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.

Cell Type Characterization Platform

PI: Hongkui Zeng, Allen Brain Atlases
Allen Institute for Brain Science
Title: “Establishing a Comprehensive and Standardized Cell Type Characterization Platform”
BRAIN Category: Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)

Dr. Zeng’s group will characterize cell types in brain circuits controlling sensations, such as vision and emotions, as a first step to better understand information processing across circuits. The data generated will be posted as a public online resource for the scientific community.

Next generation imaging in vivo

Principal Investigator: Elly Nedivi
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyTitle: “Next generation high-throughput random access imaging, in vivo”
BRAIN category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation – Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Nedivi’s team proposes a new imaging technology to simultaneously record activity at each of the thousands of synapses, or communication points, on a single neuron.

Calcium sensors for molecular fMRI

PI: Alan Jasanoff
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: “Calcium sensors for molecular fMRI”
BRAIN category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation – New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Jasanoff’s team will synthesize calcium-sensing contrast agents that will allow functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to reveal activity of individual brain cells

Vascular Interfaces for Brain Imaging

PI: Robert Desimone
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: “Vascular Interfaces for Brain Imaging and Stimulation”
BRAIN category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Desimone’s project will access the brain through its network of blood vessels to less invasively image, stimulate and monitor electrical and molecular activity than existing methods.

Multiplexed Nanoscale In Situ Proteomics

PI: Edwards S. Boyden
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: “Ultra-Multiplexed Nanoscale In Situ Proteomics for Understanding Synapse Types”
BRAIN category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Boyden’s team will simultaneously image both the identities and locations of multiple proteins within individual synapses – made possible by a new technique called DNA-PAINT.

Integrated approach to visual neuroscience

PI: Sebastian Seung, Princeton University
Title: “Vertically integrated approach to visual neuroscience: microcircuits to behavior”
BRAIN category: Understanding Neural Circuits

Dr. Seung and colleagues Thomas Euler (U Tübingen), Andrew Huberman (UC San Diego), Markus Meister (Caltech), and Rachel Wong (UW Seattle) will use state-of-the-art genetic, electrophysiological, and imaging tools to map the connectivity of the retina, the light-sensing tissue in the eye. The goal is to delineate all the retina’s neural circuits and define their specific roles in visual perception and behavior.

Mapping Sensory-Motor Pathways

Principal Investigator:
Neuroscience @ Caltech
Title: “Integrative Functional Mapping of Sensory-Motor Pathways”
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Dickinson will lead an interdisciplinary team to study how the brain uses sensory information to guide movements, by recording the activity of individual neurons from across the brain in fruit flies, as they walk on a treadmill and see and smell a variety of sights and odors.

Neural circuits in zebrafish

Principal Investigator: Florian Engert
Program in Neuroscience @Harvard
Title: “Neural circuits in zebrafish: form, function and plasticity”
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Engert’s team will combine a wide array of cutting-edge neuroscience techniques to watch the entire brain activity of a see-through fish while it swims, and to make detailed maps of its brain circuitry.

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.

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