Dear colleagues,

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Oswald Steward on his appointment as the incoming President of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), the largest neuroscience professional society in the world.

Os received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Psychobiology from the University of California, Irvine in 1974.  From 1974-1986, he was an Assistant-Full Professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Physiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He then became the Founding Chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Harrison Foundation Professor of Neuroscience and Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia, holding that position until 1999.  He was recruited back to UC Irvine in 1999 to be the founding Director of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center and the Reeve-Irvine Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Neurobiology & Behavior, and Neurosurgery. At UCI he has served in a number of important roles including as Senior Associate Dean for Research in the UCI School of Medicine from 2012-2017. He was also a major driving force behind the UCI Brain Initiative, which is now in its third year.

Os is well known for his research on how nerve cells create and maintain their connections with each other, and how these synapses are modified after injury. He has also conducted research on how genes influence nerve cell regeneration, growth and function and how physiological activity affects nerve cell connections. He is a recipient of the NIH Research Career Development Award, the Jacob Javitz Neuroscience Investigator Award and the Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD). He served on the Council of the Society for Neuroscience from 2013-2017 and pioneered the Society’s efforts during that time to improve rigor and reproducibility in research.

As many of you know, UCI has a deep-rooted history both in neuroscience and in SfN leadership. Os will be the fourth SfN President out of 52 who is a UCI faculty member. The Society was founded by Ralph W. Gerard in 1969, who served as its first Honorary President. Gerard was a founding faculty member in UCI’s Department of Psychobiology (now ‘Neurobiology and Behavior) in 1964 and became the first Dean of the Graduate Division, a position he held until his retirement in 1970. Edward (Ted) Jones, former chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology served as the Society’s president fin 1998-1999. Finally, Tom Carew, former chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior served as the Society’s president in 2008-2009.

Election to SfN leadership is a major distinction and a huge honor to our campus. The society will undoubtedly face a number of challenges in the coming year, especially as our model of conferencing and professional networking evolves. I can think of no one better than Os to lead the society during this turbulent time and grow its successes and accolades.

I am proud and delighted to have one of our most distinguished scholars serve in this highly visible leadership position and look forward to working closely with Os and the Society in the coming year to build new partnerships and elevate UCI’s engagement in neuroscience to new heights.

Congratulations to Os and to all of us!


Michael A. Yassa Ph.D.
Director, UCI Brain Initiative