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UT’s neuroscience program has received a brain boost.

Subimal_DattaWorld-renowned neuroscientist Subimal Datta joined the faculty this spring. He comes to UT from the Boston University School of Medicine, where he was a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and behavioral neuroscience and director for the Sleep and Cognitive Neuroscience Research Laboratory. His addition broadens the research and teaching curriculum of the new program, launched last fall.

Datta has a joint appointment in the UT Department of Psychology and the Department of Anesthesiology at the UT Graduate School of Medicine, located on the campus of UT Medical Center. He also is a member of the NeuroNet Center at UT.

“Collaboration is often the key to solving many of life’s challenges,” Datta said. “Being able to work with the faculty and researchers here at UT will help bring new perspectives and new ideas to the field of neuroscience.”

Datta’s internationally recognized research has identified a specific group of cells in the brain stem whose activation during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is critical for the regulation of emotional memory processing. The findings could help lead to the development of effective behavioral and pharmacological therapies to treat anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and panic attacks. Other research has identified brain changes that could be involved in alcohol-related sleep disturbances, giving insight into this often-overlooked symptom.

“Dr. Datta brings a wealth of research experience in a medical school setting to this third collaborative position involving the Department of Psychology, the UT Graduate School of Medicine, and UT Medical Center,” said Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “He is an important addition to the NeuroNet community and to the growing collaborations between campus and the medical center.”

Datta joins two other world-renowned neuroscientists, Helen A. Baghdoyan and Ralph Lydic, who were recruited to Knoxville from the University of Michigan to build a nationally recognized neuroscience research program.

The program builds on UT’s existing curricula in biology, psychology, and engineering, building a strong foundation in the neurosciences that emphasizes hands-on research training. Beyond the core classes, students choose from a diverse array of more specialized courses that focus on a variety of basic, clinical, and applied neuroscience topics. Courses taught include behavioral neuroscience in the Department of Psychology.

“Dr. Datta brings an exciting perspective to the psychology department that will help build strong interdisciplinary partnerships,” said Deb Welsh, professor and head of the UT Department of Psychology. “His world-renowned research program will help build UT”s neuroscience reputation, and his dedication to mentoring will make important contributions to UT’s teaching mission in the neuroscience area.”

The UT NeuroNet Center features campus-wide collaboration from faculty in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Nursing, and Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology; the UT Graduate School of Medicine; and the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where the scientists’ laboratories are based.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,