Funded Awards

Export All:
Investigator
Gibson, Emily Welle, Cristin G (contact)
Institute
University Of Colorado Denver
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
Summary

To further our understanding of how neural circuits function, we need tools that can collect simultaneous measurements from large populations of neurons involved in a common neural computation and provide precise functional modulation. Current optical imaging in awake animals expressing calcium indicators provides spatial and temporal precision, but limitations include small fields-of-view (encompassing single brain regions) and head-fixation requirements that prevents naturalistic behavior.

Investigator
Blaauw, David
Institute
University Of Michigan At Ann Arbor
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
Summary

Wireless, small, injectable neural recording modules have been a long-standing goal in neuroscience. Blaauw’s team presents a new approach for recording and transmitting neural signals at the single- neuron level, using fully-wireless, 100x100μm-sized micro-probe implants (mProbes). mProbes can be injected into the brain at nearly unlimited locations in the sub-arachnoid space.

Investigator
KATZ, PAUL
Institute
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Integrated Approaches
Summary

The brain is constantly assessing information that guides decision making, which can be a matter of life or death. For example, animals can choose to go to a place filled with food or an area filled with predators. Dr. Katz and his team will examine how neural circuits allow the mollusk Berghia stephaniaedecide where to go, implementing this common decision behavior with fundamental, reductionist neural mechanisms.

Investigator
BONINGER, MICHAEL
Institute
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH AT PITTSBURGH
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Human Neuroscience
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
Summary

Brain-computer interfaces and neuroprosthetics have provided a significant benefit to patients with cervical spinal cord injuries. However, current technology is limited in its abilities to allow the user to control how much force is exerted by the prosthesis and to provide sensory feedback from the prosthetic hand. In a public-private collaboration with Blackrock Microsystems, Dr. Boninger and colleagues are looking to improve the dexterity of neuroprostheses by incorporating microstimulation of the somatosensory cortex.

Investigator
Clandinin, Thomas Robert Dickinson, Michael H (contact) Druckmann, Shaul Mann, Richard S Murray, Richard M Tuthill, John Comber Wilson, Rachel
Institute
California Institute Of Technology
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Integrated Approaches
Summary
The coordination amongst components of the central nervous system to guide sensorimotor behavior requires an understanding of exactly how these modules interact, from low-level transmissions guiding individual muscles, to high-level communications for complex behavior. Michael Dickinson and a multi-disciplinary team of experts will develop a theory of Drosophila fruit fly behavior that incorporates neural processes and feedback across hierarchical levels, using methods developed from their prior BRAIN effort.
Investigator
White, Owen R
Institute
University Of Maryland Baltimore
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
  • Human Neuroscience
  • Integrated Approaches
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

A thorough understanding of the complexities of the brain’s different cell types requires the sharing and integration of myriad genomic information generated from various data sources. Owen White proposes creating a Neuroscience Multi-Omic (NeMO) Archive, a cloud-based data repository for -omic data. White and his team of researchers will establish an archive for multi-omic data and metadata of the BRAIN Initiative. The group will document and archive data processing workflows to ensure standardization, as well as create resources for user engagement and data visualization.

Investigator
Huang, Eric J Kriegstein, Arnold (contact)
Institute
University Of California, San Francisco
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
  • Human Neuroscience
Summary
Scientists have yet to achieve high-resolution classification of the billions of neurons and non-neuronal cells in the human brain. To attempt this feat, Arnold Kriegstein and Eric Huang will perform high-throughput, droplet-based single-cell RNA and transposase-accessible chromatin sequencing techniques to collect genetic and epigenetic information from individual cells, which will be sampled from multiple regions of post-mortem human brains that are developmentally between early gestation and adolescence.
Investigator
Gee, James C Hawrylycz, Michael (contact) Martone, Maryann E Ng, Lydia Lup-ming Philippakis, Anthony
Institute
Allen Institute
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary
One major technical challenge for the BRAIN Initiative is the storage and dissemination of large amounts of data collected by different project teams. Hawrylycz and colleagues will support the cell census efforts of the BRAIN Initiative by hosting the BRAIN Cell Data Center (BCDC). Through the BCDC, they will store single-cell data on genetics, histology, electrophysiology, morphology, anatomical location, and synaptic connections from multiple species in a standardized manner. They will also develop and provide training for web-based tools to ease data visualization and analysis efforts.
Investigator
Huang, Z Josh
Institute
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Complete
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
Summary

Identifying individual cell types in the brain is a monumental task that is complicated by the limitations of current molecular technologies. To measure genetic diversity in the whole mouse brain, Huang and Arlotta will lead a team using next-generation droplet-based single-cell transcriptome sequencing along with other highly sensitive single-cell techniques that allow for high-throughput data collection. They plan to map these data onto the spatial locations of forebrain neurons with the help of high-resolution microscopy and genetically driven cell markers.

Investigator
Zeng, Hongkui
Institute
Allen Institute
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Complete
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
Summary

The large number of cells in the brain and the complexity of their molecular and functional characteristics make it difficult to define individual cell types. Zeng and colleagues plan to complement high throughput droplet-based transcriptome survey with deep sequencing technique and multiplexed error-robust fluorescence in situ hybridization (MERFISH) to comprehensively characterize gene expression information from anatomically mapped cells across the entire mouse brain.

Investigator
Bruchez, Marcel P Ropelewski, Alexander J (contact) Watkins, Simon C
Institute
Carnegie-mellon University
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
  • Human Neuroscience
  • Integrated Approaches
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Advances in microscopy and imaging have created new possibilities in many fields of research, but these advances have also generated large amounts of data that can overwhelm traditional data management systems. Along with collaborators at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, Alexander Ropelewski plans to establish a BRAIN Imaging Archive that takes advantages of infrastructure and personnel resources at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.

Investigator
Lichtman, Jeff
Institute
HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
  • Human Neuroscience
  • Integrated Approaches
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Connectomics describes a field of study that builds maps of the connections within the brain. Dr. Lichtman and colleagues have developed a facility for generating high-resolution, large-volume serial section electron microscopy data that can be used to generate connectomic maps. In this project, access to the facility, techniques, and analytical software will be provided to the broader neuroscience community.

Investigator
Kimmel, Bruce
Institute
VIDRIO TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
  • Human Neuroscience
  • Integrated Approaches
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

The community’s need for an integrated open-source analysis platform is rapidly growing due to the increasing capacity of extracellular electrodes and the limited number of new and validated spike- sorting methods. JRCLUST, a free, open-source, standalone spike sorting software, offers a scalable, automated and well-validated spike sorting workflow for analysis of data generated by large multielectrode arrays.

Investigator
Dzirasa, Kafui
Institute
Duke University
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
Summary

A barrier to understanding the brain is its geometry. When electrodes are implanted to access deep subcortical structures, brain tissue at the surface is often destroyed in the process. Dzirasa’s team will develop a technology to ‘functionally’ change the geometry of the brain by biologically projecting neural activity onto a flat surface for real-time imaging.

Investigator
Greenberg, Michael E
Institute
Harvard Medical School
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
  • Monitor Neural Activity
  • Interventional Tools
Summary
The limited ability to genetically access specific neural cell types, based on distinctive gene expression patterns, impedes brain function probing and therapy development. Greenberg and colleagues will generate recombinant viral reagents that target specific cortical cell types, using recent advances in genetics and a novel application of single-cell transcriptome analysis. They propose to identify genetic drivers specific for excitatory and inhibitory mouse cortical neuronal subtypes.
Investigator
Contreras-vidal, Jose Luis (contact) Knappe, Svenja
Institute
University Of Houston
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Human Neuroscience
  • Integrated Approaches
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
Summary

Non-invasive imaging methods, such as magnetoencephalography (MEG), are powerful in their ability to image brain dynamics without contacting the skull and scalp, but MEG is limited by the requirement of a magnetic shielding environment. In this proof-of-concept project, Drs. Jose Contreras-Vidal, Svenja Knappe, and a team of investigators will develop a wearable, compact, and noninvasive MEG system that can operate without external shielding, while maintaining high performance.

Investigator
Feller, Marla
Institute
University Of California Berkeley
Year Funded
2016
FOA Number
Status
Complete
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Monitor Neural Activity
  • Interventional Tools
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary
Spontaneous neuronal activity plays a role in the wiring of retinal circuits during development. Current imaging techniques are unable to capture such activity accurately. Dr. Feller’s team will assemble a system containing a resonant scanner-based two-photon microscope with the ability to achieve three-dimensional imaging of a single spontaneous firing event in vivo. Her team will utilize this high-speed volumetric two-photon imaging during visual stimulation to study the formation of functional neuronal circuits in the developing mouse retina.
Investigator
Wald, Lawrence L
Institute
Massachusetts General Hospital
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Monitor Neural Activity
  • Interventional Tools
  • Integrated Approaches
  • Human Neuroscience
Summary
A complete understanding of human brain network structure and functional activation requires non-invasive imaging tools that generate high-resolution functional maps with dramatically increased sensitivity. Lawrence Wald and his team believe that achieving the next level of sensitivity of neuroimaging technology will occur through functional magnetic particle imaging (MPI). Unlike functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which indirectly detects blood oxygenation level, fMPI can directly detect this iron concentration with no intermediate step.
Investigator
Arnold, Donald B
Institute
University Of Southern California
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Cell Type
  • Circuit Diagrams
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
Summary

To understand how the activation of individual neurons in the brain leads to particular behaviors, it is necessary to identify synaptic connections to downstream neurons. Although considerable information about neuronal circuits has been generated using rabies virus to trace trans-synaptic connections in the retrograde direction, there is no comparable technique for trans-synaptic tracing in the anterograde direction. In rodent brains, Arnold and colleagues will optimize a non-toxic method for anterograde monosynaptic tracing from single neurons to virtually any postsynaptic receptor.

Investigator
Pesaran, Bijan
Institute
New York University
Year Funded
2017
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Monitor Neural Activity
  • Interventional Tools
Summary
Two-photon optical imaging of large populations of genetically-modified neurons is a powerful tool for studying neuronal circuits. Developed primarily for rodent models, use of this technology in primates is currently very challenging, in part due to the restricted imaging fields of traditional microscopes. Bijan Pesaran and a team of neuroscientists and engineers will develop an automated platform to enable imaging across multiple imaging fields situated over broad areas of the primate neocortex with micrometer precision.