Centers & Institutes


The NYU-ECNU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Science at NYU Shanghai is a research institute dedicated to the development of a unique research and training environment to advance the understanding of brain function in health and disease. The primary goal of the Institute is to understand the mechanisms by which neural circuits in the brain generate higher cognition and flexible behavior, and their impairments associated with brain diseases such as autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Institute leverages the existing significant strength of neuroscience research at NYU and ECNU: systems and cognitive neuroscience broadly defined, using a range of tools including the development of transgenic primates, molecular and physiological studies of neural circuits, experimental analysis of behavior, microcircuit and large-scale neural circuit modeling, and human brain imaging.

A focus is on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) which plays a central role in many cognitive functions. The core institute research areas include studies of the neural basis of working memory and choice behavior using single-neuron recordings from the PFC of behaving monkeys and rodents; computational modeling of the PFC and its interplay with the rest of the brain in decision-making, memory, selective attention and executive control; and imaging research on human language. The Institute will grow to have more than twenty research groups, as well as many collaborating faculty from NYU in New York and elsewhere.