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J Neurosci. 2018 Jul 18;38(29):6427-6438. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3174-17.2018. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

The State of the NIH BRAIN Initiative.

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National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


The BRAIN Initiative arose from a grand challenge to "accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought." The BRAIN Initiative is a public-private effort focused on the development and use of powerful tools for acquiring fundamental insights about how information processing occurs in the central nervous system (CNS). As the Initiative enters its fifth year, NIH has supported >500 principal investigators, who have answered the Initiative's challenge via hundreds of publications describing novel tools, methods, and discoveries that address the Initiative's seven scientific priorities. We describe scientific advances produced by individual laboratories, multi-investigator teams, and entire consortia that, over the coming decades, will produce more comprehensive and dynamic maps of the brain, deepen our understanding of how circuit activity can produce a rich tapestry of behaviors, and lay the foundation for understanding how its circuitry is disrupted in brain disorders. Much more work remains to bring this vision to fruition, and the National Institutes of Health continues to look to the diverse scientific community, from mathematics, to physics, chemistry, engineering, neuroethics, and neuroscience, to ensure that the greatest scientific benefit arises from this unique research Initiative.

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