Unseen Ideas #1: NeuroPixel probes - Making sense of the 70 billion neurons in the brain. The human brain is the most complex object in the universe. Decades of research, billions of pounds of funding but we still don’t know how decisions are made, or how emotion is regulated. To begin to understand the complexities of the brain, we need to measure countless single neurons, all over the brain, at the same time.
NeuroPixel Probes are tiny, super-sensitive electrodes, that can record the pulse of multiple single neurons, from multiple brain regions. The probes were developed through a collaboration, led by Tim Harris at HHMI Janelia Research Campus, funded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Gatsby Charitable Foundation, Allen Institute for Brain Science and Wellcome. Neuropixels will revolutionise the way we study the brain.
Matteo Carandini is a neuroscientist and Wellcome Investigator who will lead a team in the next phase of release of these probes.
Neuropixel probes will be used by people like Anne Churchland at the International Brain Lab. The International Brain lab is a “virtual lab” that brings together 21 leading neuroscience groups from around the world. Neuroscientists will work together to understand a single behaviour in mice. This novel approach will allow greater insight into learning and decision making than any single lab could achieve alone. It’s one of the first steps to identifying the brain network dysfunctions that underlie mental health disorders. This project is funded by the Simons Foundation and Wellcome.
Wellcome supports the work of people like Matteo and initiatives such as the International Brain Laboratory because only by creating new knowledge can we understand how things work, build on that knowledge and use it to improve health for everyone.
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