Lasers and neurons: understanding how the brain works

Professor John Maunsell, director of the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology and Human Behavior at the University of Chicago, has been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. This funding is part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative (BRAIN) launched by United States President Obama in 2013 that contributes in finding treatment for brain disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism or Alzheimer’s. Professor Maunsell and his team will use the funding to develop a new technology that stimulates individual neurons, which will allow the scientists to study brain functions with an unprecedented precision. All decisions and movements involve millions of neurons, so this new tool is promising advancements in mapping brain function patterns. The goal is to understand how healthy brains work and which parts of the brain are affected when the subject has a severe brain injury or a brain disorder.


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