to the public.
In the past 10 years, we have made great progress in all these areas. Insitutional relationships and cooperation have matured to yield the establishment of a true consortium, and a culture of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional scientific investigation has become an integral part of neuroscience research and education. We have established training programs at the postdoctoral, graduate, and undergradate levels and influenced research and educational opportunities at the participating insitutions.
On-going educational programs reach students and teachers at the K-12 levels. We have established strong partnerships with community organizations to bring the excitement of science to the general public. While our mission for the future may be reworded in light of the maturation of the CBN, its core remains fundamentally the same: to integrate research and education in behavioral neuroscience, to bring science to educators and the general public, and to bring together the diverse Atlanta area colleges and universities for our common goals of contributing new knowledge about the brain and complex behaviors while training the next generation of researchers and educators to carry on this mission.