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How Obama’s BRAIN Initiative Could Change Brain Science
Richard L. Huganir, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Department of Neuroscience
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Co-Director, Brain Science Institute

Dr. Richard Huganir

"The BRAIN Initiative will accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.  These technologies will open new doors to explore how the brain records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves vast quantities of information, and shed light on the complex links between brain function and behavior." states The White House Office of the Press Secretary.

On April 2, Dr. Richard Huganir, the director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, visited the White House to participate in the announcement of the new Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.

The project is aimed at mapping the activity of every neuron in the human brain. Huganir’s inclusion in the event recognizes his extensive contributions to our understanding of how learning and memory work.

Dr. Richard Huganir is a Professor and Director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience, as well as an Investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Brain Science Institute. Dr. Huganir received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell University in 1982 where he performed his thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Efraim Racker.  He was a postdoctoral fellow with the Nobel Laureate, Dr. Paul Greengard, at Yale University School of Medicine from 1982-1984. Dr. Huganir then moved to the Rockefeller University where he was an Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology from 1984-1988.  Dr. Huganir moved to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1988 as an Associate Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuroscience. Dr. Huganir became the Director or the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience in 2006.

Dr. Huganir’s career has focused on synapses, the connections between nerve cells, in the brain. Dr. Huganir’s general approach has been to study molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate neurotransmitter receptors. Dr. Huganir’s studies have shown that the regulation of receptor function is a major mechanism for the regulation of neuronal excitability and connectivity in the brain and is critical for many higher brain processes including learning and memory and the proper development of the brain. Dr. Huganir has served as Treasurer of the Society for Neuroscience and received the Young Investigator Award and the Julius Axelrod Award from the Society for Neuroscience, the Santiago Grisolia Award and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and member of the Institute of Medicine.  Learn more about Dr. Huganir

Additional Information:

White House Press Relaese on the BRAIN Intiative

White House Blog - "BRAIN Initiative Challenges Researchers to Unlock Mysteries of Human Mind"

Remarks by the President on the BRAIN Initiative and American Innovation

NIH Brain Initiative

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