Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI)

Principal Investigator: Lawrence Wald
Neuroscience@Harvard
Title: "Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) for Functional Brain Imaging in Humans"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

The Wald team plans to use an iron-oxide contrast agent to track blood volume, which will permit dramatically more sensitive imaging of human brain activity than existing methods.

Imaging Brain Function with Portable MRI

Principal Investigator: Michael Garwood
Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Minnesta
Title: "Imaging Brain Function in Real World Environments & Populations with Portable MRI"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

By employing smaller, less cumbersome magnets than used in existing MRI, Dr. Garwood and colleagues will create a downsized, portable, less expensive brain scanner.

Vascular Interfaces for Brain Imaging

PI: Robert Desimone
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: "Vascular Interfaces for Brain Imaging and Stimulation"
BRAIN category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Desimone's project will access the brain through its network of blood vessels to less invasively image, stimulate and monitor electrical and molecular activity than existing methods.

Micro-Dose, Wearable PET Brain Imager

Principal Investigator: Julie Brefczynski-Lewis
WVU Center for Neuroscience
Title: Imaging the Brain in Motion: The Ambulatory Micro-Dose, Wearable PET Brain Imager
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Brefczynski-Lewis and co-workers will engineer a wearable PET scanner that images activity of the human brain in motion – for example, while taking a walk in the park.

Nontoxic transsynaptic tracing

Principal Investigator: Ian Wickersham
MIT Neuroscience
Title: "Novel technologies for nontoxic transsynaptic tracing"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Wickersham and colleagues will develop nontoxic viral tracers to assist in the study of neural circuitry underlying complex behaviors.

Mapping Sensory-Motor Pathways

Principal Investigator: Michael Dickinson
Caltech Neuroscience
Title: "Integrative Functional Mapping of Sensory-Motor Pathways"
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Dickinson will lead an interdisciplinary team to study how the brain uses sensory information to guide movements, by recording the activity of individual neurons from across the brain in fruit flies, as they walk on a treadmill and see and smell a variety of sights and odors

Integrated approach to visual neuroscience

PI: Sebastian Seung, Princeton University
Title: "Vertically integrated approach to visual neuroscience: microcircuits to behavior"
BRAIN category: Understanding Neural Circuits

Dr. Seung and colleagues will use state-of-the-art genetic, electrophysiological, and imaging tools to map the connectivity of the retina, the light-sensing tissue in the eye. The goal is to delineate all the retina's neural circuits and define their specific roles in visual perception and behavior.

Calcium sensors for molecular fMRI

PI: Alan Jasanoff
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: "Calcium sensors for molecular fMRI"
BRAIN category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Jasanoff's team will synthesize calcium-sensing contrast agents that will allow functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to reveal activity of individual brain cells

Next generation imaging in vivo

Principal Investigator: Elly Nedivi
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyTitle: "Next generation high-throughput random access imaging, in vivo"
BRAIN category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Nedivi's team proposes a new imaging technology to simultaneously record activity at each of the thousands of synapses, or communication points, on a single neuron.

Neural circuits in zebrafish

Principal Investigator: Florian Engert
Program in Neuroscience @Harvard
Title: "Neural circuits in zebrafish: form, function and plasticity"
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Engert's team will combine a wide array of cutting-edge neuroscience techniques to watch the entire brain activity of a see-through fish while it swims, and to make detailed maps of its brain circuitry.

Neural circuit dynamics in working memory

Principal Investigator: Carlos D Brody
Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Title: "Mechanisms of neural circuit dynamics in working memory"
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Brody and his colleagues will study the underlying neuronal circuitry that contributes to short-term "working" memory, using tools to record circuit activity across many brain areas simultaneously while rodents run on a track-ball through virtual mazes projected onto a screen.

Patterned activity and codes for behavior

Principal Investigator: John Maunsell
Neuroscience at University of Chicago
Title: "The role of patterned activity in neuronal codes for behavior"
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Maunsell's team will explore how large populations of neurons process visual information, using a newly developed light stimulation technique to induce brain cell activity in the visual cortex of mice.

Crowd coding in the brain

Principal Investigator: Patrick Kanold
UMD Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
Title: "Crowd coding in the brain: 3D imaging and control of collective neuronal dynamics"
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Kanold and his team propose cutting edge methods to stimulate neurons at different depths in the auditory cortex, and will use new computational methods to understand complex interactions between neurons in mice while testing their ability to hear different sounds.

Optimization of 3-photon microscopy

Principal Investigator: Chris Xu
Cornell University
Title: "Optimization of 3-photon microscopy for Large Scale Recording in Mouse Brain"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Xu and his collaborators will build new lasers and lenses to use three-photon microscopy to watch neuronal activity far deeper inside the brain than currently possible.

Protein-based Voltage Probes

Principal Investigator: Vincent Allen Pieribone
Yale Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Title: "Development of Protein-based Voltage Probes"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Pieribone and his team will optimize fluorescent voltage probe technology, to allow scientists to measure the activity of thousands of neurons using only a camera and a microscope.

Protein voltage sensor imaging in vivo

Principal Investigator: Mark J Schnitzer
Stanford Neuroscience
Title: "Protein voltage sensors: kilohertz imaging of neural dynamics in behaving animals"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Schnitzer and his team have created a new system for developing optical voltage sensors, which will allow scientists to simultaneously record firing of large groups of neurons or electrical activity in precise locations inside of neurons, such as synapses.

Multi-area two-photon microscopy

Principal Investigator: Fritjof Helmchen
Zurich Brain Research Institute
Title: "Multi-area two-photon microscopy for revealing long-distance communication between multiple local brain circuits"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation – Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Helmchen and his colleagues propose a system to simultaneously record neuronal activity in four different areas of the neocortex and discover how brain cells in different regions interact during specific behaviors.

Electrophysiological Recording and Control

Principal Investigator: Albert Baldwin Goodell
Graymatter Research
Title: "Large-Scale Electrophysiological Recording and Optogenetic Control System"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Goodell and his colleagues aim to develop optrodes, which are implantable columns of lights and wires for simultaneous electrical recording of neurons and delivery of light flashes to multiple brain areas.

High-Density Recording Microelectrodes

PI: Tim Gardner, Laboratory of neural circuit formation
Institution: Boston University (Charles River Campus)
Title: "High-Density Recording and Stimulating Microelectrodes"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Gardner and his colleagues will develop ultrathin electrodes that minimize tissue damage and are designed for long-term recording of neural electrical activity.

Diamond Electrodes for Measurement

Principal Investigator: Kendall H Lee
Mayo Clinic Rochester
Title: "Neurotransmitter Absolute Concentration Determination with Diamond Electrode"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Kendall and his colleagues will develop diamond-coated electrodes to measure concentrations of the brain chemical dopamine more accurately and over long periods of time in the brain.

Genetic sensors for biogenic amines

Principal Investigator: Lin Tian
UC Davis Neuroscience
Title: " Genetically encoded sensors for the biogenic amines: watching neuromodulation in action"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Tian and her colleagues will create sensors that will allow researchers to see how molecules like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin regulate activity of neural circuits and behavior in living animals.

Modular systems measuring brain activity

Principal Investigator: Loren M Frank
Sandler Neurosciences Center, UC San Francisco
Title: " Modular systems for measuring and manipulating brain activity"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Frank and his colleagues will engineer a next-generation, all-in-one neural recording and stimulating system, which can simultaneously monitor thousands of neurons in the brain for several months while also delivering drugs, light or electrical pulses.

Deep Photoacoustic Tomography

Principal Investigator: Lihong Wang
Washington University
Title: "Fast High-Resolution Deep Photoacoustic Tomography of Action Potentials in Brains"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Wang and his collaborators will test a way to image the electrical activity of neurons deep inside the brain, using a variation on ultrasound imaging he invented called photoacoustic tomography.

Genetically encoded reporters

Principal Investigator: Kit S. Lam
UC Davis Center for Neuroscience
Title: "Genetically encoded reporters of integrated neural activity for functional mapping of neural circuitry"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Lam's team plans to develop fluorescent sensors that will mark ion channels, molecules that help control information flow in the brain, and enable scientists to observe the neurons that are activated during a specific behavior, such as running.

NIH Webpages

MRI Corticography (MRCoG)

Principal Investigator: David Alan Feinberg
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Title: "MRI Corticography (MRCoG): Micro-scale Human Cortical Imaging"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

To image the activity and connections of the brain's cortex on a micro scale – with dramatically higher resolution than existing scanners – Dr. Feinberg's group will employ high sensitivity MRI coils that focus exclusively on the brain's surface.

Genetic Sparse Labeling Mammalian Neuron

Principal Investigator: X. William Yang
UCLA Neuroscience
Title: "Novel Genetic Strategy for Sparse Labeling and Manipulation of Mammalian Neurons"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Yang's team will develop a new way to genetically target specific neurons, incorporating streamlined imaging and mapping methods that will enable the detection of sparse populations of cells that often elude existing methods.

Quantitative cell type-based mapping

Principal Investigator: Pavel Osten
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Title: "Towards quantitative cell type-based mapping of the whole mouse brain"
BRAIN Category: Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)

The Osten team will develop an automated system to image different types of brain cells and their connections in mice, to pinpoint differences between males and females, across the lifespan.

Skip to toolbar