School of Medicine

Oswald Steward, PhD, elected incoming president of the Society for Neuroscience

Oswald Steward, PhD
Oswald Steward, PhD

Oswald Steward, PhD, founding director of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UCI, was recently elected incoming president of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), the largest neuroscience professional society in the world. Election to SfN leadership is a major distinction and a huge honor for the UCI campus.

Steward 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 also studies how genes influence nerve cell regeneration, growth and function and how physiological activity affects nerve cell connections

Steward received his PhD in psychobiology from UCI. He then went on to become assistant-full professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Physiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, as well as founding chair of the Department of Neuroscience and Harrison Foundation Professor of neuroscience and neurosurgery at the University of Virginia.

He returned to UCI in 1999 to be the founding director of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center and the Reeve-Irvine professor in the School of Medicine Departments of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Neurobiology and Behavior, and Neurological Surgery.

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. 

Steward 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 also served on the Council of the Society for Neuroscience from 2013-2017 and pioneered their efforts during that time to improve rigor and reproducibility in research. 
Steward will be the fourth SfN president out of 52 who is a UCI faculty member. The organization was founded in 1969 by Ralph W. Gerard, 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 UCI’s Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology served as the SfN president from 1998-1999. Finally, Tom Carew, former chair of UCI’s Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, served as president from 2008-2009.