David Kleinfeld awarded prestigious BRAIN flagship grant from the National Institutes of Health
David Kleinfeld (Physics, Neurobiology, and ECE) and his colleagues Martin Deschenes (Laval), Yoav Freund (CSE) and Martyn Goulding (Salk and Neurobiology) were awarded a prestigious BRAIN flagship grant from the National Institutes of Health. The White House, with Chancellor Khosla in attendance, will announce the awardees on 30 September. The focus of the UCSD-based team of scientists, whose grant is titled "Revealing the connectivity and functionality of brain stem circuits", is to deconstruct the neuronal circuits in the brainstem that control orofacial and exploratory actions. These circuits underlie complex motor synergies, such as the coordination of breathing with tongue, jaw, larynx, and neck movements that underlie vocalization. The team will exploit the advent of molecular and genetic tools to mark cells based on their lineage, phenotype, and connections, and use methods from machine learning and image processing to generate anatomical wiring diagrams for the brainstem circuits. Functional and theoretical studies with build on these newly determined wiring diagrams. A hallmark of nervous systems is that computations can occur autonomously, yet must interact synergistically. The combined anatomical, behavioral, functional, and computational studies from this project will reveal the control strategy used by the brain to combine motor actions into behaviors.