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The NIH BRAIN Initiative: Achieving Precision in Interrogating and Modulating Brain Circuitry, Walter Koroshetz, MD
October 6, 2016 @ 8:55 am - 9:20 am
Walter Koroshetz, MD, Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH —
The investigators participating in the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) BRAIN initiative have opened technological doors that should enable researchers across the globe to better understand how the brain encodes and transmits information. Ongoing projects span from developing an in depth classification of brain cells, to new means of invasively and non-invasively interrogating and modulating brain circuit activity. Great challenges lie ahead as the complexity of brain circuitry extends across multiple spatial scales. These begin with the information processing that goes on in a single neuron, to the interactions with its diverse neighbors, to the network activity that involves near and far nuclei. As brain circuit activity is dynamic there are also time scales that stretch from milleseconds to days and even years. Activity does not occur for activity sake, but is integrated into a constantly changing sensory environment for the purpose of enabling the organism’s universe of behaviors. The NIH BRAIN initiative projects are positioned to provide tools for studies at various points along these spatial, temporal and behavioral scales to provide precise measurements of the neural activity underlying key behaviors. It is anticipated that the richness of this data will uncover the computational rules by which the brain integrates and synthesizes information. The application of this new knowledge and BRAIN technologies will have profound implications for diagnostics and therapeutics for persons with disorders of brain circuitry. Precise identification of dysfunctional circuits underlying neurologic, psychiatric and substance abuse disorders will revolutionize diagnosis and measures of disease progression. Therapeutics that target circuit normalization or compensation will improve the effectiveness and precision of our treatments.