NIH BRAIN Initiative Builds On Early Advances

The National Institutes of Health has announced funding for 110 new awards totaling $169 million for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, bringing the total 2017 funding investment for the program to $260 million. Maps of whole brains in action, the ability to identify thousands of brain cells at a time, and innovative brain scanners are just a few of the advances funded by the groundbreaking effort. In the past three years, research under the initiative has advanced so rapidly that this year many of the previously funded individual projects will receive expanded support to achieve the ambitious goals of the BRAIN Initiative.



“Understanding the way the brain processes information and how it lays down memories and retrieves them will be instrumental for understanding brain health, and ultimately, preventing brain disease,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.  “These awards add to work already underway to give us a high-resolution picture of the circuits and networks in the brain, how they work, and where they can go wrong.”

Launched in 2013, the BRAIN Initiative is a large-scale effort to push the boundaries of neuroscience research and equip scientists with insights necessary for treating a wide variety of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. Awarded to more than 178 investigators working at 56 institutions representing fields as diverse as engineering and psychology, this year’s funding will expand NIH’s efforts to develop new tools and technologies to understand neural circuit function and capture a dynamic view of the brain in action. While some have worked directly on the human brain others have tested tools and developed animal and computational models that help a wide range of researchers study the brain.

“Thanks to the rapid advances in neuroscience research, the BRAIN Initiative is entering a new phase, as we fully fund groundbreaking projects that were exploratory just a few years ago,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “The imaginative science performed in individual laboratories remains the backbone of BRAIN, but the neuroscience community now has the unique opportunity to take on groundbreaking projects that can only be completed by teams of scientists working together.”

By: The National Institutes of Health


Brigitte Stark