Department mourns emeriti Arnold Scheibel's passing

Arnold “Arne” Scheibel was born in New York City in 1923 where he lived for the first 24 years of his life. He did his undergraduate work at Columbia College and received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1946. Though initially interested in cardiology, Dr. Schiebel perceived an apparent pervasiveness of emotional factors in cardiac disease patterns. This led him to the field of psychiatry. After a year of psychiatric residency training at Washington University in St. Louis, he entered the Army as a medical officer and received further training while on active service at Brooke General Hospital in San Antonio.

Increasingly troubled by the lack of knowledge about brain substrates of psychiatric syndromology, Scheibel joined the neurophysiology laboratory of Warren McCulloch at Illinois Neuropsychiatric Institute to learn something about brain structure and function. Here, for the first time, he read some of the work of Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramon y Cajal and discovered the structural beauty of the central nervous system as revealed by the silver chromate methods of Golgi. Today, more than half a century later, although largely superseded by more discriminative techniques, the Golgi still remains the “gold standard” against which all neurohistological techniques are measured.

After a short period as faculty member at the University of Tennessee and 15 months spent abroad (Universities of Pisa and Oslo) on a Guggenheim fellowship, Scheibel joined the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles as a member of the departments of anatomy and psychiatry (1955).

Intrigued by the emotional factors that play a role in diseases, Dr. Scheibel focused his research around his interests in both psychiatry and the neural foundations of behavior. Scheibel's research, stemming from his interests in both psychiatry and the neural underpinnings of behavior, has revolved about the structuro-functional basis of cognition and action. Using both neurohistological and neurophysiological techniques, his laboratory has studied the reticular core of the brain stem and thalamus, the organization of neural modules, structural correlates of aging and psychosis, and the relation between levels of cognitive activity and the patterns and richness of neuropil.

Scheibel had the privilege of serving as Acting Director (1987-1990) and Director (1990-1995) of the Brain Research Institute during a period of economic stress -- a period in which the continued existence of the institute itself was under question. Despite this, Scheibel's leadership kept the BRI alive, and led to innovative programs including a system of affinity groups -- working groups that meet regularly to discuss crosscutting topics. Since inception, these affinity groups have resulted in the submission and funding of several training program and program project grants, including the one that created the Alzheimer’s Disease Center. In turn, affinity groups have led to Integrative Centers of Neuroscience Excellence. These centers provide a more formal, cohesive identity and organizational structure that facilitates collaborations and interactions amongst a large community of researchers from disciplines across campus, including faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students..  

"Under Dr. Scheibel’s leadership, the BRI flourished and became more integrated into the UCLA community,” said Dr. Christopher J. Evans, director of the BRI. “His contributions included advancing the BRI’s mission to pursue collaborative breakthroughs in understanding the brain and to communicate the excitement of neuroscience to UCLA students and children at local schools.” In addition, during Dr. Scheibel’s time at the BRI, the annual H.W. Magoun Distinguished Lectureship, which recognizes a prominent UCLA neuroscientist, and the annual Samuel Eiduson Student Lectureship, which honors an outstanding neuroscience graduate student, were both initiated.

Scheibel also initiated the student-manned community outreach program, Project Brainstorm -- a program that allows UCLA students to teach neuroscience concepts to Los Angeles Unified School District classes, ages K-12.

In 1997, Dr. Scheibel was honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award. 

Among other honors, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Last year, as memorial tributes to his parents, Scheibel established the Ethel Scheibel Endowed Chair in Neuroscience in the Department of Neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, and the William Scheibel Endowed Chair in Neuroscience at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute

You ca read about Arne, in his owe words here:


Oct 16, 2018

Assistant Professor Weizhe Hong has received a Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering for 2018. This is an extremely competitive fellowship. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, on its 30th anniversary, named 18 “innovative, early-career scientists.” Dr. Hong was selected from among 100 nominees from 50 invited institutions. The Foundation honors young scientists who are taking big risks in performing creative and pioneering research in all areas of science and engineering. Our congratulations to Dr. Wong on this honor.

Oct 04, 2018

The UCLA Academic Senate has invited Neurobiology Distinguished Professor Jack L. Feldman to present the 125th Faculty Research Lecture.  This will be held on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at Schoenberg Hall from 3-4 pm.  The lecture will be entitled, "Breathing Matters."

Aug 29, 2018

Neuroscientists at UCLA, Harvard University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have identified a three-pronged treatment that triggers axons — the tiny fibers that link nerve cells and enable them to communicate — to regrow after spinal cord injury in rodents. Not only did the axons grow through scars, they could also transmit signals across the damaged tissue.
If researchers can produce similar results in human studies, the findings could lead to a therapy to regrow axon connections in people living with spinal cord injury, potentially restoring function. Nature publishes...

Jul 03, 2018

The Department is pleased to welcome Orkun Akin, Ph.D. as an Assistant Professor of Neurobiology effecitve July 2018.  Dr. Akin received his B.S. in biology from the California Institute of Technology in 2001.  He received his Ph.D. from UC San Francisco in 2008 in biochemistry.  From 2009-present, he has served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biological Chemistry at UCLA.  Dr. Akin is a promising young faculty whose interests focus on the biology of cell motility, which is essential for cancer metastasis.  He is a former HHMI postdoctoral scholar and was the recipient of...

Jul 03, 2018

In recognition of his exemplary career dedicated to the advancement and communication of Developmental and Comparative Immunology around the world, the ISDCI Honarary Award iwa presented to Edwin L. Cooper on the occasion of the XIV International Congress of the International Society for Developmental and Comparative Immunology convened in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, June 2018.

May 24, 2018

Distinguished Professor Michael V. Sofroniew publishes paper in the May 17, 2018 issue of Nature on "Dissecting Spinal Cord Regeneration" (see


May 09, 2018

The 12th annual Dynamics of Neural Microcircuits Symposium will be held on Thursday, May 17th from 9 am - 5 pm in the NRB Auditorium on campus.

May 09, 2018

Distinguished Professor Jack L. Feldman was named the 125th UCLA Academic Senate Faculty Research Lecturer.  A lecture and reception will follow later in 2018.  Our congratulations to Dr. Feldman.

Feb 16, 2018

Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have, for the first time, coaxed human stem cells to become sensory interneurons — the cells that give us our sense of touch. The new protocol could be a step toward stem cell–based therapies to restore sensation in paralyzed people who have lost feeling in parts of their body.

The study, which was led by Samantha Butler, a UCLA associate professor of neurobiology and member of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center, was published today in the journal Stem Cell Reports.


Feb 16, 2018

UCLA Neurobiology will be hosting an afternoon memorial symposium for Earl Eldred on April 19, 2018 at the Faculty Center.