Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING
JIB
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING

US Administration Plans on Mapping the Human Brain

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 11 Mar 2013
The Obama administration is planning a major scientific initiative, the mapping the human brain, to understand how it functions and malfunctions.

The initiative, dubbed the Brain Activity Map (BAM), will seek to map each of the approximately 100 billion neurons in the human brain, although initial studies will be performed in mice and other animals. The proposal for the project will be delivered to the US Congress as part of the president's budget package, and will carry a price tag of roughly USD 300 million a year over 10 years, totaling USD 3 billion. The effort is designed to be a collaboration between several federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Bethesda, MD, USA), the National Science Foundation (NSF; Arlington, VA, USA), and private organizations.

News reports about the initiative indicated that a 2012 scientific commentary outlined experimental plans for the project, including a variety of specific experimental techniques that might be used to achieve what is termed as the functional connectome, as well as new technologies that will have to be developed in the course of the project. Initial studies might be done in Caenorhabditis elegans, followed by Drosophila, because of their comparatively simple neural circuits. Mid-term studies could be done in zebrafish, mice, and the Etruscan shrew, with studies ultimately to be done in primates and humans.

The project involves the development of nanoparticles that could be used as voltage sensors that would detect individual action potentials, as well as nanoprobes serving as electrophysiological multielectrode arrays. Other methods could use wireless, noninvasive methods of neuronal activity detection such as microelectronic very-large-scale integration and synthetic biology, rather than microelectronics. A related technique proposed the use of high-throughput DNA sequencing for rapidly mapping neural connectivity. The data would be analyzed and modeled by large scale computation. A description of the BAM project and the challenges it faces was published on February 22, 2013, in Neuron.

“To succeed, the BAM Project needs two critical components: strong leadership from funding agencies and scientific administrators, and the recruitment of a large coalition of interdisciplinary scientists,” concluded report coauthor Paul Alivisato, PhD, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA, USA), and colleagues. “We believe that neuroscience is ready for a large-scale functional mapping of the entire brain circuitry, and that such mapping will directly address the emergent level of function, shining much-needed light into the ‘impenetrable jungles’ of the brain.”

Related Links:

National Institutes of Health
National Science Foundation
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory



comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: Alternative splicing produces two protein isoforms (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Key Regulator of Cancer-Inducing Alternative Splicing Identified

Cancer researchers have identified the splicing factor RBM4 (RNA-binding protein 4) as a key determinant in processes that prevent tumor development and spread. RBM4 is known to be crucial to gene splicing... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel

Ibuprofen May Restore Immune Function in Older Individuals

New research suggests that macrophages from the lungs of old mice respond differently to infections than those of young mice, and ibuprofen given to the mice reversed these changes. New research using lab mice suggests that the solution to more youthful immune function might already be a common over-the-counter pain reliever.... Read more

Therapeutics

view channel
Image: Hair follicle (blue) being attacked by T cells (green) (Photo courtesy of Christiano Lab/Columbia University Medical Center).

Hair Restoration Method Clones Patients’ Cells to Grow New Hair Follicles

Researchers have developed of a new hair restoration approach that uses a patient’s cells to grow new hair follicles. In addition, the [US] Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recently approved a new drug... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel
Image: Leica Microsystems launches the inverted research microscope platform Leica DMi8 (Photo courtesy of Leica Microsystems).

New Inverted Microscope Designed to Readily Adapt to Changing Research Demands

A new inverted microscope for biotech and other life science laboratories was designed to readily accommodate modifications and upgrades to allow it to keep current with changing research demands and interests.... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.