Professor Diane Lipscombe appointed director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science (BIBS)

April 5, 2016

Members of the Brown Community,

Over the last few months, the University has engaged in a comprehensive search to identify the next leader of the Brown Institute for Brain Science (BIBS), a multidisciplinary center that is central to our commitment to contribute to a deeper understanding of what is often referred to as “the last frontier” — the human brain. I am delighted to report that the search committee has completed its work, and Brown Professor of Neuroscience Diane Lipscombe, currently interim director of BIBS, will serve as director, effective immediately. The director reports to the provost and dean of medicine and biological sciences.

Founded in 1999 as the Brain Science Program, today BIBS unites the work of more than 120 full time faculty from six core departments and programs that span the Brown campus and its affiliated hospitals, including neuroscience, cognitive linguistic and psychological sciences, neuroengineering, psychiatry, neurology, and neurosurgery. It has additional key faculty representation from several other departments that encompass many disciplines including biological, biomedical, computational, computer, physical and social sciences. The Institute’s mission is to advance multidisciplinary research, technology development, and training in the brain sciences and nervous system disorders to further understanding at multiple levels of how neural circuitry underpins complex behavior, from genes, molecules, cells, and circuits to human behavior.

As director, Dr. Lipscombe will lead the development and implementation of the Institute’s ongoing research initiatives and educational programs. She will also provide intellectual leadership for its multidisciplinary community; represent the Institute locally, nationally and internationally in furtherance of its mission; and serve as the primary liaison to the University’s broader academic community and administration. She will have overall responsibility for the Institute’s day-to-day operations.

Dr. Lipscombe is an exceptional scientist, committed educator and proven effective, collaborative leader. Since arriving at Brown in the Department of Neuroscience in 1990, she has won numerous teaching awards, directed graduate study in the neurosciences, and consistently secured funding to conduct research on the basic properties of calcium channels of neurons and their role in migraines, pain and other conditions. She has given named lectures and received the Joan Mott Prize Lecture from the UK Physiological Society. The Lipscombe laboratory is internationally recognized for its research; it has shared hundreds of research materials developed at Brown with investigators across the globe, and collaborates with colleagues both within and outside of Brown.

As interim director of BIBS, an appointment she has held since January 2015, Dr. Lipscombe has made measurable gains. She has collaborated with colleagues to spearhead the development of a strategic plan for BIBS; advanced research progress and funding; and attracted more than $6 million in enhanced philanthropic giving.

Dr. Lipscombe earned her BSc and PhD degrees in the Department of Pharmacology from University College London, and completed her postdoctoral research in the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine and Department of Molecular and Cell Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. She has served on a number of committees and professional societies, including the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Scientific Publications; External Advisory Board for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Biomedical Research Workforce Innovation Award Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training; NIH Study Section; AAAS Fellow and Member-at-Large; Councilor for the Society for Neuroscience; and Board of Directors of Care New England Health System.

I am deeply grateful to Steven A. Rasmussen, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Alpert Medical School, for leading the search effort, and to the members of the search committee for their work. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with BIBS Director Diane Lipscombe to realize the goals we have established to secure Brown’s leadership in brain science research and discovery.


Richard M. Locke