Institute for Translational Neuroscience


The Institute for Translational Neuroscience's greatest strength is bringing together different groups under one common goal: to advance neuroscience research at the University of Minnesota.

The Institute for Translational Neuroscience (ITN) was established in 2007 as a University-wide presidential initiative to promote the transfer of discoveries in the basic neurosciences to clinical practice. The institute is charged to enhance basic science discovery with new knowledge leading to subsequent clinical trials and establishment of new therapeutic principles or tools.


Our main goal is to attract and recruit top scientists to shape discoveries that will lead to tomorrow's cures. The institute exemplifies how different disciplines, departments, and centers can work together in partnership to evolve neurological disease research at the University of Minnesota. We have built a community that encourages learning, education, innovation, and discovery all of which are more successful in a team-oriented environment. 

Research Spotlight



On June 1st, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced the 2022 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience will be awarded to Harry T. Orr and Huda Y. Zoghbi, along with Jean-Louis Mandel and Christopher A. Walsh, "for pioneering the discovery of genes underlying a range of serious brain disorders."

 The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience is awarded for outstanding achievement in advancing our knowledge and understanding of the brain and nervous system, including molecular neuroscience, cellular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, neurogenetics, developmental neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, and related facets of the brain and nervous system.

Harry Orr and Huda Zoghbi independently discovered ATAXIN1, the gene underlying the neurodegenerative disease spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) that causes loss of balance and coordination. The ATAXIN1 mutation is a repetition of a CAG trinucleotide sequence in the gene, with the size of the repeat inversely correlated with the age of onset of the disease. They also discovered that the ataxin-1 encodes a DNA binding protein that causes the formation of large protein aggregates in cerebellar neurons, leading to their degeneration. Using oligonucleotide therapy, they showed improvement of symptoms in a mouse model. 

The award committee stated, "The laureates’ discoveries have helped illuminate the biology of the nervous system and moved the field toward therapies for disorders once considered untreatable. They have also provided a paradigm for discovery in neuroscience and beyond that will resonate for decades to come."

An official awards ceremony will take place in Oslo, Norway in September 2022.

Additional resources:

  • Read the full announcement and biographies of each of the laureates at this link.
Contact Institute for Translational Neuroscience

Wallin Medical Biosciences Building (3-114)
2101 6th Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mail: Wallin Medical Biosciences Building
2101 6th Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455