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Neuroscience Research Center

About Us

Our Mission

The goals of the Neuroscience Research Center are to enhance basic and translational neuroscience at MCW through the development of an MCW-wide programmatic plan for neuroscience research. Through added strength in neuroscience research, MCW will enhance and differentiate clinical care at MCW and its affiliates. The Neuroscience Research Center will seek to become well-integrated with MCW departments and other centers, particularly the Center for Imaging Research, and with neuroscientists at other institutions in Milwaukee.

Cecilia J. Hillard, PhD


Dr. Cecilia J. Hillard is the Neuroscience Research Center Director. She is an accomplished translational scientist who has research interests in the effects and mechanisms of cannabinoids, nicotine and other drugs of abuse. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the International Cannabinoid Research Society and is a leader in community initiatives dedicated to drug abuse awareness.

Mike Lawlor, MD, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Director of the Pediatric Pathology Neuromuscular Laboratory, is the Center's Associate Director.


The Neuroscience Research Center facilitates the research endeavors of these faculty by providing:

  • Opportunities for meeting and interacting with other neuroscientists
  • Administrative support for the development of multi-investigator grants and for the identification of potential collaborators
  • A rodent behavioral core
  • Research mentoring for junior faculty, particularly those in clinical departments

Areas of neuroscience research strength at MCW include:

  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Mechanisms of neurodegeneration
  • Consequences of neurotrauma
  • Neuroprotective strategies
  • Mechanisms of drug addiction
  • Vision, from the retina to the visual cortex
  • Pain pathways and mediators
  • CNS regulation of cardiovascular and respiratory function
  • Human cognition
  • Consciousness and anesthetic action
  • Neurodevelopment

Neuroscience Research Center Board


James M. Holcomb

Founding Chairs

T. Michael Bolger, JD
James M. Holcomb

Board Members

  • Helen Bechthold
  • T. Michael Bolger, JD
  • John Bosbous
  • Kim Brennan
  • Mary Brennan-Druml
  • Steven Carlson
  • Al Costigan
  • Brian Eckrose
  • James Holcomb
  • Eugene Jacobus
  • Sharon Kailas
  • Marlene Kreilkamp
  • Shekar Kurpad, MD, PhD
  • Michael Lawlor, MD, PhD
  • Jon Lehrmann, MD
  • Jan Lennon
  • Terri McKenzie
  • Warren Pierson
  • Kathleen Poblocki
  • George Prescott
  • Bryon Riesch
  • Melanie Roach-Bekos
  • John Selix
  • Bonnie Timarac
  • Benjamin Wagner


Cecilia Hillard, PhD

Ex Officio

Julie Kerk