SfN Members Showcase Their BRAIN Initiative Funded Research on Capitol Hill
Neuroscientists from around the country gathered on Capitol Hill for The BRAIN Fair on April 12 to celebrate five years of investment in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative. SfN co-sponsored the event with the American Brain Coalition, The Kavli Foundation, the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, and the Simons Foundation.
Richard Huganir, SfN president and director of the Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute at Johns Hopkins University, opened the event by honoring the progress scientists have made thanks to the BRAIN initiative and highlighted the innovative tools that continue to transform our ability to study the brain. Huganir also noted that this type of investment encourages cross-disciplinary research across fields, which will help to accelerate scientific and medical progress.
Throughout the event neuroscientists showcased their BRAIN Initiative-funded research through interactive exhibits. Exhibits included a table of human brains that allowed attendees from various Congressional offices — many of whom had not previously seen such examples — to observe the difference between a healthy and diseased brain, as well as games that revealed how our brain works with our senses to interpret the world around us. Presenters also included neuroscientists who are mapping the brain and companies that are developing new tools for imaging and photonics.
“The BRAIN Initiative is revolutionizing our field; it’s allowing us to do things that we dreamed of but did not have the resources to do,” said SfN member Byron Yu, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Using brain computer interfaces he is uncovering how the brain learns and relearns everyday skills.
SfN member Flavio Frohlich, associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was also at the BRAIN Fair highlighting his research. He seeks to learn how to speak the language of the brain and use that knowledge to treat severe mental illness. “With the help of the BRAIN Initiative, we’ve developed novel noninvasive brain stimulation paradigms that target brain rhythms. We actually just completed the first clinical trials using this new technology and have seen that we can restore these brain rhythms and patients actually do get better.”
The BRAIN Initiative will run through at least 2026, providing researchers with the resources needed to study the brain and unlock discoveries. This continued investment will allow the BRAIN Initiative to advance its goal of deepening our understanding of the inner workings of the human mind and improving how we treat, prevent, and cure disorders of the brain, which will improve the lives of people across the world.