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A federal push to further brain research

Updated 3:45 PM: In a just-published story from the Stanford News Service, writer Bjorn Carey outlines the roles that two other Stanford scientists - Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, and Mark Schnitzer, PhD - will play in this project.

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10:57 AM: As reported in the New York Times and elsewhere this morning, President Obama has announced the launch of an initiative, called Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (or BRAIN), "to invent and refine new technologies to understand the human brain." As described by the Times, a Stanford neurobiologist is one of the people heavily involved in the project:

A working group at the N.I.H., described by the officials as a “dream team,” and led by Cori Bargmann of Rockefeller University and William Newsome of Stanford University, will be charged with coming up with a plan, a time frame, specific goals and cost estimates for future budgets.

The initiative exists as part of a vast landscape of neuroscience research supported by billions of dollars in federal money. But Dr. Newsome said that he thought a small amount of money applied in the right way could nudge neuroscience in a new direction.

“The goal here is a whole new playing field, whole new ways of thinking,” he said. “We are really out to catalyze a paradigm shift.”

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