Brody, Seung among first NIH BRAIN Initiative awards

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Princeton University faculty members Carlos Brody, a professor of molecular biology, and Sebastian Seung, a professor of computer science, are among the first group of researchers worldwide selected by the National Institutes of Health to receive an overall $46 million in funds related to the federal BRAIN Initiative. Brody and Seung are both affiliated with the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI). Announced in 2013, the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative aims to map the activity of all the brain's neurons.

Brody will lead a $1.02 million study of the underlying neuronal circuitry that contributes to short-term "working" memory, using tools to record circuit activity across many brain areas simultaneously. He will work with Seung; William Bialek, the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics; David Tank, the Henry L. Hillman Professor in Molecular Biology and co-director of PNI; Samuel Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and PNI; and Ilana Witten, an assistant professor of psychology and PNI.

Seung and his collaborators will receive $1.27 million to use the help of "citizen scientists" — via an online video game he developed called EyeWire — to map how light is transformed into nerve signals by the circuits of the retina, the light-sensing tissue in the eye.