Worldwide initiatives to advance brain research

Sten Grillner, Nancy Ip, Christof Koch, Walter Koroshetz, Hideyuki Okano, Miri Polachek, Mu-ming Poo, Terrence J Sejnowski
2016 Nature Neuroscience  
The human brain is civilization's most precious resource. Investment in brain science is, therefore, an investment in the future of society, and nations must cooperate to understand, protect, and foster optimal development of the brain. To cultivate global brain resources, the G-Science Academies propose four Objectives, to be pursued in parallel, where strategic support for neuroscience will benefit society. (1) Fundamental research with international collaboration; (2) Global programs for the
more » ... diagnosis, prevention and treatment of brain disorders; (3) Theoretical modeling of the brain and the development of brain-based artificial intelligence (AI); and (4) Integration of neuroscience with the social and behavioral sciences to improve education and life management as components of a brain-aware society. Understanding the brain and how its functions are expressed in behavior is a complex scientific endeavor rivaling the search for the origin of the universe. The path to treating brain disorders, developing brain-based AI, and promoting a brain-aware society cannot bypass the difficult challenge of fundamental research on brain structure and function. Basic brain science has made spectacular recent progress built upon advances in genomics and protein chemistry to identify genes and molecules, optical and transgenic tools to observe and manipulate neural circuits, and multimodal functional brain imaging to study human cognition. However, a remaining bottleneck is the lack of technologies to study the brain at a resolution sufficient to enable understanding of its complex neuronal network in animal models and humans. Such technologies, in association with computational tools, would enable a clearer view of brain functions to facilitate a deeper understanding of cognition and reveal the core mechanisms of brain disorders. To achieve this goal, systematic approaches are needed to complement and extend research in single laboratories. Large-scale brain science projects are being initiated in many countries along with other biomedical research initiatives (e.g. next-generation sequencing, p r e c i s i o n m e d i c i n e , a n d b i o b a n k i n g ) t o d e v e l o p n e w technologies, perform brain network mapping and recording, and establish neuroinformatics platforms [1]. However, these projects require ex tensive international coordination of technology, personnel, and data to economize and accelerate scientific progress. A successful example of a multilateral global research organization is the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) founded by the initiative of Japan. Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Brazil
doi:10.1038/nn.4371 pmid:27571190 pmcid:PMC6047900 fatcat:zh5q477jmndyfnymeekns3hbsu