The brain is the ultimate big-data problem. Its billions of neurons give rise to numerous abilities, such as making decisions, interpreting color and even recognizing your best friend.
The human brain is perhaps the greatest remaining mystery in the biological sciences, and despite decades (centuries, even) of research, we are only scratching the surface. But new high-tech tools and a healthy dose of funding via the Obama administration's BRAIN initiative mean neuroscience and a hundred related fields will be getting the attention they deserve. NBC Learn, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, has documented this big push in its new series, "Mysteries of the Brain."
The Pew Charitable Trusts today named 22 promising early-career researchers as Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences. The recipients join the ranks of more than 600 outstanding scientists who have been selected as Pew scholars in the 30 years since the program’s inception and whose careers have been dedicated to bold scientific discoveries. Many Pew scholars have also been recognized with prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, the Shaw Prize, and the Lasker Award.
The Karl Spencer Lashley Award was established in 1957 by a gift from Dr. Lashley, a member of the Society and a distinguished neuroscientist and neuropsychologist. The award is to be made in recognition of work on the integrative neuroscience of behavior. At the time of his death, he was Emeritus Research Professor of Neuropsychology at Harvard University and Emeritus Director of the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology in Florida. Lashley's contemporaries considered his experimental work as daring and original.
Mala Murthy spends a good bit of her time studying fruit flies—specifically, the songs male fruit flies create during courtship, when they stand near a female and vibrate an extended wing.
“The fly is doing something really complicated,” explains Murthy, an assistant professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. “He’s measuring how fast his partner is moving, how far away she is, and constantly modulating what he sings to best match her movement.”
The Troland Research Award was established by a trust created in 1931 by the bequest of Leonard T. Troland. Niv’s work has focused on how the brain sorts information, effectively parsing complex environments into relevant, bite-sized chunks that can be acted upon efficiently.
Congratulations to Matt Panichello, second-year neuroscience graduate student in Tim Buschman and Nick Turk-Browne’s groups, who has been awarded a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.
Congratulations to Samuel Ritter, second-year neuroscience graduate student in Matt Botvinick’s group, who has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and congratulations also to Anne Mennen, who received an Honorable Mention.
The action potential is widely understood as an electrical phenomenon. However, a long experimental history has documented the existence of co-propagating mechanical signatures. Ahmed El Hady from the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Benjamin Machta from the Lewis-Sigler institute have proposed a theoretical model to explain these phenomenon which they term Action Waves.
David Tank, the Henry L. Hillman Professor in Molecular Biology and Co-Director Princeton Neuroscience Institute, has been named one of four winners of the Brain Prize, an honor that recognizes scientists who have made outstanding contributions to brain research.