The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research

NIH Announces BRAIN Initiative Public Meetings

Legislative Update
May 22, 2013

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has posted on its Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative Web page the upcoming dates for public meetings of its Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD), which will be held in San Francisco (May 29), New York City (June 26), and Boston (July 29). A fourth meeting, with a to-be-determined location, will be held in August.

On April 10, President Obama was joined by NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. in announcing proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 funding of $100 million for the Initiative, with $40 million from the NIH, $50 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and $20 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The federal government would partner with companies, foundations, and private research institutions that are already investing in relevant neuroscience research. On its Web site, the NIH describes the Initiative as follows:

By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. This picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information.

At a May 15 hearing of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, Dr. Collins was joined by Story Landis, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS, in describing the many benefits which could emerge from researching brain circuitry. “By understanding how the circuits that control movement, vision and hearing work, we will better understand the development of neurodegenerative diseases and how to potentially treat them,” said Dr. Landis.