"Understanding how the brain works is arguably one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time."

Paul Alivisatos

These breakthroughs have paved the way for unprecedented collaboration and discovery across scientific fields. For instance, by combining advanced genetic and optical techniques, scientists can now use pulses of light to determine how specific cell activities in the brain affect behavior. In addition, through the integration of neuroscience and physics, researchers can now use high-resolution imaging technologies to observe how the brain is structurally and functionally connected in living humans.  

The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, also referred to as the Brain Activity Map Project) is a proposed collaborative research initiative announced by the Obama administration on April 2, 2013, with the goal of mapping the activity of every neuron in the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. Long desired by researchers seeking new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, this picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought.

The Brain Initiative has the potential to do for neuroscience what the human Genome Project did for genòmics by supportiing the development and application ofinnovative tecnologies that can create a dynamic understanding of brain function. It aims to help reseraches uncover the mysteries of brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and traumàtic brain injury (TBI). 

The initiative will accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers 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 records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves vast quantities of information, and shed light on the complex links between brain function and behavior. The Brain Iniciative has been projected to cost more than $300 million per year for ten years.

 

The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Read more about The Brain Iniciative

Comment