What are the principles that guide curiosity-based exploration? What is the neural circuitry that implements curiosity? How can insights related to the phenomenon of curiosity improve the education and capabilities of humans and artificially intelligent agents? To address these questions, Isaac Kauvar will take an interdisciplinary approach — positioned at the intersection of computer science, neuroscience, and psychology.
Vibrotactile stimulation provides powerful somatosensory and proprioceptive input to the nervous system.
Many of the largest, most complex genes in the genome are enriched in the brain and are frequently mutated or misregulated in neurological diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorders, and Rett syndrome.
Multicellular organisms consist of numerous cell types with specialized biological functions. To understand such complex biological systems, genetic access to each cell type is needed for functional analysis and manipulations.
Myelin is the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibers to accelerate communication between different parts of the nervous system. Damage to myelin occurs in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which compromises nerve signaling and impairs motor and cognitive function.
Optimization of the African killifish platform for rapid drug screening for aggregate based neurodegenerative diseases
Remote reliable measurements of movement using a Bluetooth enabled engineered keyboard solve an unmet need in neurological diseases
This team is developing a device that will enable accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease via telemedicine. They initially introduced the technology of Quantitative DigitoGraphy (QDG) using a repetitive alternating finger tapping (RAFT) task on a musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) keyboard and will use Neuroscience: Translate funding for the next stage of device development.
Sensorineural hearing loss is an increasingly prevalent condition that causes disability to over a third of US adults aged over 65. We are developing a breakthrough device to restore high-frequency hearing that preserves residual hearing through a reversible and minimally invasive approach.
A minimally-invasive intracranial pressure microsensor (mICP) for long-term, continuous ambulatory monitoring
Developing brain organoids and assembloids – three dimensional brain tissues grown in the lab – to study human brain development, evolution and neuropsychiatric disorders.
Creating new tools to help neuroscientists bridge the study of genes and proteins operating in the brain to the study of brain circuits and systems, which could lead to a deeper understanding of brain function and disease.
Elucidating the development of the infant’s brain structure & function.
The NeuroPlant Initiative aims to leverage a botanical armamentarium to manipulate the brain — by building a pipeline to explore chemicals synthesized in plants as potential new treatments for neurological disease and as a window into the chemistry of the brain.
Nanoscale to circuit-level computational and experimental studies of the biophysical mechanism of ultrasound-mediated mechanical neurostimulation
Although ultrasonic neurostimulation has the potential to outperform traditional treatments for many debilitating neurological disorders, it remains unclear how ultrasound affects nervous system activity on the molecular level.
In a process called tiling, homeostatic microglia homogenously organize in a grid-like fashion to achieve efficient surveillance of the brain. The molecular mechanisms underlying tiling are unknown. I hypothesize that microglia use cell-surface proteins to sense density of neighboring microglia, thereby contributing to constant cell-to-cell distances.
We propose a novel framework for efficient Bayesian cognition called Inference via Abstraction (IvA), which learns to approximate complex world models with simpler abstractions that capture main dependencies, but leverage structure in the prior distribution for efficient inference. We instantiate IvA with a combination of probabilistic graphical models and deep neural networks.
Many neurological injuries and diseases such as brainstem stroke and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) result in severe speech impairment, drastically reducing quality of life. Recent progress in brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has allowed these individuals to communicate, but performance is still far lower than typical spoken conversation speeds.
Rapid brain-wide optogenetic screening with a noninvasive, dynamically programmable in vivo light source
We will comprehensively define the gene network associated with mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson's disease using a cutting-edge technology, CRISPR, to understand how these nerve cells die in PD and how we can reverse the cell death to treat the disease.
We propose a new magnetic sensor that is sensitive to picoTesla-scale fields, a localized magnetic stimulator with small form-factor, and a seamless integration of both systems for applications in experimental and clinical neuroscience.
Maternal infection is linked to increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. This proposal examines how virus-associated cytokines, specifically interferons, affect human neurons modeled in brain organoids or studied directly in fetal brain samples.