COVID-19 resources | Our faculty and staff are committed to providing you an exceptional learning experience this September.

What is the structure and make-up of the brain?

One of the most complex systems in the body, the brain is divided into three main parts: the forebrain, consisting of the cerebrum, thalamus, and hypothalamus; the midbrain, consisting of the tectum and tegmentum; and the hindbrain, which contains the pons and medulla. The brain is composed of more than 180 billion cells, each of which receives up to 15,000 connections from other cells in the nervous system.

How this structure and neural activity gives rise to human thought is one of the fundamental questions researchers at the CCBN are working to answer. Using a multidisciplinary approach and state-of-the-art techniques, these scientists undertake studies of the structure of the human brain which are augmented with studies of non-human primates and other animals. Their research has yielded an immense amount of information about the brain, the neurons it contains, the molecules that make up the neurons and the genes that produce those molecules.