Brain Research Institute (BRI)
became an Organized Research Unit (ORU) in 1959. In 1960,
Professor John French became its first Director, and the
BRI moved into its home in the new Center for Health
Sciences at UCLA . The great contributions of the first
generation of leaders (Drs. French, Horace Magoun, Donald
Lindsley and Charles Sawyer) were their promotion of neuroscience
as a distinctive research endeavor and their recognition
that brain research is inherently interdisciplinary.
Dr. French stepped down as Director in 1976, the University
initiated a national search for a successor. It ultimately
chose an internal candidate,
Dr. Carmine Clemente, Professor
and Chair of the Department of Anatomy, as the BRI’s
second Director. In 1987, Professor Kenneth Shine, Dean
of the School of Medicine, asked
Dr. Arnold Scheibel, Professor
of Anatomy and of Psychiatry, to become the BRI’s
Acting Director and charged him with setting a new direction
for the BRI. Dean Shine also took over the management
of space within the original BRI building.
Scheibel served as Acting Director from 1987 to 1990, and
then as Director until 1995. Under his leadership, the BRI
instituted a system of affinity groups—working groups
that meet regularly to discuss crosscutting topics. These
discussions have resulted in the submission and funding
of several training program and program project grants,
including one that created the Alzheimer’s Disease
the early and mid 1980s, reviews of the BRI-affiliated
Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program for Neuroscience indicated
a need to incorporate new developments in molecular and
cellular biology into the curriculum. Dean Shine and Vice
Chancellor Claudia Mitchell-Kernan (Vice-Chancellor and
Dean of the Graduate Division) appointed Professor Allan
Tobin from the Department of Biology as Chair of the Neuroscience
Program, with a mandate to give it new direction. The Neuroscience
Program dramatically revised its curriculum and began to
attract the highest-caliber graduate students.
Dr. Tobin succeeded Dr. Scheibel as BRI Director.
Dr. Tobin appointed Professor Arthur Arnold as Associate
Director for Education and Professor Anthony Campagnoni
as Associate Director for Research. Dr. Arnold was also
appointed Chair of the Neuroscience Ph.D. program and continued
the improvement process, while Dr. Campagnoni initiated
a planning process for the core facilities that ultimately
led to their financial solvency. Several advisory committees
also began to provide consultative leadership, including
an External Advisory Board. In 1998, the BRI moved
into the new Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience Research Center,
and Dean Gerald Levey (Provost of Health Sciences and Dean,
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA) returned responsibility
for managing the BRI’s space to its Director.
1998, an external review committee of the BRI,
chartered by Vice-Chancellor for Research Kumar Patel, reported,
“The BRI, under the leadership of Dr. Tobin
appears to be recapturing the vision and scientific visibility
that characterized this institute at its outset.”
Dr. Tobin was appointed to a second term as director in
2000, and in 2001 named Professor Marie-Françoise
Chesselet as Associate Director for Education and Professor
David Glanzman as Associate Director for Research. Dr.
Chesselet was also appointed Chair of the Neuroscience Ph.D.
program when Dr. Arthur Arnold was appointed Chair of the
Department of Physiological Science. In 2002,
Professor Robin Fisher became Cores Director with the charge
of acquiring and managing the scientific tools needed for
the next generation of neuroscience research. In 2002, Dr.
Chesselet was appointed Chair of the Department of Neurobiology
and Dr. Glanzman received an NIH K award that precluded
him from serving in an administrative capacity. Fortunately,
Dr. Michael Levine, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral
Science, agreed to serve as the BRI’s
Associate Director for Education and also Chair of the Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program for
Neuroscience. Dr. Chris Evans, Professor of Psychiatry and
Biobehavioral Science, as appointed as the BRI’s
Associate Director for Research.
Provost and Dean Gerald Levey appointed a neuroscience planning
committee, chaired by Professor Peter Whybrow, Director
of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, “to deliberate
upon constructive ways in which we may continue to build
the neurosciences here at UCLA.” Dean Levey charged
the committee to be “…expansive, geared to looking
toward the future, and innovative.” This charge closely
mirrors the BRI Faculty Advisory Committee’s
vision of the BRI’s
future role in UCLA’s vibrant and integrated neuroscience
end of 2003, Dr. Allan Tobin retired from UCLA. BRI Associate
Directors, Dr. Chris Evans (Research) and Dr. Michael Levine
(Education) served as Acting Co-Directors during 2004.
In December, 2004, Dr. Chris Evans was appointed as the
Director of the Brain Research Institute.