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UC reseachers part of Obama initiative to map the brain

University of California scientists are among the brains behind President Obama’s national initiative to map the human brain.

Obama on April 2 proposed an initial $100 million investment this year in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative. The goal is to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure and prevent brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury, according to a White House press release.

The idea to map the brain was proposed last year by a group of leading scientists that included Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Director Paul Alivisatos and Ralph Greenspan, associate director of UC San Diego’s Kavli Institute.

“The Brain Activity Map is a very promising project for developing revolutionary new tools to advance neuroscience and to enable improved understanding of neurological diseases,” Alivisatos said. “It is exciting that the nation will lean forward to make progress in this important area.”

Cornelia “Cori” Bargmann, a former UCSF professor now at Rockefeller University, and William Newsome of Stanford University, will co-chair BRAIN.

BRAIN will combine the efforts of universities, private organizations and federal research agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, in a massive project to decipher how the brain works.

UC neuroscientists, chemists, computer scientists, physicists and engineers will take part in the effort.

“There is this enormous mystery waiting to be unlocked, and the BRAIN Initiative will change that by giving scientists the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action and better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember,” Obama said. “And that knowledge could be — will be — transformative.”

For more coverage of UC’s role in the BRAIN initiative, view these links:

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