The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reportedly provided a five-year grant worth USD 25 million to the La Jolla based Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California. As per reports, this funding has been provided with an aim to encourage substantial number of research programs for its brain-mapping initiative.
Scientists from the University of California San Diego, The Salk Institute, and University of Southern California have been involved in extensive research for systematic identification & listing of brain cell types of mammals. As per the officials of the Salk Institute, the study on brain mapping, for which it has been provided adequate funding, is expected to deliver an in-depth knowledge of the human brain. The Salk president has been quoted stating that the NIH funding will also help in improving the understanding of brain dysfunctionalities such as mental disorders and degeneration of brain cells caused due to Alzheimer’s.
Till date, researchers at The Salk Institute have not discovered an apt method to genetically mark human cell types. To overcome this limitation and expand their knowledge horizon on the functioning of the brain, sources claim that The Salk Group is planning to carry out a series of clinical tests on mice to identify and list the type of brain cells with the help of molecular signature. Experts state that this move would enable them to relate the brain cell types with its inputs and outputs. The project, also referred as The Center for Epigenomics of the Mouse Brain Atlas, requires the collection of the information from more than hundred regions of the mouse brain to determine the brain anatomy of the other related species.
The BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®) initiative had been launched in 2013 by the NIH for providing impetus to neuroscience research activities, while simultaneously helping researchers to find cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, schizophrenia, traumatic brain damage, and autism. As per reports, NIH’s BRAIN initiative funding for 2017 is slated to reach USD 260 million, even as the association declares 110 new awards amounting to USD 169 million.