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History, Mission and Goals


The College of Staten Island (CSI) is one of the 11 four-year senior colleges within The City University of New York (CUNY) system. College programs lead to master's, bachelor’s, and associate’s degrees. Recently, the College became a doctoral degree-granting institution in the CUNY system.

The College  was established in 1976 from the merger of the Richmond College (opened in 1967) and Staten Island Community College (opened 1956). In 1994, CSI opened its current state-of-the-art campus on the grounds of the former Willowbrook State School.

In 1987, a multidisciplinary group of faculty from CSI and the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) created the Center for Developmental Neuroscience and Developmental Disabilities (CDN) at the College of Staten Island dedicated to conduct basic and clinical research in the areas of mental diseases, intellectual and developmental disabilities and other aspects of brain disease to advance the knowledge in these fields and to provide superior quality education to undergraduate and graduate (master and doctoral) students.

The Center for Developmental Neuroscience was created as a multidisciplinary cutting edge scientific research Center composed of faculty from diverse disciplines and departments that include Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physical Therapy and Psychology.

Since the creation, the CDN has made important discoveries that helped to understand neurological diseases and disabilities such as autism, Alzheimer’s, neuronal injury and repair brain, spinal cord injury and epilepsy. The CDN has served the NY population in general, and SI community in particular, thought integrated research programs and by educating, students, general audience and professionals regarding causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disorders and disabilities.

Mission and Goals

  • The main goal of the center is to provide a fertile environment to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary basic and translational research to study mental syndromes, intellectual disabilities, developmental problems and other aspects of brain disease ranging from autism, neurodegeneration, brain and spinal cord injury, epilepsy and other nervous system pathologies in order to understand their mechanism/s and find early diagnostic and efficacious treatments to mitigate their effect on the population.
  • At the same time, the center is committed to provide superior education to local Staten Island and neighboring students in the field of neuroscience with an emphasis on developmental and intellectual incapacities using a multidisciplinary approach that includes coursework and hands-on research opportunities for thesis work in laboratories representing the full spectrum of modern neuroscience research.

The faculty members of CDN collaborate closely with scientists from IBR in translational research projects aimed to find solutions to treat mental disease and disabilities. Recently, these two institutions renewed this collaboration commitment to excellence in research and education by signing a new Memorandum of Understanding.