Obama proposes brain mapping project
US President Barack Obama has unveiled a new initiative to map the brain.
Speaking at the White House, he announced an initial $100m investment to shed light on how the brain works and provide insight into diseases such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
President Obama said initiatives like the Human Genome Project had transformed genetics; now he wants to do the same with the brain.
The project will be carried out by both public and private-sector scientists.
The project is called Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies – or BRAIN.
Mr Obama said: There is this enormous mystery waiting to be unlocked, and the BRAIN initiative will change that by giving scientists the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action and better understand how we think and learn and remember. And that knowledge will be transformative.”
The project will begin in 2014, and will involve the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The $100m investment will be used to develop new technologies to investigate how the billions of individual cells in the human brain interact.
Scientists will also focus on how the brain records, stores and processes information, and investigate how brain function is linked to behaviour.
Mr Obama said that while our understanding of the brain was growing, there was still a long way to go.
“As humans we can identify galaxies light years away, we can study particles smaller than the atom, but we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the 3lb of matter that sits between our ears,” he said.
The project will also involve partnerships with the private sector.
This includes the Allen Institute for Brain Science, which has committed to spending $60m annually on projects relating to the BRAIN initiative, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which has dedicated $28m.
An ethics committee will oversee the work.
perhaps start with your own barry..
“initiatives like the Human Genome Project had transformed genetics; now he wants to do the same with the brain.”
we can do anything..we are gods..
i note DARPA is involved..why would they be involved?
a freebie $100M to work out how to better control humans and influence them..sounds like a good idea..
“better understand how we think and learn and remember”
lets hope some good comes out of it..not just patents on the information..you know?