Jeff Kinney chose to join the UNLV psychology faculty in 2007 for many reasons, but the one that clinched the deal was the opportunity to build out the neuroscience area.
“The prospect of building a program from the ground up was far more appealing to me than joining an already established group,” says Kinney. “For me, carving out something new had great appeal.”
Today, Kinney’s hopes—and his efforts in his first several years here— are coming to fruition. In the last year, he led a UNLV research team that joined with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health to obtain an $11.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for advanced study of both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Additionally, the department now offers a Ph.D. area of emphasis in neuroscience, with plans to offer a stand-alone neuroscience doctorate soon. The department also recently launched a neuroscience minor, in which more than 100 undergraduates are currently enrolled.
“And now the department is approaching a critical mass of faculty in neuroscience, and faculty from other departments are collaborating with us as well,” he says. “This will enable us to begin building a center of excellence in neuroscience that will dramatically help with securing research funding in the form of collaborative and individual grants.”
One of the keys to the successful acquisition of research dollars, he notes, is the inclusion of collaborators, both on and off campus. Kinney and his team are working with several UNLV faculty members studying myriad topics. The following profiles offer a glimpse into the growing neuroscience research being conducted on the UNLV campus.