BRAIN 2015 Digest – 4/6 to 4/10/15

 

Neuro News 4/6/15 to 4/10/15

Monday April 6, 2015

Monday’s News focused on  some of the affiliated partners in the BRAIN Initiative.

Grants

Neural circuits in zebrafish

Principal Investigator: Mriganka Sur
MIT Neuroscience
Title: “Cortical circuits and information flow during memory-guided perceptual decisions”
BRAIN Category:

Dr. Sur and his team will combine a number of cutting-edge, large-scale imaging and computational techniques to determine the exact brain circuits involved in generating short term memories that influence decisions.

Cortical circuits and information flow

Neuronal Subtypes By Cell Transcriptomics

Principal Investigator: Joshua R Sanes
Neuroscience@Harvard
Title: “Comprehensive Classification Of Neuronal Subtypes By Single Cell Transcriptomics”
BRAIN Category: Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)

Dr. Sanes and colleagues will use new methods of genetic screening to comprehensively catalog and distinguish different kinds of cells across species and brain regions.

Neuronal Subtypes By Cell Transcriptomics

Mapping neuronal chloride microdomains

Principal Investigator: Kevin J. Staley
Neuroscience@Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital
Title: “Mapping neuronal chloride microdomains”
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Using protein engineering technology to monitor the movement of chloride through inhibitory neurotransmitter receptor channels, Dr. Staley’s group aims to understand the role of chloride microdomains in memory.

 Principal Investigator: Kevin J. Staley Neuroscience@Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital Title: “Mapping neuronal chloride microdomains” BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)  Using protein engineering technology to monitor the movement of chloride through inhibitory neurotransmitter receptor channels, Dr. Staley’s group aims to understand the role of chloride microdomains in memory.

Principal Investigators

Mriganka Sur

Professor of Neuroscience, MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Director, Simons Center for the Social Brain
Principal Investigator, Laboratory of Mriganka Sur

Dr. Sur studies the organization, development and plasticity of the cerebral cortex of the brain using experimental and theoretical approaches. He has discovered fundamental principles by which networks of the cerebral cortex are wired during development and change dynamically during learning.

Mriganka Sur

Joshua R Sanes

Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Director, Sanes Lab and Center for Brain Science

Key questions that Joshua Sanes is exploring is how are complex neural circuits assembled in young animals and how do they process information in adults? To understand how these circuits form, we mark retinal cell types transgenically, map their connections, seek recognition molecules that mediate their connectivity, use genetic methods to manipulate these molecules, and assess the structural and functional consequences of removing or swapping them.

Joshua R Sanes

Kevin J. Staley

Professor of Child Neurology and Mental Retardation, Harvard Medical School
Unit Chief, Pediatric Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Director, Pediatric Epilepsy Research Lab

Staley focuses on neuronal ion transport and the spread of activity in neural networks. Research interests include epilepsy, synaptic physiology, and neural network activity. Research techniques used: single cell electrophysiology, in vivo radiotelemetry, ion-sensitive fluorescent imaging of ion transport and neural network activity, computer modeling.

Kevin J. Staley

Labs

Laboratory of Mriganka Sur

Principal Investigator: Mriganka Sur
MIT Neuroscience

The goal of the Sur Lab is to understand long-term plasticity and short-term dynamics in networks of the developing and adult cortex, and how disruption of any of these network properties leads to brain disorders. Development of real time, high-speed imaging, activity-sensitive dyes, and light-sensitive ion channels are currently fueling the Lab’s exploration of the varied and plastic networks these cells form.

Laboratory of Mriganka Sur

Sanes Lab

Principal Investigator: Joshua R Sanes
Neuroscience@Harvard

The Sanes Lab wants to learn how neural circuits are assembled in young animals and how they process information in adults. A particular focus is identification and analysis of synaptic recognition molecules responsible for the amazing specificity of connections that underlies complex neural processing. We use a combination of genetic, molecular, histological and electrophysiological approaches to address these issues. Our main model system is the mouse retina.

Sanes Lab

Pediatric Epilepsy Research Lab

Principal Investigator: Kevin J. Staley
Neuroscience@Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital

The lab’s research goal is the development of new approaches to the treatment of epilepsy based on a clearer understanding of the necessary steps in seizure initiation and propagation. The two major themes in the lab are neuronal ion transport and the spread of activity in neural networks combining fluorescent imaging of network activity with computerized analysis and modeling to understand how normal and abnormal signaling progresses through neural networks.

Pediatric Epilepsy Research Lab

Institutions

Neuroscience@Harvard

Neuroscience@Harvard
The Program in Neuroscience draws together neuroscientists from across Harvard. The physical home base of the program is located at the Longwood Campus of Harvard Medical School, in the Department of Neurobiology.

Research sites include the Longwood Medical Area, Cambridge Campus, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the McLean Hospital. The Center for Brain Science unites many neuroscience labs and houses the newly established Swartz Program in Theoretical Neuroscience.

Neuroscience@Harvard

Tuesday April 7, 2015

Tuesday’s News focused on  some of the affiliated partners in the BRAIN Initiative.

Grants

Holographic optogenetics and olfactory coding

Principal Investigator: Dmitry Rinberg
NYU Neuroscience Institute
Title: “Behavioral readout of spatiotemporal codes dissected by holographic optogenetics”
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Rinberg’s team aims to understand how the brain turns odors into nerve signals by activating and recording neurons in the olfactory bulbs of mice as they detect a variety of odors.

Holographic optogenetics and olfactory coding

3D Holography for Optogenetic Manipulation

Principal Investigator: Serge Picaud
Pierre and Marie Curie University
Title: “Three Dimensional Holography for Parallel Multi-target Optogenetic Circuit Manipulation”
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation – Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Picaud’s team will continue its development of holographic imaging to use lasers to induce the natural electrical activity of neurons and test theories of how circuits produce behaviors in a range of animal models.

3D Holography for Optogenetic Manipulation

Principal Investigators

Serge Picaud

Head of the Department of Visual Information Processing. Vision Institute

The goal of Serge Picaud’s three-dimensional holography research is to enable Neuroscientists to manipulate neural circuits in order to discover how patterns of activity relate to sensation, perception and cognition. This capability is essential for discovering how communication between neurons gives rise to healthy brain function. These insights will improve our ability to identify effective targets and methods for treating neurological diseases and disorders.

Serge Picaud

Dmitry Rinsberg

Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Physiology
NYU Neuroscience Institute
Principal Investigator: Rinsberg Lab

Rinsberg’s research uses electrophysiology, optogenetics, and psychophysics to understand the principles of the sensory information processing. Specifically we are focused on two questions: 1) how is odor information coded in the brain of the awake, behaving mouse? And 2) how is information relevant to animal behavior extracted by the brain? In short, we want to know what the mouse’s nose tells its brain.

Dmitry Rinberg

Labs

DV – The Vision Institute

Research Director: Serge Picaud
Pierre and Marie Curie University

Built in the heart of the Quinze-Vingts National Eye Hospital, the Vision Institute is one of the most important research centers in Europe on eye diseases.The Institute’s goal is to discover, test and develop treatments and technological innovations of tomorrow in order to prevent or limit visual impairment and to improve the autonomy and the quality of life of patients.

IDV – The Vision Institute

Rinsberg Lab

Principal Investigator: Dimitri Rinsberg
NYU Neuroscience Institute

Rinsberg’s lab has been focused on temporal aspects of olfactory coding. They recently discovered that a) olfactory neuronal code at the level of olfactory bulb is temporally very precise (~10 ms) [Shusterman-2011], and b) the mammalian olfactory system can read and interpret temporal patterns at this time scales [Smear-2011]. The lab’s efforts are directed towards establishing causal connection between neuronal coding and animal behavior.

Rinsberg Lab

Institutions

Pierre and Marie Curie University

Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC) has more than 5,000 researchers and professors working in 100 laboratories across four divisions: Modeling & Engineering; Energy, Matter & the Universe; Living Earth & Environment; Life & Health.

The research ranges from fundamental to applied, with the aim to push the boundaries of knowledge and to explore major issues of sustainable development that preoccupy our society in the twenty-first century, including health, climate change, water, biodiversity, energy, and communications.

Pierre and Marie Curie University

NYU Neuroscience Institute

In 2011, The New York University School of Medicine established a new, state-of-the-art Neuroscience Institute, with special thanks to a $100M founding gift from the Druckenmiller Foundation.

The Institute leverages NYU’s excellence in both basic science and clinical medicine. By developing strategic links and fostering innovative collaborations, we are addressing some of society’s most challenging health care issues, from Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy to multiple sclerosis, psychiatric disorders, and malignant brain tumors.

NYU Neuroscience Institute

Wednesday April 8, 2015

Wednesday’s News focused on  some of the affiliated partners in the BRAIN Initiative.

Grants

Epigenomic mapping cell-type classification

Principal Investigator: Joseph R Ecker
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Title: “Epigenomic mapping approaches for cell-type classification in the brain”
BRAIN Category: Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)

Dr. Ecker’s group will use signatures of epigenetics, the switching on-and-off of genes in response to experience, in mouse frontal cortex to help identify different classes of cells and understand their function.

Epigenomic mapping cell-type classification

Nontoxic transsynaptic tracing

Principal Investigator: Ian Wickersham
MIT Neuroscience
Title: “Novel technologies for nontoxic transsynaptic tracing”
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Wickersham and colleagues will develop nontoxic viral tracers to assist in the study of neural circuitry underlying complex behaviors.

Nontoxic transsynaptic tracing

Optogenetic mapping of synaptic activity

Principal Investigator: John Yu-Luen Lin
Neuroscience at UCSD
Title: “Optogenetic mapping of synaptic activity and control of intracellular signaling”
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation – New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Lin’s team will create molecules that, when they are triggered by a pulse of light, allow scientists to test for communication between neurons in specific circuits of the brain.Optogenetic mapping of synaptic activity

Principal Investigators

John Yu-Luen Lin

Research Scientist, Tsien Lab

Lin’s current research interests include developing new molecular techniques to map activities of neurons, manipulating the strength of communication between neurons and disrupting intracellular signaling. These new techniques can be used to understand how neurons encode and store information, with potential implications for ameliorating Alzheimer’s disease, addiction, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegeneration.

John Yu-Luen Lin

Joseph R. Ecker

Professor Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator
Salk International Council Chair in Genetics
Director, Ecker Lab

Ecker is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the molecular biology and genetics of plants. He is interested in understanding the roles of genetic and ‘epigenetic’ processes in cell growth and development thereby understanding the complexity of gene regulatory processes that underlie development and disease in plants and humans.

Joseph R. Ecker

Labs

Tsien Lab

Principal Investigator: Roger Tsien
Research Scientist: John Yu-Luen Lin

The multicolored fluorescent proteins developed in Tsien’s lab are used by scientists to track where and when certain genes are expressed in cells or in whole organisms. Typically, the gene coding for a protein of interest is fused with the gene for a fluorescent protein, which causes the protein of interest to glow inside the cell when the cell is irradiated with ultraviolet light and allows microscopists to track its location in real time. This is such a popular technique that it has added a new dimension to the fields of molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry.Tsien Lab Principal Investigator: Roger Tsien Research Scientist: John Yu-Luen Lin  The multicolored fluorescent proteins developed in Tsien’s lab are used by scientists to track where and when certain genes are expressed in cells or in whole organisms. Typically, the gene coding for a protein of interest is fused with the gene for a fluorescent protein, which causes the protein of interest to glow inside the cell when the cell is irradiated with ultraviolet light and allows microscopists to track its location in real time. This is such a popular technique that it has added a new dimension to the fields of molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry.

Ecker Lab

Principal Investigator: Joseph R Ecker
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Being able to study the epigenome in great detail and in its entirety will provide a better understanding of plant productivity and stress resistance, the dynamics of the human genome, stem cells’ capacity to self-renew and how epigenetic factors contribute to the development of tumors and disease. We are now exploring how DNA methylation effects the development of human embryonic stem (hES) cells as well as induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells as they are induced to differentiate into other types of cells.Ecker Lab

Institutions

University of California, San Diego

UC San Diego leads the nation as the top neurosciences department in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

With about 120 faculty members, UC San Diego’s Neuroscience department is among the nation’s largest. The program’s labs, medical centers and clinics are located in the heart of the San Diego life sciences district. There are many research centers at UCSD including Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind; Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience; and Research in Neuroscience at UC San Diego School of Medicine.University of California, San Diego

Salk Institute for Biological Studies

The Salk Institute was established in the 1960s by Jonas Salk, M.D., the developer of the polio vaccine.

Today the major areas of study at Salk are: molecular biology and genetics, neurosciences, and plant biology. Salk research provides new understanding and potential new therapies and treatments for a range of diseases—from cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease, to cardiovascular disorders, anomalies of the brain and birth defects.Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Thursday April 9, 2015

Thursday’s News focused on  some of the affiliated partners in the BRAIN Initiative.

Grants

Neural circuit dynamics in working memory

Principal Investigator: Carlos D Brody
Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Title: “Mechanisms of neural circuit dynamics in working memory”
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Brody and his colleagues will study the underlying neuronal circuitry that contributes to short-term “working” memory, using tools to record circuit activity across many brain areas simultaneously while rodents run on a track-ball through virtual mazes projected onto a screen.

Neural circuit dynamics in working memory

Protein voltage sensor imaging in vivo

Principal Investigator: Mark J Schnitzer
Stanford Neuroscience
Title: “Protein voltage sensors: kilohertz imaging of neural dynamics in behaving animals”
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation – Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Schnitzer and his team have created a new system for developing optical voltage sensors, which will allow scientists to simultaneously record firing of large groups of neurons or electrical activity in precise locations inside of neurons, such as synapses.

Protein voltage sensor imaging in vivo

Principal Investigators

Carlos D Brody

Professor of neuroscience and molecular biology, Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Principal Investigator, Brodylab

Brody’s focus is on novel quantitative behaviors that allow exploring high-level cognitive questions. Brody’s group now uses rats to investigate the neural bases of decision making, working memory and executive control using a combination of high-throughput semiautomated behavior as well as computational, electrophysiological, pharmacological and optogenetic methods.Carlos D Brody

Mark J Schnitzer

Associate Professor of Biology and Applied Physics, Stanford
HHMI Investigator
Principal Investigator, Schnizer Group

Dr. Schnitzer has longstanding interests in neural circuit dynamics and optical imaging focusing on: the development and application of fiber-optic, micro-optic, and nanophotonic imaging techniques for studies of learning and memory; in vivo fluorescence imaging and behavioral studies of hippocampal-dependent cognition and learning; and development of high-throughput, massively parallel imaging techniques for studying brain function in Drosophila.

2015-04-09 01.50.43 pm

Labs

Brodylab

Principal Investigator: Carlos D Brody
Princeton Neuroscience Institute

Brodylab’s focus is on novel quantitative behaviors that allow exploring high-level cognitive questions using powerful emerging tools for studying neural mechanisms in rats. The lab now uses rats to investigate the neural bases of decision making, working memory and executive control using a combination of high-throughput semiautomated behavior as well as computational, electrophysiological, pharmacological and optogenetic methods.

Brodylab

Schnitzer Group

Principal Investigator: Mark J Schnitzer
Stanford Neurosciencs Institute

The Schnitzer Group has three major research efforts: Development and application of fiber-optic, micro-optic, and nanophotonic imaging techniques for studies of learning and memory in behaving mice and for clinical uses in humans; In vivo fluorescence imaging and behavioral studies of hippocampal-dependent cognition and learning; and Development of high-throughput, massively parallel imaging techniques for studying brain function in large numbers of Drosophila concurrently.

Schnitzer Group

Institutions

Stanford Neurosciences Institute

The goal of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute is to understand how the brain gives rise to mental life and behavior.

The Institute’s interdisciplinary community of scholars will draw from a multiplicity of disciplines, including neuroscience, medicine, education, law and business. Their discoveries aim to remodel understanding of brain function, individuals, and society, enabling positive change and enhancing human potential. Current research themes: The Changing Brain, Cracking the Neural Code, Enhancing the Brain, Understanding Thought, and How We Learn.

Stanford Neurosciences Institute

Friday April 10, 2015

Friday’s News focused on  some of the affiliated partners in the BRAIN Initiative.

Grants

Modular systems measuring brain activity

Principal Investigator: Loren M Frank
Sandler Neurosciences Center, UC San Francisco
Title: ” Modular systems for measuring and manipulating brain activity”
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation – New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Frank and his colleagues will engineer a next-generation, all-in-one neural recording and stimulating system, which can simultaneously monitor thousands of neurons in the brain for several months while also delivering drugs, light or electrical pulses.

Modular systems measuring brain activity

Advancing MRI & MRS Technologies

Principal Investigator: Wei Chen
Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Minnesota
Title: “Advancing MRI & MRS Technologies for Studying Human Brain Function and Energetics”
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Chen’s team will achieve unprecedented higher resolution magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy scanning by integrating ultra-high dielectric constant material and ultra-high-field techniques.

Advancing MRI & MRS Technologies

Principal Investigators

Loren M Frank

Core Faculty, Program in Biological Sciences, UCSF Physiology Department
Director: Frank Laboratory

Frank’s research interests center around learning and spatial coding in the hippocampal-cortical circuit. Frank is interested in understanding the neural correlates of learning and memory. In particular, his laboratory focuses on the circuitry of the hippocampus and adjacent regions. His goal is to examine the relationships among neural firing patterns, behavior, and anatomy to understand how the brain uses and stores information.

Loren M Frank

Wei Chen

Professor, Departments of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Faculty, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Chen’s research focuses on development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/spectroscopy (MRS) methodologies and technologies for noninvasively studying cellular metabolism, bioenergetics, function and dysfunction of the brain and other organs. He has been a principal investigator for a large number of NIH RO1 grants, served as grant reviewer for many funding organizations and editorial boards for imaging journals.

Labs & Centers

Frank Laboratory

Principal Investigator: Loren Frank
UCSF Neuroscience

The Frank Lab’s goal is to understand how activity and plasticity in neural circuits underlie both learning and the ability to use learned information to make decisions. In particular, our laboratory focuses on the circuitry of the hippocampus and anatomically related regions. We use a combination of techniques, including large scale multielectrode recording, targeted optogenetic interventions and behavioral manipulations of awake, behaving animals to understand how the brain learns and remembers.

Frank Laboratory

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Director: Kamil Ugurbil
Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Minnesota

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) focuses on development of unique magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and spectroscopy methodologies and instrumentation for the acquisition of structural, functional, and biochemical information non-invasively in humans, and utilizing this capability to investigate organ function in health and disease. The distinctive feature of CMMR is the emphasis on ultrahigh magnetic fields (7 Tesla and above).

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Institutions

UCSF Neuroscience

University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) has one of the largest neuroscience complexes in the world including the Sandler Neurosciences Center and Rock Hall. UCSF is ranked by NIH as the #1 department of neurology at US medical schools.

Research is done by the faculty in the Neuroscience Graduate Program and many centers including the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and the Center for Integrative Neuroscience. Affiliated centers include research at San Francisco Medical Centers and the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disorders.

UCSF Neuroscience

Institute for Translational Neuroscience

The University of Minnesta’s Institute for Translational Neuroscience (ITN) grew out of the Presidential Initiative on Brain Function across the Lifespan.

The Institute is not a brick and mortar entity but an umbrella organization. The Institute’s main goal has been to retain and recruit neuroscience researchers who exemplify the institute’s mission to make discoveries through team work. The Institute’s second goal is to foster and encourage collaboration amongst the scholars, researchers and centers.

Institute for Translational Neuroscience The University of Minnesta’s Institute for Translational Neuroscience (ITN) grew out of the Presidential Initiative on Brain Function across the Lifespan.  The Institute is not a brick and mortar entity but an umbrella organization. The Institute’s main goal has been to retain and recruit neuroscience researchers who exemplify the institute’s mission to make discoveries through team work. The Institute’s second goal is to foster and encourage collaboration amongst the scholars, researchers and centers.

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