Bigger BRAIN Initiative

Highlights of public funding for translational initiatives in 4Q17

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is preparing to push projects in three areas past the pilot phase with $169 million in new NIH grants announced in 4Q17. The aim is to develop new tools to broaden understanding of brain function and neurological diseases.

NIH launched the BRAIN Initiative in 2013 to develop technologies to image and model living human brains, and techniques for manipulating brain activity in patients with neurological diseases.

An early goal was to catalog the different cell types found in the human, monkey and mouse brain, which could help researchers develop standardized models and assays.

“It’s actually still a little shocking that we don’t know how many different types of cells there are in a mammalian brain.”

Gregory Farber, NIMH

“It’s actually still a little shocking that we don’t know how many different types of cells there are in a mammalian brain, but we don’t,” said Gregory Farber, director of National Institute of Mental Health’s Office of Technology Development and Coordination and a member of the Multi-Council Working Group that runs the BRAIN Initiative.

The BRAIN Initiative funded the first ten cell census pilot projects in 2014 under what is now called the Brain Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN). One pilot, conducted by researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and University of California San Diego (UCSD), identified

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