An October 23rd National Institutes of Health news release detailed a new mission to take inventory of what’s physically inside our brains. The NIH BRAIN Initiative is a $250 million project that consists of a network of integrated centers, collaborating laboratories, and data resources. These groups are funded by 11 grants that make up roughly $50 million annually over a five-year period. The goal is to solve the mysteries of brain disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease by learning about the different types of cells in the brain.
NIH Director Francis S. Collins said, “Before we can fully understand how our brains work, we need to understand how the parts work. Making molecular, anatomical, and functional data about brain cells available to the broad research community will speed our understanding of how cells and circuits are organized, revealing the rules of communication within the world’s most complex known organ.”