Research Overview

The Department of Neurology is comprised of more than 100 physicians and research scientists devoted to improving the lives of patients suffering from neurological conditions. A central focus of this process is discovery: from identifying unmet needs to addressing these needs through collaborative and translational research programs. The goals of our research initiatives are to develop new, disease-modifying approaches that can be applied to improve the lives of patients at our hospital, as well as to inform the standards of care for future patients at Vanderbilt and elsewhere. The research enterprise includes participation in transformative, multicenter clinical trials as well as investigator-initiated research in molecular neuroscience, genetics, imaging science, and epidemiology.

Brain Scans

Faculty and trainees engage in translational research across a wide range of disciplines and receive National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding as Principal Investigators from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institute of Aging (NIA), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health the National Institutes of Health (NCCIH), and National Cancer Institute (NCI) – for projects which span mentored trainee awards to research program grants to program level projects. Departmental faculty participate in industry and academic advisory boards, editorial boards, and frequently publish in top journals in the field including Lancet Neurology, Neurology, Brain, Stroke, and JAMA Neurology.


Research FacilitiesResearch Facilities

The Department of Neurology performs research throughout the ten Divisions of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology, Epilepsy, General Neurology, Movement Disorders, Inpatient General Neurology, Neuroimmunology, Neuromuscular Disorders, Neuro-Oncology, Sleep Medicine, and Stroke. Vanderbilt University Medical Center is also home to more than 40 Core operations, intended to provide shared resources to support research needs in areas including but not limited to clinical research, clinical trials, data coordination, imaging, genomics, and investigational drug services. These Core services are complemented by 85 Centers and Institutes of nearby Vanderbilt University, which support trans-departmental research through, among others, the Vanderbilt Brain, Data Science, Surgery and Engineering, and Cognitive Medicine Institutes. A unique resource is the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR), which provides intramural support and funding for trainees and faculty across the enterprise. 

Medical Professional working with a patient


Research TrainingResearch Training

In both our residency and fellowship training programs, training can be customized to meet personalized research training goals. We are committed to preparing both residents and fellows to be future leaders in the field of Neurology and MD and PhD level faculty mentors are present across the divisions to provide research training opportunities in projects that are achievable and impactful on different timelines. Faculty leadership with specific devotion to clinical and basic science research training administration also assist residents and fellows identify appropriate research projects and mentors, also facilitating the development of required scientific skills in data analysis, scientific writing, and grant preparation.

Researchers at a conference


Research LabsResearch Labs

Our department continuously engages in sponsor- and investigator-initiated clinical trials in addition to extramurally-funded studies from both foundation and federal (National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense) sources. For a list of faculty laboratories, please visit our research labs site.

Brains being used in research


Neurology research stands to improve care and the lives of current and future generations. We encourage you to explore our research programs and engage in the discoveries that will improve the lives of patients for generations to come.