Multi-Million Dollar Grant May Help Scientists Understand Untold Things About The Human Brain

In recent years, the study of the nervous system has gained more traction and popularity. Neuroscience, as it relates to illness and health, is experiencing rapid growth as a field (per research article). With the potential to advance our understanding of the brain and the nervous system — which can lead to better health — neuroscience aspires to tackle issues brought on by many conditions ranging from behavioral and developmental issues to mental health, degenerative diseases, and traumatic brain injury, explains the National Institutes of Health.

A major catalyst towards the rapid growth of neuroscience, particularly brain research, came from former President of the United States Barack Obama. In 2013, Obama announced the BRAIN Initiative, which launched with $100 million dollars in funding, according to The White House. To date, the program is a multi-billion dollar effort that will give a "gold mine" of information for researchers working on clinical neuroscience by 2026 (per Nature). In fact, recently the National Institutes of Health decided to invest more money into brain research (via Science).

An atlas of the human brain

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) BRAIN Initiative recently launched a $500 million dollar project — called the BRAIN Initiative Cell Atlas Network (BICAN) — to map the human brain at a cellular level (via Science). In fact, $126 million of those funding dollars are going towards the Center for Multiomic Human Brain Cell Atlas over the course of five years (per Medical News Today). The new research center is currently being directed by Joe Ecker, a professor at the Salk Institute, according to KPBS. The project will study an estimated 30 human brains over the next five years from those willing to donate their brains to science. Of those 30 brains, over 1,500 samples from 50 regions will be studied to better understand how the brain changes with age, says Medical News Today.

As far as the future of brain research goes, growth is trending upwards. Notably, the NIH plans on spending upwards of $5.2 billion dollars on the BRAIN Initiative by the year 2026 (per Science).