Ira B. Black is a professor in and chairman of the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). He is also the director of the Joint Graduate Program in Physiology and Neurobiology of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University and the past president of the Society for Neuroscience of North America. Black is a clinical neurologist and neuroscientist who is studying regulation by the environment of brain and spinal cord genes encoding growth factors, survival factors, and neurotransmitters. His team recently succeeded in converting bone marrow stem cells into neurons for transplantation in a variety of neurologic diseases. This work is being applied to the treatment of degenerative and acute neurologic diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and spinal injury. Black has served on numerous international and national panels and advisory committees, and is presently a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine of New Jersey, a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, a member of the Cure Autism Now Scientific Advisory Board, and director of the Princeton-Robert Wood Johnson-Rutgers University Consortium in Neuroscience. He is the recipient of a McKnight Foundation Award in Neuroscience, a Jacob Javits Award in Neuroscience of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the Viktor Hamburger Prize and the Rita Levi Montalcini Award. He is the author of approximately 200 articles in neuroscience and of three books, Cellular and Molecular Biology of Neuronal Development, Information in the Brain: A Molecular Perspective, and The Dying of Enoch Wallace: Life, Death, and the Changing Brain.