Funded Awards

Export All:
Investigator
Resulaj, Arbora
Institute
University Of California, San Francisco
Year Funded
2019
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

Working memory is crucial to many human functions, and a better understanding of its underlying mechanisms could improve our understanding of memory abnormalities in advanced age. Current hypotheses suggest that working memory is maintained by a hierarchy of interconnected cortical areas, but more work is needed to understand the unique role of each area. Dr. Resulaj aims to study visual working memory at the systems and cellular level in the mouse. Utilizing novel behavior assays, a laser scanning galvo system, and optogenetics, this work ultimately will develop a computational model of visual working memory in the mouse cortex.

Investigator
Chen, Jerry
Institute
BOSTON UNIVERSITY (CHARLES RIVER CAMPUS)
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Integrated Approaches
Summary

Sensory perception involves the transformation of sensory input into mnemonic representations, likely through interactions within and between cortical areas. However, a challenge for neuroscientists has been to distinguish information that is processed locally versus information that is transferred to and from other cortical areas. Using whisker-based paired association tasks in the mouse, Dr. Chen will apply two-photon calcium imaging and optogenetic manipulations to provide insight into these cortical circuits and evaluate predictive models that have been proposed to explain important aspects of perception. Taken together, these efforts could broaden the understanding of sensory representations that undergird perception.

Investigator
WANG, FAN et al.
Institute
DUKE UNIVERSITY
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Integrated Approaches
Summary

There are two components of pain perception: sensory-signal-dependent and affective-cognitive aspects. The primary somatosensory cortex (S1) has been implicated in the affective-cognitive aspect of pain. In certain chronic neuropathic pain conditions, light touch can trigger intense feelings of pain – a hypersensitivity known as mechanical allodynia. Drs. Wang and He will test the hypothesis that S1 neurons that project directly back to the spinal cord facilitate mechanical hypersensitivity, whereas S1 neurons that project intra-cortically to motor cortex suppress this hypersensitivity. The team will use viral-genetic labeling of cortical neurons, in vivo calcium imaging and electrophysiological recordings in mice, optogenetic-assisted slice physiology, trans-synaptic tracing, and computational analyses to study the sensory- and motor-cortical modulation of pain.

Investigator
Han, Xue Sen, Kamal K (contact)
Institute
Boston University (charles River Campus)
Year Funded
2019
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Integrated Approaches
Summary

The cocktail party syndrome describes the process by which the brain tunes into one sound while hearing many others in the background. This often happens when two people have a conversation during a noisy cocktail party. Understanding the neural basis of this cocktail party effect has been a challenge for the auditory research field. To address this, the Sen and Han labs plans to explore how the circuits of the auditory cortex of the mouse brain may play a role in controlling the cocktail party syndrome.  to use novel tools and test hypotheses involving the neural circuits of the auditory cortex, Their results may help researchers understand the circuitry behind a variety of psychological and hearing disorders that disrupt this process.

Investigator
Sun, Xiaonan
Institute
Feinstein Institute For Medical Research
Year Funded
2019
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

Activity in the striatum is known to be linked to perceptual decision-making processes orchestrated by the cortex. Dr. Sun proposes to use genetically-encoded calcium indicators to examine cortex-wide activity patterns in mice performing perceptual decision tasks. This will be combined with wide-field calcium imaging in order to correlate behavior with changes in neural activity. The research will enhance our understanding of how activity in the cortico-striatal pathway supports decision-making.

Investigator
Schrater, Paul R
Institute
University Of Minnesota
Year Funded
2015
FOA Number
Status
Complete
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary
Schrater and his team will offer a two-week short course, covering cross-disciplinary training in mathematical modelling techniques to understand brain function related to sensorimotor control and dysfunction. The course aims to increase participants' understanding of the brain's working principles in health and disease, via lectures accompanied by hands-on modelling and simulation tutorials. Course participants will be better positioned to contribute successfully to the overall goals of the BRAIN Initiative.
Investigator
Rinberg, Dmitry
Institute
New York University School Of Medicine
Year Funded
2019
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Integrated Approaches
Summary

Although olfaction is an important sense used by most animals to interact with their environment, there is a lack of empirical understanding of olfactory processing. Dr. Rinberg and team will collect the first system-wide dataset of neural and perceptual responses to a large, principled set of odorants and leverage recent technical advances in molecular genetics, neural imaging, electrophysiology, opto- and chemo-genetics, human psychophysics, and machine learning to reveal the computational logic of olfaction. The goal of this project is to uncover the rules that determine how various chemical features of an odorant are represented as neural activity, how this neural activity gets transformed as it propagates from the olfactory bulb to the piriform cortex, and the relevance of various features of these olfactory bulb neural responses to eliciting behavior and perception. These experiments will create a community-wide resource with potentially wide-ranging implications for general understanding of sensory information neural processes.

Investigator
Duke, Austin
Institute
NEXEON MEDSYSTEMS PUERTO RICO OPERATING COMPANY, INC
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Human Neuroscience
  • Interventional Tools
  • Monitor Neural Activity
Summary

While Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) devices can alleviate symptomology of patients with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease, appropriate placement is paramount and challenging, particularly for directional stimulating leads. Dr. Austin plans to develop and test CranialProgrammer, image-guided software that uses local field potentials to help clinicians map patient brain regions for optimal placement of DBS leads. In partnership with NeuroTargeting, LLC, the software will integrate with the implanted DBS system of Parkinson’s patients to allow visualization of patient data coupled with imaging technologies. This software could dramatically improve the ability of neurologists to program directional DBS leads, providing therapeutic benefit to myriad DBS patients.

 

Summary

Recent advances in computational psychiatry have revealed failures in using models of the reward environment to flexibly change undesired behavior in individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs). Drs. Soltani and Izquierdo will inhibit precise brain regions and simultaneously perform calcium imaging in rodents performing an adaptive learning task to explore circuitry between the cortex and amygdala. Results from this project could lead to improved systems-level understanding of behavioral inflexibility in people with SUDs and of the precise roles of involved brain areas for better, more effective therapeutic targeting in the future.

Investigator
JONES, STEPHANIE RUGGIANO (contact); HAMALAINEN, MATTI
Institute
BROWN UNIVERSITY
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Advancing methods to image and interpret neural activity in humans on fine temporal-spatial scales is critical to understanding how the brain works in health and disease. However, the ability to record non-invasively from deep in the human brain with current technology is lacking. To address this issue, Drs. Hamalainen and Jones will integrate magneto-/electroencephalography (MEG/EEG), computational neural modeling, and invasive electrophysiological recording in humans to optimize methods to localize distributed deep and shallow brain sources, and to develop a computational tool to interpret the underlying cellular events. In addition to developing free open source software that will advance the ability to non-invasively study subcortical interactions in humans with MEG/EEG, this approach will provide novel insight into distributed subcortical activity that is not possible with one method alone.

Investigator
CHEN, ZHE (contact); WILSON, MATTHEW A
Institute
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

<p>Sleep is critical to memory and learning, and deciphering the neural codes underlying hippocampal and sensory cortical circuits would reveal important mechanisms of memory consolidations. Therefore, the study of hippocampal-neocortical memory coding during sleep is aimed at identifying a more complete answer to the "where", "what" and "when" questions related to memory processing, where a complete understanding is currently lacking. Drs. Chen and Wilson will combine electrophysiology, population-decoding methods, optogenetics and closed-loop neural interface to uncover sleep-associated memory contents of neural codes in the hippocampus and visual cortex and to dissect the circuit mechanisms of hippocampal-neocortical interaction and memory consolidation during various stages of sleep. The proposed project will provide valuable insight into targeted memory reactivation during sleep for memory enhancement or therapeutic applications.</p>

 

Investigator
CANAVIER, CARMEN CASTRO (contact); GASPARINI, SONIA
Institute
LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Neuromodulation in the hippocampus is thought to guide learning and memory processes, and a thorough knowledge of the mechanisms underlying encoding and retrieval is critical towards informing clinical interventions for cognitive disorders. Drs. Canavier and Gasparini will investigate how the neurotransmitter acetylcholine controls routing in areas CA1 and CA3 of the hippocampus. Their approach uses both computational modeling and experiments to better understand the neural basis of how different oscillation frequencies can be used to route information and how acetylcholine could control this routing. The resultant improvement in understanding how information is processed and stored in the hippocampus may eventually guide therapeutic strategies for cognitive disorders.

Investigator
ROZELL, CHRISTOPHER JOHN
Institute
GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Year Funded
2019
FOA Number
Status
Active
1R01NS115327-01
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

The neural pathways underlying sensory perception are richly structured systems, with multilayered recurrent connections between cell types within a cortical layer, between cortical laminae, between areas within a sensory pathway, and between different brain regions. Despite substantial progress characterizing neural responses, it is particularly challenging to determine causal interactions within recurrently connected circuits due to the confounding influence of the interconnections. Drs. Rozell and Stanley plan to design a closed-loop stimulation system to decouple recurrently connected elements and clamp neural ensemble activity. Notably, the system will work in real-time by analyzing neural activity and feedback to guide stimulation on a scale of milliseconds. The team proposes to test this system in the rodent whisker barrel cortex – though applications in other brain areas, as well as the development of new medical devise based on the controller architecture, could likely result.

Investigator
QUEISSER, GILLIAN
Institute
TEMPLE UNIV OF THE COMMONWEALTH
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that relies on electromagnetic induction. Though studied clinically for the treatment of various disorders, effective repetitive TMS (rTMS) therapies remain elusive, hampered by technical limitations and a complex parameter space. To better understand the mechanisms underlying rTMS, Dr. Queisser aims to bridge modeling and basic neuroscience to build a multi-scale computational model which combines field simulations, network/single-cell plasticity modeling, and molecular-level calcium simulations. The proposed project is a first important step towards biology-driven, computer-assisted personalized rTMS therapies to promote beneficial neural plasticity. Moreover, this molecular approach provides the perspective in testing synergistic effects of pharmacological interventions and rTMS-based therapies, which may be instrumental in informing future clinical trials to tackle mental health disease.

Investigator
NAVLAKHA, SAKET
Institute
SALK INSTITUTE FOR BIOLOGICAL STUDIES
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Sensory systems in simple model organisms, like olfaction in the fruit fly, are well understood but must be translated to higher level vertebrates and expanded to include computational models for full comprehension. Dr. Navlakha hopes to understand what computations are used by the mammalian olfactory system using a mouse model and extending to develop a computer algorithm for application across species. The group plans to learn what circuit mechanisms are used in the mouse olfactory system, which may help identify how disruption of these mechanisms causes circuit malfunction. Using these data to improve computational processing performance, they could uncover insights into how the brain computes more broadly in health and disease.

Investigator
GARYFALLIDIS, ELEFTHERIOS
Institute
INDIANA UNIVERSITY BLOOMINGTON
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Diffusion-weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging (dMRI) is the only currently available, non-invasive, method to measure the properties connections in living human brains. Widely used in clinical tests for a variety of brain disorders, dMRI helps researchers understand networks involved in perception in cognition. Dr. Garyfallidis plans to implement novel algorithms for dMRI data analysis, share benchmark data sets, and support development of cloud-computing software tools. Computational methods proposed could accelerate research using dMRI for clinical application and increase our ability to make inferences from dMRI data.

Investigator
BOGUE, MOLLY A
Institute
JACKSON LABORATORY
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

The scientific community and general public have become increasingly concerned about a lack of replicability among published discoveries, particularly in behavioral science, but extending to many areas of pre-clinical research. Dr. Bogue proposes a practical approach to the challenge of research replicability that will help circumvent extensive and costly efforts and delays in the initial reporting of important findings, while facilitating changes in how scientists evaluate and communicate research. This project will provide an approach, guidelines and publicly available data resources to reduce the number of irreproducible studies that are published and improperly used as foundational research, increasing the public health impact of NIH-funded research and ultimately restoring confidence in the public's investment in research through timely, cost-effective improvements in the scientific process.

Investigator
RESS, DAVID B
Institute
BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

The human brainstem plays a critical role in brain function, both in health and disease, yet remarkably little is known about this critical brain region. While functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain has provided tremendous insight into the cerebral cortex, the depth and small size of brainstem structures, such as the superior colliculus, has made imaging of the brainstem challenging. Dr. Ress proposes to build a set of methods and modeling that will enable the use of ultra-high-field fMRI to study the brainstem. The group will demonstrate validity by performing visual response experiments in the superior colliculus of humans and, if successful, could obtain much higher resolution data that could be transformative for basic research and clinical studies alike.

Investigator
GOLD, JOSHUA I (contact); JOSIC, KRESIMIR ; KILPATRICK, ZACHARY PETER
Institute
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Decisions are often deliberative processes that depend on the ability to accumulate uncertain information over time, but sometimes, new information requires dynamic updates. While research has begun to examine decision-making under dynamic conditions, no studies have identified representations of this adaptive decision variable that can flexibly accumulate information to guide behavior. Dr. Gold and collaborators plan to use theoretical and experimental approaches to understand how and where the brain encodes these decision variables. Specifically, they test whether brain circuits that integrate evidence under static conditions can also implement adaptive processes under dynamic conditions. This integrated computational, behavioral, and neurophysiological approach will provide novel insights into many aspects of higher brain function and complex behaviors that depend on dynamic processing of information.

Investigator
RICHARDSON, ROBERT MARK (contact); TURNER, ROBERT STERLING
Institute
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH AT PITTSBURGH
Year Funded
2018
FOA Number
Status
Active
Project Number
Priority Area
  • Theory & Data Analysis Tools
Summary

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) represents one of the major clinical breakthroughs in the age of translational neuroscience, though harnessing the full therapeutic potential of adaptive DBS remains a challenge. Drs. Richardson and Turner will employ artificial intelligence strategies to further elevate the therapeutic potential of DBS. The concurrent use of research electrocorticography (ECoG) during DBS surgery recently has enabled basic neuroscience investigation of human cortical-subcortical network dynamics. Therefore, the researchers will develop a computational framework for deep learning-based multi-feature decoding of behavioral and disease states from ECoG, in order to advance the evolution of aDBS. By employing artificial intelligence strategies to innovate in the field of translational, personalized, medicine, this work will inform the design of novel strategies for biomarker-responsive brain stimulation.