NIH representatives from the BRAIN Initiative will be presenting an overview of the NIH BRAIN Initiative and describing funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) supporting impacts in human neuroscience. Guided by BRAIN 2025 A Scientific Vision, we have designed a portfolio of “Integrated Approaches” FOAs that support research in functional systems neuroscience to produce a dynamic picture of the brain that will show how individual cells and complex neural circuits support processes such as sensation, perception, attention, reasoning, intention, decision-making, emotion, navigation, communication, and homeostasis. These FOAs emphasize the use of cutting-edge methods of activation and recording to understand a quantifiable behavior at the level of circuit mechanisms. As such, research approaches are expected to include the functional units of circuits – that is, the activity patterns of ensembles of cells with sub-second temporal resolution, or finer. In addition, under the premise that model-driven experimental design and computational approaches can facilitate high-quality science, all these FOAs encourage or require sophisticated quantitative methodology.
The NIH BRAIN Initiative is also committed to extending its “Integrated Approaches” within investigative human neuroscience. Invasive surgical procedures provide the unique ability to record and stimulate neurons within precisely localized brain structures. Therefore, we offer dedicated FOAs that seek to assemble diverse, integrated, multi-disciplinary teams that cross boundaries of interdisciplinary collaboration to investigate high-impact questions in human neuroscience. Awardees participate in a consortium work group to identify consensus standards of practice, including neuroethical considerations, to collect and provide data for ancillary studies, and to standardize data for dissemination among the wider scientific community. In addition to these human study FOAs, we also support large, multi-component programs that encourage multi-species and multi-scale approaches to investigate fundamental questions in systems neuroscience. One version of these team-research programs specifically allows comparative, human research components as mechanistic studies into the special opportunities offered by direct access to intra-cranial human recording and stimulating.
Thus, we are pleased here to feature some of the NIH BRAIN awardees in human neuroscience, research tool development, and neuroethics.