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.

Ultrasonic neuromodulation in vivo

PI: Doris Ying Tsao
California Institute of Technology
Title: "Dissecting human brain circuits in vivo using ultrasonic neuromodulation"
BRAIN category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

In rodents, monkeys and eventually humans, Dr. Tsao's team will explore use of non-invasive, high resolution ultrasound to impact neural activity deep in the brain and modify behavior.

Enhancers define cortical interneuron types

Principal Investigator: John L. R. Rubenstein
UCSF Neuroscience
Title: "Identification of enhancers whose activity defines cortical interneuron types"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Rubenstein and colleagues plan to identify enhancer molecules specific to particular types of interneurons – that relay neural signals – and use this information to profile distinct cell types and new ways to manipulate genes.

Holographic optogenetics and olfactory coding

Principal Investigator: Dmitry Rinberg
NYU Neuroscience Institute
Title: "Behavioral readout of spatiotemporal codes dissected by holographic optogenetics"
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Rinberg's team aims to understand how the brain turns odors into nerve signals by activating and recording neurons in the olfactory bulbs of mice as they detect a variety of odors.

Optogenetic toolkit for control of cells

PI: Gregory Hannon, Hannon Lab
Institution: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Title: "An optogenetic toolkit for the interrogation and control of single cells."
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Hannon's group will develop optogenetic techniques that use pulses of light to control genes and isolate proteins in specific cell types in the brain for molecular studies.

Activity measurement at single cell

Principal Investigator: Craig Forest
Georgia Institute of Technology
Title: "In-vivo circuit activity measurement at single cell, sub-threshold resolution"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Forest's team will use a newly developed robot guided technique to measure precise changes in electrical activity from individual neurons that are connected over long distances across the brain, to understand how these connections change when our brains go into different states, such as sleeping and waking.

Dreadd2.0: A Chemogenetic Toolkit

Principal Investigator: Bryan L Roth
UNC Neuroscience
Title: " Dreadd2.0: An Enhanced Chemogenetic Toolkit"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Roth and colleagues will build second generation technology that uses artificial neurotransmitters and receptors to manipulate brain activity simultaneously across select cells and pathways to understand their functions and potentially treat brain disorders.

Ultrasound tech for degenerative diseases

"Ultrasound technology could treat degenerative brain diseases"
Science Nation – April 2, 2014

Elisa Konofagou, a bioengineer at Columbia University, believes ultrasound technology could become be a vital component in treating and perhaps curing degenerative brain diseases such as Cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. One big problem is associated with the blood/brain barrier. Konofagou believes ultrasound waves could be one key to turning the blood/brain barrier on and off.

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

3D Holography for Optogenetic Manipulation

Principal Investigator: Serge Picaud
Pierre and Marie Curie University
Title: "Three Dimensional Holography for Parallel Multi-target Optogenetic Circuit Manipulation"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Picaud's team will continue its development of holographic imaging to use lasers to induce the natural electrical activity of neurons and test theories of how circuits produce behaviors in a range of animal models.

Optical control of synaptic transmission

Principal Investigator: Richard Kramer
UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Title: " Optical control of synaptic transmission for in vivo analysis of brain circuits and behavior"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Kramer's team will develop light-triggered chemical compounds that selectively activate or inhibit neurotransmitter receptors on neurons, to precisely control the signals sent between brain cells in behaving animals.

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.

Modular nanophotonic probes

Principal Investigator: Michael Roukes
Caltech Neuroscience
Title: "Modular nanophotonic probes for dense neural recording at single-cell resolution"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Roukes and his team propose to build ultra-dense, light-emitting and -sensing probes for optogenetics, which could simultaneously record the electrical activity of thousands of neurons in any given region of the brain.

Optogenetic mapping of synaptic activity

Principal Investigator: John Yu-Luen Lin
Neuroscience at UCSD
Title: "Optogenetic mapping of synaptic activity and control of intracellular signaling"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Lin's team will create molecules that, when they are triggered by a pulse of light, allow scientists to test for communication between neurons in specific circuits of the brain.

Optoelectrodes for Local Circuit Analysis

Principal Investigator: Euisik Yoon
UMich Neuroscience
Title: " Modular High-Density Optoelectrodes for Local Circuit Analysis"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

In this project, Dr. Yoon's team will make devices for optogenetics, a technique that enables scientists to turn neurons on and off with flashes of light, more precise and diverse by integrating multiple light sources in such a way as to enable the control of specific neuronal circuits.

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

Time-Reversal Optical Focusing

Principal Investigator: Changhuei Yang
Caltech Neuroscience
Title: Time-Reversal Optical Focusing for Noninvasive Optogenetics
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Yang's team plans to develop a light and sound system that will noninvasively shine lasers on individual cells deep within the brain and activate light-sensitive molecules to precisely guide neuronal firing.

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.

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