The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health invites applications and nominations for the position of chair of the Department of Neuroscience.

The opportunity

The Department of Neuroscience has a longstanding tradition of excellence at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The department brings together research and teaching in all facets and levels of neuroscience: cellular and molecular, developmental, systems approaches, and translational work.

A key and distinguishing feature of the Department of Neuroscience is its institutional setting within a top-tier research institution and the nation’s first School of Medicine and Public Health. The department’s work covers many areas of neuroscience, including the study of ion channels, synaptic transmission, neural development, sensory and cognitive physiology, and neural circuits.

The department is housed in the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR), a recent move that has further strengthened collaboration and innovation through shared interests, techniques, equipment, and facilities. The proximity of this location to the Waisman Center — which is dedicated to advancing knowledge about human development, developmental disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases — and University Hospital has unleashed additional synergistic efforts to apply the findings of basic neuroscience research to the study and treatment of human disease.

The department was founded in 2011 to consolidate faculty and staff prowess in neuroscience research and teaching, an important area of biomedical investigation within the School of Medicine and Public Health. This realignment pulled in neuroscience experts from the former departments of anatomy, pharmacology, and physiology.

The Department of Neuroscience has a nationally recognized research program, which in 2021 was ranked by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research as 25th in the U.S. for NIH funding. Currently there are 20 faculty with PI status and extramural funding. The department has research laboratory space assigned to investigators in several locations, including the Medical Sciences Center, WIMR, and the Waisman Center. The majority of department faculty are located in WIMR, which provides state-of-the-art facilities for faculty laboratories and research core instrumentation, as well as proximity to faculty and core facilities in WIMR, Clinical Sciences Center, the Waisman Center, and the Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing.

The department also highly values teaching as an integral part of scholarship. Faculty make substantial commitments to teaching, offering courses to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students.

The chair will be an innovative leader in the field of neuroscience and espouse outstanding qualities of strategic management and leadership. S/he will also oversee a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The successful candidate will maintain the Department of Neuroscience’s premier status by pushing forward its mission to educate and train future generations of neuroscientists who will conduct innovative research, collaborate through shared interests, techniques, equipment, and facilities, and teach in healthcare facilities, laboratories, and training centers throughout Wisconsin and the world.

Organization overview


“For me, the Wisconsin Idea is the clear vision for what a public university is and should be. I want to celebrate it as a national and even global model for why public universities matter. It’s my goal to keep our teaching, research, and outreach missions strong, to support our students, and to make the university a more diverse and inclusive place to live, learn, and work.” — Jennifer L. Mnookin, Chancellor

Since 1848, this campus has been a catalyst for the extraordinary. As a public land-grant university and one of the most prolific research institutions in the world, UW–Madison is home to those who are driven by a desire to both explore new worlds and to apply new ideas to real-world problems.

Bascom Hall in Madison
Bascom Hall sits at the heart of campus at UW–Madison.

With a total annual budget of over $3.4 billion, including more than $1.3 billion in annual research expenditures, UW–Madison has been in the top 10 in national research spending every year since 1972. The campus is home to more than 24,000 faculty and staff and 45,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree students. Members of the student body represent all 50 states and 127 countries. The university is ranked the number one public university and fourth overall in Washington Monthly’s 2021 College Guide and Rankings and 14th among public institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 rankings of best colleges.

The Wisconsin Idea — the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom — has been guiding the efforts of UW–Madison Badgers for more than a century. The university has been dedicated to studying poverty and social inequity for 50 years, is ranked #1 among large schools for producing Peace Corps volunteers, and boasts 19 Nobel Prize winners among its faculty and alumni.

School of Medicine and Public Health

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) is recognized as an international, national, and statewide leader in education, research, and service. Founded in 1907, it transformed into the nation’s first School of Medicine and Public Health in 2005 to integrate the principles and power of interwoven medical and public health approaches in all its missions.

UW medical campus
The Health Sciences Learning Center, left, and Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research are clustered together with the School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and three hospitals at the western end of campus.

Powered by more than 5,500 employees, including over 2,000 faculty, the school’s engagement spans the entire state of Wisconsin and includes a deep commitment to improving the health of the population. This commitment manifests itself in innovative models that serve as paradigms for the rest of the country.

Members of the school rapidly translate discovery into application and continually foster synergies among clinical care, education, and research. Consistently ranked among the nation’s top medical schools, SMPH has established high-performance academic programs that are intentionally distributed across the entire spectrum of academic medicine. Its faculty members hold appointments in 27 departments — 17 in the clinical sciences and 10 in the basic sciences. The faculty is composed of some of the nation’s leading researchers, educators, and clinicians. This includes several members of the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Medicine.

Mission and values

UW SMPH strives to carry out its mission of advancing health and health equity through remarkable service to patients and communities, outstanding education, and innovative research. It upholds the values of integrity and accountability, compassion, diversity, equity and inclusivity, and excellence. The school’s Shared Guidelines for Professional Conduct help the SMPH community embody these values in their daily activities.

Fostering a diverse and inclusive community is important both as an end in itself and as a valuable driver for eliminating health disparities. The school strives to be comprised of a diverse, inclusive academic community committed to advancing health and health equity; developing the next generation of clinicians and scientists; and creating innovative research programs across the entire continuum of basic, clinical, translational, and population health sciences.

SMPH is dedicated to creating an inclusive, collaborative, respectful, and welcoming environment in which all faculty, students, and staff will thrive.

UW Health

UW Health is the integrated health system of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, serving more than 700,000 patients each year in the Upper Midwest and beyond with 1,849 physicians and 21,000 staff at seven hospitals and more than 80 outpatient sites. UW Health is governed by the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority and partners with UW School of Medicine and Public Health to fulfill patient care, research, education and community service missions.

UW Health Hospitals, which includes both University Hospital on the UW–Madison campus and the East Madison Hospital, has been ranked No. 1 in Wisconsin for 10 years in a row by U.S. News and World Report. University Hospital is one of only 25 U.S. hospitals named to Newsweek’s “Top 100 Global” list, which includes hospitals in 11 countries around the world. American Family Children’s Hospital is also nationally ranked as a top children’s hospital.

UW Health has been designated by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality in the Healthcare Equality Index.

Department of Neuroscience

The Department of Neuroscience was founded in 2011 to gather faculty and staff expertise in neuroscience from across the former departments of anatomy, pharmacology, and physiology. Neuroscience was recognized as a vital research area in need of full department status. The goal of its formation was to consolidate strengths in neuroscience research and education.

There are 24 faculty in the department, 18 men and 6 women; all are tenured or tenure track (15 full professors, 6 associate professors, and 3 assistant professors). Three of the faculty have joint appointments, 2 in Integrative Biology and 1 in Neurology, that facilitate valuable collaboration.

Department of Neuroscience faculty are among the most distinguished in their field. Their accomplishments include:

  • Regularly publishing in leading journals, including Nature, Science, Neuron, and Cell Stem Cell
  • Award recipients of the most prestigious neuroscience awards including the Kavli Prize, Passano Prize, Kenneth S. Cole Award, Sir Bernard Katz Award, among others
  • Home to one of four HHMI Investigators at UW-Madison
  • A legacy of cutting edge research in the areas of developmental neuroscience and stem cells, sensory physiology, and synaptic physiology
  • Funding mechanisms including NIH R01, R32, R35, HHMI support, and Department of Defense awards
  • Board members of national and international neuroscience societies
  • Editorial members of prominent peer-reviewed journals
  • Highly collaborative faculty, both within the department and throughout the broader neuroscience community on campus

The Department of Neuroscience is a basic science department, taking on fundamental questions in cellular and molecular neuroscience as well as developmental neuroscience. There is also a strong history of systems neuroscience seen in research on the auditory and visual systems, as well as motor systems like the spinal cord. The long-term goal of the Neuroscience faculty is to translate information gained from laboratory benches into clinical applications. Work on animal and human model systems has shed light on the development and treatment of several neurological conditions, including autism, fragile X syndrome, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.

The department promotes excellence in teaching of medical students, graduate students, and undergraduates. Every faculty member is expected to teach regularly and effectively, and to share teaching duties equitably. Rather than competing with other existing graduate programs, the department has found great success by enhancing existing interdepartmental graduate training programs. Faculty recruit students from a diverse array of interdepartmental programs, including the Neuroscience Training Program, the Cell and Molecular Biology Program, the Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Program, and the Biophysics Program.

Faculty foster the success of their mentees by increasing the quality and number of students and post-doctoral trainees in the department, providing career development advice and support to PhD students and post-doctoral trainees, and placing PhD graduates in post-doctoral positions that facilitate entry into appropriate career tracks.

The Department of Neuroscience is financially strong based on a combination of funding from the School of Medicine and Public Health and extramural grants awarded to faculty and staff. During the 2021 fiscal year, the department received $7.4 million in grant awards. Federal grants made up approximately $8.5 million of the department’s $13.2 million fiscal year 2021 expenses. Currently there are 20 faculty with PI status and outside funding, the major themes being developmental neuroscience, sensory physiology, and synaptic physiology.

Qualifications and attributes of leadership

The successful candidate will have a compelling vision for the future of neuroscience in a leading research- intensive public academic institution and medical center. The Chair will possess proven leadership and management skills as well as an outstanding academic background. The Chair will provide strategic, academic, and administrative leadership of the highest quality to this distinguished department in its research, teaching, and service missions.

Applicants must have substantial academic accomplishments that merit a tenured appointment at the rank of Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A Ph.D. or equivalent degree(s) are required.

The community

Located on an isthmus between two lakes, Madison is the capital city of the state of Wisconsin. Madison has been voted:

  • No. 1 Best Place to Live (Liveability, 2021)
  • No. 1 City for Most Successful Women Per Capita (Forbes, 2019)
  • No. 1 City for Best Work-Life Balance (SmartAsset, 2020)
  • No. 8 Best Area for STEM Professionals (WalletHub, 2020)
  • No. 2 Best State to Practice Medicine (WalletHub, 2020)
  • No. 2 Best City for Biking (People for Bikes, 2020)
  • No. 2 Most Walkable City (Expedia, 2018)
  • No. 4 Fittest City in the U.S. (ACSM American Fitness Index, 2020)
  • No. 5 Best Cities for Millenials (, 2020)
  • No. 4 Greenest City (Zippia, 2020)
  • No. 1 Best Place in the U.S. for Raising Children ( 2020)
  • No. 1 Best College Football Town in America (Sports Illustrated, 2019)
Madison, Wisconsin
Downtown Madison sits between Lakes Mendota and Monona.

Madison’s technology economy is growing rapidly, and the region is home to the headquarters of Epic Systems, Exact Sciences, American Family Insurance, American Girl, Sub-Zero, and Lands’ End, as well as many biotech, healthcare IT, and health systems startups.

The city of Madison and the University of Wisconsin–Madison acknowledge that they occupy ancestral Ho-Chunk land. The School of Medicine and Public Health recognizes the health inequities faced by Native communities and pledges to address this as an important component of its missions.

Madison is the second largest city in the state, with a city population of approximately 273,000 and regional population of over 1 million. It is the fastest-growing county in the state of Wisconsin. The city is within easy driving range of Chicago and Milwaukee. Madison offers numerous unique neighborhoods and commercial areas including the Capitol Square, State Street, Willy Street, Shorewood Hills, Maple Bluff, and Hilldale. Suburbs and surrounding smaller communities include Sun Prairie, Middleton, McFarland, Verona, Cottage Grove, Waunakee, and Fitchburg.

Madison is home to one of the strongest local food scenes in the country with several James Beard Award winners, gastropubs, and farm-to-table restaurants. From April to October, the Capitol Square hosts the impressive Dane County Farmers’ Market, the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. The city is rich with cultural offerings such as the Overture Center for the Performing Arts, Orpheum Theatre, Concerts on the Square, Jazz at Five, UW-Madison Mead Witter School of Music and Hamel Music Center, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera, Madison Ballet, UW–Madison Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin Historical Museum, and Madison Children’s Museum, among others.

The city has a dedicated athletics fanbase which largely centers around the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sports venues include Camp Randall Stadium, the Kohl Center, LaBahn Arena, Wisconsin Field House, and the Alliant Energy Center. Madison is home to Forward Madison FC, the first professional soccer team in the city, as well as the Madison Mallards, a college wood-bat summer baseball league team. Marquee endurance sports and specialty sporting events include IronMan Wisconsin and IronMan 70.3, Reebok CrossFit Games, Madison Marathon, and many national and international championship competitions.

Application process


Please send nominations to:

Qiang Chang, PhD, and Kathleen Shannon, MD
Co-chairs of the Department of Neuroscience Chair Search Committee
c/o Benjamin Schultz-Burkel, DMA
4299C HSLC, 750 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI, 53705-2111


To apply, please visit the UW-Madison jobs website, using the "apply now" button below. Applicants will be asked to upload a CV and personal statement/cover letter.


The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has a deep and profound commitment to diversity both as an end in itself but also as a valuable means for eliminating health disparities. As such, we strongly encourage applications from candidates who foster and promote the values of diversity and inclusion. Applications from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals, women, and LGBTQ+ and non-binary identities are strongly encouraged.


To receive full consideration, please apply by June 5, 2022.


Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, information regarding applicants must be released upon request. Finalists cannot be guaranteed confidentiality. The University of Wisconsin is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.

Apply now