Decoding and Modulation of Human Language

Principal Investigators: Behnaam Aazhang, PhD – Rice and Nitin Tandon, MD - UT Health
Title: Micro-scale Real-time Decoding and Closed-loop Modulation of Human Language
BRAIN Category: Neuroengineering and Brain-inspired concepts and design

The engineering objective is to develop biocompatible microchips to vastly enhance our insight into language and other cognitive processes and learning.

qEEG in freely behaving people

Principal Investigator: Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal, University of Houston
Title: Assaying neural individuality and variation in freely behaving people based on qEEG
BRAIN Category: Individuality and Variation

The goals of this research are to uncover neural signals associated with the passive and interactive perception/production of art and to assess the long-term stability of neural activity acquired via quantitative electroencephalography (or qEEG).

Nanomagnetic Stimulation Capability

Principal Investigators: Sydney Cash, MD/PhD – Mass General and Nian X. Sun, PhD – Northeastern
Title: Nanomagnetic Stimulation Capability for Neural Investigation and Control
BRAIN Category: Neuroengineering and Brain-inspired concepts and design

Abstract not yet available.

Integrating neural interfaces & machine intelligence for prosthetics

Principal Investigators: Charles Liu, PhD - USC; Kapil Katyal, PhD - JHU; Richard Andersen, PhD - Caltech
Title: Integrating neural interfaces and machine intelligence for advanced neural prosthetics
BRAIN Category: Neuroengineering and Brain-inspired concepts and design

This collaborative project will decode high-level cognitive actions from neural signals recorded in the parietal cortex of a tetraplegic human, then carry out those intents using a smart robotic prosthesis. Experimental results will be used to construct BMI control algorithms optimized to decode these cognitive signals.

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.

Remote regulation of neural activity

Principal Investigator: Sarah Stanley
Rockefeller University
Title: "Remote regulation of neural activity"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

The Stanley team will focus on the development of tools to instantly and precisely target cell activity deep in the brain using radio waves, nanoparticles and genetically modified viruses.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Drivers for neuron gene expression

Principal Investigator: Oliver Hobert
Columbia Neuroscience
Title: "Developing drivers for neuron type-specific gene expression"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Hobert and colleagues will create a highly selective technology for experimentally manipulating genes in neurons, by tapping into the regulatory machinery of individual cell types.

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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