Tank receives Brain Prize for advance in Microscopy

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.

Princeton University BRAIN Initiative Research highlighted by the National Science Foundation

Lords of the fruit flies: What goes into fruit fly courtship? It might seem like an odd question, but understanding its neural underpinnings--and studying the male-female interactions at the milliscale level--could help us better understand the complexities of social behavior. A Princeton University team--neuroscientist Mala Murthy and physicists William Bialek and Joshua Shaevitz--will stimulate recordings from individual neurons as the fruit flies (Drosophila) conduct complex courtship behaviors.

Pip Coen wins 2015 Elkins Award

Pip Coen, who received his Ph.D. from the PNI Neuroscience program in February with advisor Mala Murthy, has received the 2015 Elkins Award. This award is given every two years to the graduate student with the best Ph.D. thesis in the field of Drosophila Neurobiology. Pip will deliver the Elkins Memorial Lecture at the Neurobiology of Drosophila Conference at Cold Spring Harbor, NY on September 30th (http://meetings.cshl.edu/meetings.aspx?meet=dros&year=15).

Mysteries of the Brain: Perceiving Brain with Professor Sabine Kastner

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."

Pew Names Professor Lindy McBride as a Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences

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.

PNI Co-Director David W. Tank wins The Karl Spencer Lashley 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.

Advancing neuroscience by listening to fruit flies.

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.”

Yael Niv receives 2015 Troland Research Award

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. 

Two Princeton scientists revisit the mechanics of the action potential

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. 

Innovation funds awarded to support natural sciences, humanities projects and industry collaborations

Kai Li, the Paul M. Wythes '55 P86 and Marcia R. Wythes P86 Professor in Computer Science, and Sebastian Seung, professor of computer science and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, will collaborate with the Intel Corporation to speed up the computation time involved in deep learning, a form of machine learning with the capacity to tackle modeling of the brain and other complex systems.

The Attention Machine

A new brain-scanning technique could change the way scientists think about human focus.

Chasing Down an Immune Protein in the Brain Could Shed Light on Autism

Fifteen years ago, the proteins that Princeton neuroscientist Lisa Boulanger studies weren’t even thought to exist in the brain. Known as major histocompatibility complex class I, or MHCI proteins, they are essential for an adaptive immune response. The thought at the time was that the brain was an area of the body where the immune system wasn't active--it would be too dangerous if the immune system attacked neurons, cells that cannot be easily replaced. Instead, Boulanger found, MHCI proteins have unexpected, different jobs in the brain, where they are critical for the establishment of normal brain circuits.