University News

Lipscombe to direct Brain Institute

Professor of neuroscience assumes executive director position after one-year stint as interim director

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Professor of Neuroscience Diane Lipscombe has been named the executive director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, according to a community-wide email from Provost Richard Locke P’17 April 5.

Since Jan. 5, 2015 Lipscombe has served as interim director of the institute where she has “made measurable gains,” Locke wrote, drawing attention to the strategic plan for BIBS she and her colleagues drafted as well as the over $6 million in philanthropic donations she has attracted since becoming interim director.

BIBS “serves an incredible purpose in facilitating interest, creativity and innovation around brain science,” Lipscombe said. “It brings together faculty (members) and students to really think about some of the most interesting and fascinating questions we ask today,” Lipscombe said.

To answer those complex questions, emphasizing interdisciplinary work and research should be a top priority, she added. As of now, about half of her lab’s research consists of collaborative work between teams from different disciplines, she said.

“Lipscombe is an exceptional scientist, committed educator and proven effective, collaborative leader,” Locke wrote, adding that since her arrival at Brown in 1990, she has “won numerous teaching awards, directed graduate study in the neurosciences” and secured funding to conduct research on a variety of topics.

Lipscombe will continue her research while director, something that she said was incredibly important for her to do. She added that her work has developed over the years, much like the institute, and her research has spanned from the calcium channels of neurons to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to migraines.                                                                                                        

For her work, Lipscombe has received the Joan Mott Prize Lecture from the UK Physiological Society and the President’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Governance in addition to several others. She is also a member of a number of committees and societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Neuroscience and the Board of Directors of the Care New England Health System, Locke wrote.

Lipscombe received BSc and PhD degrees in the Department of Pharmacology from University College London. She then went on to complete postdoctoral research in the Cellular and Molecular Physiology Departments at the medical schools of both Yale and Stanford University before coming to Brown, according to her curriculum vitae.

BIBS was founded in 1999 with the goal of promoting “multidisciplinary research, technology development and training in the brain sciences,” according to the institute’s website. It also serves to “establish Brown University as an internationally recognized leader in brain research.”

To that end, the institute includes over 100 faculty members from a variety of disciplines and covers research that incorporates neuroscience, psychiatry and neurology, in addition to others, Locke wrote.

In her position as executive director, Lipscombe will be responsible for leading “the development and implementation of the institute’s ongoing educational programs,” Locke wrote. She will represent the University both domestically and abroad in addition to overseeing the institute’s daily operations, he added. 

“I look forward to continuing to collaborate with BIBS Director Diane Lipscombe,” Locke wrote, adding that he hopes to “realize the goals we have established to secure Brown’s leadership in brain science research and discovery.”

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