Our People—Five ASCB Members to Receive BRAIN Grants


Purkinje cells (red) in the brain Photo credit: Yinghua Ma and Timothy Vartanian at Cornell University

NIH announced Tuesday the recipients of the first round of research grants toward understanding the brain as part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. $46 million in funds was awarded to over 100 investigators who proposed developing new technologies to accelerate neuroscience research. The $46 million from the NIH is part of a larger $300 million public-private effort by the Obama Administration to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. Among the winners of this round of grants were five ASCB members:

  • Alexander Schier of Harvard University is co-PI on a project that will comprehensively catalog and distinguish different cell types across species and brain regions using a new genetic screening method.
  • Joseph Ecker of the Salk Institute is lead PI on a project that plans to look at DNA methylation, an epigenetic modification that defines a cell’s identity, in mouse frontal cortex to help identify different cell types and understand their function.
  • Mark Bathe of Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) and Peng Yin of the Wyss Institute at Harvard are co-PIs on a project led by Edward Boyden of MIT that aims to discover the proteins within different kinds of synapses using a new technique called DNA-PAINT.
  • James Trimmer of the University of California, Davis is co-PI on a project that plans to map the neural circuitry that is activated during specific animal behaviors by developing fluorescent sensors that will mark ion channels, proteins that propagate signals in the brain.

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