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Neuroscience Timeline

A Timeline of Neuroscience Research

Year (A.D.)

Galen of Pergamum 2nd Century Galen of Pergamum identifies the brain as the organ of the mind.
Brain 17th Century The brain becomes accepted as the substrate of mental life rather than its ventricles, as early writers had proposed.
Thomas Willis 1664 Thomas Willis publishes Cerebri anatome, with illustrations of the brain by Christopher Wren. It is the most comprehensive treatise on brain anatomy and function published up to that time. 
Luigi Galvani 1791 Luigi Galvani reveals the electric nature of nervous action by stimulating nerves and muscles of frog legs.
Franz Joseph Gall 1808 Franz Joseph Gall proposes that specific brain regions control specific functions. 
Hermann von Helmholtz  1852 Hermann von Helmholtz measures the speed of a nerve impulse in the frog.  
Wilhelm Wundt  1879 Wilhelm Wundt establishes the first laboratory of experimental psychology in Leipzig, Germany. 
Wilhelm von Waldeyer-Hartz  1891 Wilhelm von Waldeyer-Hartz introduces the term neuron. 
Charles Sherrington  1897 Charles Sherrington introduces the term "synapse". 
Ivan Pavlov  1898-1903 Edward Thorndike and Ivan Pavlov describe operant and classical conditioning, two fundamental types of learning. 
Santiago Ramón y Cajal  1906 Santiago Ramón y Cajal summarizes compelling evidence for the neuron doctrine, that the nervous system is composed of discrete cells.  
Alois Alzheimer  1906 Alois Alzheimer describes the pathology of the neurodegenerative disease that comes to bear his name. 
Henry Dale  1914 Henry Dale demonstrates the physiological action of acetylcholine, which is later identified as a neurotransmitter. 
Karl Lashley  1929 In a famous program of lesion experiments in rats, Karl Lashley attempts to localize memory in the brain. 
Hans Berger  1929 Hans Berger uses human scalp electrodes to demonstrate electroencephalography. 
Edgar Adrian  1928-1932 Edgar Adrian describes method for recording from single sensory and motor axons; H. Keffer Hartline applies this method to the recording of single-cell activity in the eye of the horseshoe crab. 
Alan Hodgkin  1940s Alan Hodgkin, Andrew Huxley, and Bernard Katz explain electrical activity of neurons by concentration gradients of ions and movement of ions through pores. 
Kenneth Cole  1946 Kenneth Cole develops the voltage-clamp technique to measure current flow across the cell membrane. 
Donald Hebb  1949 Donald Hebb introduces a synaptic learning rule, which becomes known as the Hebb rule. 
Otto Loewi  1930s-1950s The chemical nature of synaptic transmission is established by Otto Loewi, Henry Dale, Wilhelm Feldberg, Stephen Kuffler, and Bernard Katz at peripheral synapses and is extended to the spinal cord by John Eccles and others. 
Wilder Penfield  1930s-1950s Wilder Penfield and Theodore Rasmussen map the motor and sensory homunculus and illustrate localization of function in the human brain. 
Karl von Frisch  1950s Karl von Frisch, Konrad Lorenz, and Nikolaas Tinbergen establish the science of ethology (animal behavior in natural contexts) and lay the foundation for neuroethology. 
Vernon Mountcastle  1955-1960 Vernon Mountcastle, David Hubel, and Torsten Wiesel pioneer single-cell recording from mammalian sensory cortex; Nils-Ake Hillarp introduces fluorescent microscopic methods to study cellular distribution of biogenic amines. 
Rita Levi-Montalcini  1956 Rita Levi-Montalcini and Stanley Cohen isolate and purify nerve growth factor. 
Brenda Milner  1957 Brenda Milner describes patient H.M. and discovers the importance of the medial temporal lobe for memory. 
Arvid Carlsson  1958 Arvid Carlsson finds dopamine to be a transmitter in the brain and proposes that it has a role in extrapyramidal disorders such as Parkinson's disease. 
Drosophila melanogaster  1958 Simple invertebrate systems, including Aplysia, Drosophila, and C. elegans, are introduced to analyze elementary aspects of behavior and learning at the cellular and molecular level. 
Rat  1962-1963 Brain anatomy in rodents is found to be altered by experience; first evidence for role of protein synthesis in memory formation. 
Roger Sperry  1963 Roger Sperry proposes a precise system of chemical matching between pre- and postsynaptic neuronal partners (the chemoaffinity hypothesis). 
Ed Evarts  1966-1969 Ed Evarts and Robert Wurtz develop methods for studying movement and perception with single-cell recordings from awake, behaving monkeys. 
Aplysia  1970 Synaptic changes are related to learning and memory storage in Aplysia  
Paul Greengard  Mid-1970s Paul Greengard shows that many neurotransmitters work by means of protein phosphorylation. 
Terje Lomo  1973 Timothy Bliss and Terje Lomo discover long-term potentiation, a candidate synaptic mechanism for long-term mammalian memory. 
Erwin Neher  1976 Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann develop the patch-clamp technique for recording the activity of single ion channels. 
Positron Emission Tomography scan  Late 1970s Neuroimaging by positron emission tomography is developed. 
Amnesia (pic of brain)  1980s Experimental evidence becomes available for the divisibility of memory into multiple systems; an animal model of human amnesia is developed. 
H. Robert Horvitz  1986 H. Robert Horvitz discovers the ced genes, which are critical for programmed cell death. 
Hippocampus  1986 Patient R.B. establishes the importance of the hippocampus for human memory. 
fMRI scan  1990 Segi Ogawa and colleagues develop functional magnetic resonance imaging. 
Mario Capecchi  1990 Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smythies develop gene knockout technology, which is soon applied to neuroscience. 
Linda Buck  1991 Linda Buck and Richard Axel discover that the olfactory receptor family consists of over 1000 different genes. The anatomical components of the medial temporal lobe memory system are identified. 
The Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group  1993 The Huntington's Disease Collaborative Research Group identifies the gene responsible for Huntington's disease. 
Gerald Fischbach  1990s Neural development is transformed from a descriptive to a molecular discipline by Gerald Fischbach, Jack McMahan, Tom Jessell, and Corey Goodman; neuroimaging is applied to problems of human cognition, including perception, attention, and memory. 
Reinhard Jahn  1990s Reinhard Jahn, James Rothman, Richard Scheller, and Thomas Sudhof delineate molecules critical for exocytosis. 
Rod MacKinnon  1998 First 3D structure of an ion channel is revealed by Rod MacKinnon. 


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Timeline ends 1998...

What has happened after 1998??

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