NIH announces first round of BRAIN Initiative Awards

Stanford faculty members Mark Schnitzer, associate professor of applied physics and biology, and Michael Lin, assistant professor of pediatrics and bioengineering, were among the first round of BRAIN Initiative awardees announced on September 30. Their project is titled "Protein voltage sensors: kilohertz imaging of neural dynamics in behaving animals".

The initiative is a project of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with the aim of "revolutionizing our understanding of 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." (http://www.braininitiative.nih.gov/). The BRAIN Initiative has granted $100 million for fiscal year 2014, and expects to grant $200 million in 2015.

Awards were also granted to recent Stanford alumni, Viviana Gradinaru, assistant professor of Biology and Biological Engineerig at Caltech, for her proposal "Time-Reversal Optical Focusing for Noninvasive Optogenetics" and to Vikaas Sohal, assistant professor of Psychiatry at UCSF for his proposal "Identification of enhancers whose activity defines cortical interneuron types".

This first round of funding was divided among 58 grants, spanning the topics:  "Understanding Neural Circuits", "Large-Scale Recording-Modulation Optimization", " Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies", "Next Generation Human Imaging", " Tools for Cells and Circuits", and "Census of Cell Types".

For the complete list of awarded projects, see: http://www.braininitiative.nih.gov/nih-brain-awards.htm

 Dr. Mark Schnitzer

Dr. Mark Schnitzer

 Dr. Michael Lin

Dr. Michael Lin