Walter Koroshetz – Early Days of the NIH BRAIN initiative

Walter Koroshetz presentation at Neuroscience BioConference Live [online] conference on Mar 19, 2015.

From Labroots synopsis: “The major funded efforts at this time fit into 3 main categories; 1) defining the components of brain circuits, i.e., a cell census; 2) developing and testing tools for recording high density information on circuit structure, activity, and manipulating circuit activity; 3) novel technology for noninvasive interrogation and manipulation of circuit activity (next generation imaging).”

BRAIN Initiative Overview

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.

The BRAIN Initiative will accelerate the development and application of new technologies to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought. These technologies will open new doors to explore how the brain encodes, stores, and retrieves vast quantities of information, and shed light on the complex links between brain function and behavior

2014 BRAIN Initiative Awards

NIH announced its initial $46 million investment for the BRAIN Initiative reseach on September 30, 2014.

These projects lay the groundwork for visualizing the brain in action. More than 100 investigators in 15 states and several countries will work to develop new tools and technologies to understand neural circuit function and capture a dynamic view of the brain in action.

Funding opportunites for fiscal year 2016 were announced on Janurary 13, 2015.

BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group

On Wednesday, March 4, 2015, the BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group met at the Neuroscience Center Building.

The meeting agenda included discussion of BRAIN research supported by NIH, neuroethics, and presentations on BRAIN-related activities supported by the four additional Federal agencies involved in The BRAIN Initiative: DARPA, NSF, the FDA, and IARPA.

The meeting was open to the public and videocast can be accessed from this post.

Advisory Committee to Director

The Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) working group is a high-level working group established by NIH Director Francis Collins to help shape the vision of the BRAIN Initiative. The working group, co-chaired by Dr. Cornelia “Cori” Bargmann (The Rockefeller University) and Dr. William Newsome (Stanford University), incorporated broad input from the scientific community, patient advocates, and the general public. Their report, released in June 2014, articulated the scientific goals of the BRAIN Initiative and developed a multi-year scientific plan for achieving these goals, including timetables, milestones, and cost estimates.

NIH Institutes and BRAIN Initiative

National Eye Institute
National Institute on Aging
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

NINDS and The BRAIN Initiative

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

NINDS supports and performs basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience research; funds and conducts research training and career development programs to increase basic, translational and clinical neuroscience expertise; and promotes the timely dissemination of scientific discoveries and their implications for neurological health to the public, health professionals, researchers, and policy-makers.

Allen Institute and The BRAIN Initiative

Allen Institute’s mission is to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease. Allen has been a major catalyst and facilitator of The BRAIN Initiative.

Launched in 2003 with a seed contribution from founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the Allen Institute takes on large-scale initiatives designed to push brain research forward, enabling the global scientific community to more efficiently make discoveries that bring real-world utility.

Affiliated Partners & The BRAIN Initiative

In addition to the National Institute of Health’s 10 Institutes and other programs spearheading the BRAIN Initiative, numerous other Federal agencies, companies, universities, private research centers, and universities are participating.

Over $300 million has been pledged to support the BRAIN Initiative. The five participating federal agencies are NIH, NSF, DARPA, FDA and IARPA. Major non-governmental commitments have come from numerous participants including the original private sector partners – Allen Institute, HHMI, and Kavli Foundation.

Single Cell Transcriptomics Classification

PI: John J. Ngai, Ngai Lab
University of California Berkeley
Title: “Classification of Cortical Neurons by Single Cell Transcriptomics”
BRAIN Category: Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)

To understand what makes neurons distinct, Dr. Ngai’s team will explore one major type of mouse brain cell, pinpointing genes responsible for differentiating them into subtypes and will also test whether each subtype has unique functions, using a new technique that labels them with tagged genes.

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