The BRAIN Blog

Latest from The BRAIN Blog

The BRAIN Blog covers updates and announcements on BRAIN Initiative research, events, and news. 

Hear from BRAIN Initiative trainees, learn about new scientific advancements, and find out about recent funding opportunities by visiting The BRAIN Blog.

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black and white image of people working on laptops at a counter height table on stools at the annual BRAIN meeting

From the BRAIN Director: Q&A With Dr. John Ngai and Dr. Rebecca Baker - Discovery of Brain Biomarkers for Pain and Beyond

The human brain has been intensely studied by scientists for decades. This research has taught us that some health conditions share underlying biology – for example, pain, addiction, and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
  • Neuroscience Research and Technology

From the BRAIN Director: The Value of Model Organisms for Understanding the Human Brain

Humans are complex beings, but our inner workings operate using basic biological processes shaped and repurposed over hundreds of millions of years of evolution. By providing critical insights into these processes, decades of research using model organisms has been central to progress toward understanding and treating a range of human diseases – including neurologic, psychiatric, and neurodegenerative conditions.

  • Neuroscience Research and Technology

From the BRAIN Director: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

In years past, attending the annual late-fall meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) was a busy and at times tedious ritual. Months after submitting abstracts comes the frenzied work of putting together posters and slides and leaving our homes and labs for several days. Upon arrival, though, my mood quickly shifts to anticipation and excitement as new results are shared, new collaborations are hatched, and long-distance friendships are renewed or made anew.

  • Neuroscience Research and Technology

From the BRAIN Director: Sizing Up Science

In my daily discussions with the BRAIN community, I hear the tension between small and big science: a proxy argument for exploring biology versus building tools. Individual labs do creative biology, so why fund large teams that churn out lots of data but aren’t testing hypotheses?

My answer is simple: Diseases don’t care about funding mechanisms.

  • Neuroscience Research and Technology

From the BRAIN Director: What’s the Payoff?

Last week marked my second anniversary as BRAIN Director, an amazing opportunity and challenge for which I am deeply grateful. Over the past two years, I’ve strived to maintain perspective about all that we do, and to be guided by others’ views and critiques. People often ask me, “What’s the payoff, and when will we see it?” These questions are important, considering the magnitude of BRAIN investments and the promises we’ve made to better understand neural circuit function and develop new cures.

  • Neuroscience Research and Technology

From the BRAIN Director: The Great Unknown

Imagine looking up on a clear night and instead of seeing the giant celestial smear that is the Milky Way, visualizing every individual star as a crystal-clear sparkle of light. That was my reaction 8 years ago when I laid eyes on the first data to emerge from the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Consortium.

  • Neuroscience Research and Technology

From the BRAIN Director: New Perspectives

More than two years into a global pandemic, we’ve all had to figure out new ways of living and working. For many, including myself, days of the week and months of the year have seemingly blended together into one continuous blur. I remember, just after COVID-19 hit, trying to find a way to navigate this absurdly strange time warp with one of my enduring passions: photography.

  • Neuroscience News

From the BRAIN Director: Reflecting on Another Year of Exciting BRAIN Research

The National Institutes of Health’s Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative continues to grow as reflected by more than 200 new research projects funded in fiscal year 2021, totaling over $540 million.

  • Neuroscience News

From the BRAIN Director: Celebrating Progress: the 7th Annual BRAIN Investigators Meeting

After the past year and a half of pandemic-induced isolation, the 7th Annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting held last month truly felt like a celebration. Together, we have persisted through research stoppages and met challenges to getting work done despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19. This year’s meeting – with more than 3,500 registrants – showcased the great work that did get accomplished, and I could sense how much we all yearn for an in-person meeting next year.

  • Neuroscience News

From the BRAIN Director: Diversity as a Means of Achieving Research Excellence

“We stand on the verge of a great journey into the unknown – the interior terrain of thinking, feeling, perceiving, learning, deciding, and acting to achieve our goals – that is the special province of the human brain … No single researcher or discovery will solve the brain’s mysteries.” – BRAIN 2025 strategic vision

  • Neuroscience Grants and Funding
  • Neuroscience News