Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center

About the Center

Administrative Structure and Goals of the PMNC


The PMNC is optimally organized to integrate clinical care, research, and education.

  • The PMNC Co-Directors both report directly to the Dean of the School of Medicine and to the CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. This strengthens the position of the Center within the larger institution and ensures that the PMNC has a voice at the highest levels of the School of Medicine and Health System.
  • The Executive Director of the PMNC is Rosellen Taraborrelli, who also serves as Chief Administrative and Financial Officer of the Department of Psychiatry, which has acclaimed programs in clinical care, research, and education.


Institutional and Programmatic Goals

The PMNC has multiple programmatic goals in several mission areas.  Building on a long tradition of interdisciplinary thinking, the Center is designed to create an integrated and collaborative organizational framework for Penn departments, centers, institutes, and programs in the neurosciences.


Institutional and Organizational Goals


  • Contribute to implementing the Penn Medicine Strategic Plan that emphasizes neuroscience as an area for development.
  • Provide an organizational home to promote planning for integrated clinical care, research, and educational programs, while maintaining departmental and center/institute integrity and initiatives.
  • Help coordinate and foster major grant applications, faculty recruitments, and integrated planning and activities.

Clinical Care Goals


  • Increase the cross-connections and interactions among neuroscience specialties and services to apply the latest advances in medicine to patient care.
  • Expand clinical neuroscience programs and coordinate marketing and networking efforts.
  • Provide funding for collaborative clinical pilot projects to support targeted clinical areas and interdepartmental collaboration.
  • Ultimately, create a contiguous clinical structure with facilities for outpatient, inpatient, diagnostic, and surgical activities to better serve the needs of patients.

Research Goals


  • Coordinate and expand basic, translational, and clinical research.
  • Support shared core facilities and infrastructure necessary for the further development of basic, translational, and clinical research.
  • Offer pilot project grants to support targeted research areas and  interdepartmental collaboration.
  • Ultimately, create a contiguous dedicated research facility that is home to multi-departmental efforts in the neurosciences.

Education and Training Goals


  • Expand and better coordinate and integrate education and training programs for physicians, nurses, other health care professionals, medical students, residents and fellows, graduate (PhD) students, and University undergraduates  within the neuroscience community.




Frances E. Jensen, MD
Dr. Jensen is Professor of Neurology and Chair of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.  She was formerly Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and Director of Translational Neuroscience and Director of Epilepsy Research at Boston Children's Hospital and senior neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is a graduate of Cornell Medical College and did her neurology residency training at the Harvard Longwood Neurology Residency Program.  Her research focuses on mechanisms of epilepsy and stroke, with specific emphasis on injury in the developing brain as well as age specific therapies for clinical trials development.  She received a 2007 Director’s Pioneer Award from the NIH to explore the interaction between epileptogenesis and cognitive dysfunction.  Dr. Jensen also is the recipient of the 2008 American Epilepsy Society Basic Science Research Award.  Dr. Jensen was President of the American Epilepsy Society in 2012 and has served on a number of other leadership boards including the Council for the Society for Neuroscience, the nominating committee at the American Neurological Association, and is on Council at NICHD. Dr. Jensen has authored over 130 manuscripts on subjects related to her research, has been continuously funded by NIH since 1987, and has trained numerous clinical and basic research fellows who now hold independent faculty positions nationally and internationally.  Dr. Jensen also is the sponsor of an FDA-approved IND for an ongoing multi-center clinical trial of a novel therapy for neonatal seizures, generated from basic research in her laboratory.  She is also an advocate for awareness of the adolescent brain development, its unique strengths and vulnerabilities, as well as their impact on medical, social, and educational issues unique to teenagers and young adults.   She is a Trustee of the Franklin Institute and author of the book “The Teenage Brain”, published by Harper Collins 1/15. 


Caryn Lerman, PhD
Caryn Lerman Ph.D. is the Mary W. Calkins Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is Co-Director of the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center and Deputy Director of the Abramson Cancer Center.  Dr. Lerman received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Southern California in 1984.

Dr. Lerman’s lab focuses on translating research in neuroscience, pharmacology, genetics and behavioral science to develop innovative therapeutic approaches for behavior change.  She has published >350 peer-reviewed papers, including work that elucidates novel neurocognitive and neurochemical mechanisms underlying nicotine addiction and relapse. Dr. Lerman’s awards and honors include the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology, the American Society of Preventive Oncology (ASPO) Cullen Award for Tobacco Research, the Alton Ochsner Award for Research Relating Tobacco and Health, and the NCI Outstanding Investigator Award. She is a past President of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco and has served on the National Institute on Drug Abuse Advisory Council, the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors and the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research.  She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.


Rosellen Taraborrelli
Rosellen Taraborrelli serves as the Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center. She is a long standing member of the Penn community. She also serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Psychiatry and Penn Behavioral Health at the University of Pennsylvania where she has served in this position for more than 14 years. Rosellen serves as the Executive Director of Penn Behavioral Health Corporate Services, which manages the behavioral health benefits for the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Health System. It also provides Employee Assistance and Management Assistance programs and training to 60 companies.