MAR 19, 2014 08:00 AM PDT

BRAIN Initiative Panel Discussion - science overview

Presented At Neuroscience
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  • Emery N. Brown, MD, PhD Warren M. Zapol Prof. of Anaesthesia Harvard Medical School, Prof. of Computational Neuroscience MIT, Director, Neuroscience Statistics Research Laboratory, Anestheti
      Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D. is the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, a Professor of Computational Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Brown is the Director of the Neuroscience Statistics Research Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the co-director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and an associate director of M.I.T.'s Institute for Medical Engineering & Science.[1] Brown also works as a doctor in the department of anesthesiology, critical care and pain medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.[2] In 2007, Brown was one of the recipients of the National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award.[3] Brown is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Bill Newsome is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He received a B.S. degree in physics from Stetson University and a Ph.D. in biology from the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Newsome is a leading investigator in systems and cognitive neuroscience. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception and simple forms of decision making. Among his honors are the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics, the Spencer Award, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Dan David Prize of Tel Aviv University, the Karl Spencer Lashley Award of the American Philosophical Society, and the Champalimaud Vision Award. His distinguished lectureships include the 13th Annual Marr Lecture at the University of Cambridge the 9th Annual Brenda Milner Lecture at McGill University, and most recently, the Distinguished Visiting Scholar lectures at the Kavli Institute of Brain and Mind, UCSD. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 2000, and to the American Philosophical Society in 2011. Dr. Justin Sanchez joined DSO as a program manager in 2013. At DARPA, Dr. Sanchez will explore neurotechnology, brain science and systems neurobiology. Before coming to DARPA, Dr. Sanchez was an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience at the University of Miami, and a faculty member of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. He directed the Neuroprosthetics Research Group, where he oversaw development of neural-interface medical treatments and neurotechnology for treating paralysis and stroke, and for deep brain stimulation for movement disorders, Tourettes syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Dr. Sanchez has developed new methods for signal analysis and processing techniques for studying the unknown aspects of neural coding and functional neurophysiology. His experience covers in vivo electrophysiology for brain-machine interface design in animals and humans where he studied the activity of single neurons, local field potentials and electrocorticogram in the cerebral cortex and from deep brain structures of the motor and limbic system. He has published more than 75 peer-reviewed papers, holds seven patents in neuroprosthetic design and authored a book on the design of brain-machine interfaces. He has served as a reviewer for the NIH Neurotechnology Study Section, DoDs Spinal Cord Injury Research Program and the Wellcome Trust, and as an associate editor of multiple journals of biomedical engineering and neurophysiology. Dr. Sanchez holds Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Engineering degrees in Biomedical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science, all from the University of Florida. Terrence Sejnowski is a pioneer in computational neuroscience and his goal is to understand the principles that link brain to behavior. His laboratory uses both experimental and modeling techniques to study the biophysical properties of synapses and neurons and the population dynamics of large networks of neurons. New computational models and new analytical tools have been developed to understand how the brain represents the world and how new representations are formed through learning algorithms for changing the synaptic strengths of connections between neurons. He has published over 300 scientific papers and 12 books, including The Computational Brain, with Patricia Churchland. He received his PhD in physics from Princeton University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. He was on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University and he now holds the Francis Crick Chair at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and is also a Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego, where he is co-director of the Institute for Neural Computation and co-director of the NSF Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center. He is the President of the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) Foundation, which organizes an annual conference attended by over 1000 researchers in machine learning and neural computation and is the founding editor-in-chief of Neural Computation published by the MIT Press. An investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, he is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He has received many honors, including the NSF Young Investigators Award, the Wright Prize for interdisciplinary research from the Harvey Mudd College, the Neural Network Pioneer Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Hebb Prize from the International Neural Network Society. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2008, to the National Academy of Sciences in 2010, and to the National Academy of Engineering in 2011. He is one of only 10 living persons to be a member of all 3 national academies.


    The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. Long desired by researchers seeking new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, this picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought. (NIH website)
    The NIH Directors working group identified circuit-level analysis of the nervous system as the primary research goal of the NIH BRAIN Initiative, mapping the circuits of the brain, measuring their activity patterns within the circuits and understanding how their interplay creates unique cognitive and behavioral capabilities.
    In the presentation format the invited distinguished speakers and panelists will give an overview of the BRAIN Initiative, its research goals and challenges to achieve them. In president Obamas words this is one of the Grand Challenges of the 21st century. Presentations will be followed by interactive moderated panel discussions.

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