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$2.6 million to build versatile genetic toolkit for studying animal behavior

BY Diana Lutz, Washington University in St. Louis, and National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made 17 Next Generation Networks for Neuroscience (NeuroNex) awards to aid the research community as it pursues one of its grandest challenges: understanding the brain.

These projects will support the development of innovative, accessible and shared capabilities and resources, as well as theoretical frameworks and computational modeling to advance neuroscience research.

A team from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was awarded $2.6 million to develop a simplified genetic toolkit that will allow scientists who study animal behavior to test hypotheses about its neural underpinnings. The Washington University award is intended to establish a NeuroNex Technology Hub that will develop and disseminate innovative neurotechnology.

Further details on the NeuroNex award, including work done by IGB Director Gene Robinson, can be found here.

NSF's NeuroNex awards will bring together researchers across disciplines with new technologies and approaches, yielding novel ways to tackle the mysteries of the brain. Befitting its multidisciplinary approach to research, the NeuroNex program involves participation from multiple NSF directorates. The overall goal of this activity is to establish a coherent national infrastructure to enhance our understanding of brain function across organizational levels and a diversity of species.

"Through the development of advanced instrumentation to observe and model the brain, we're closer to our goal of building a more complete knowledge base about how neural activity produces behavior," said Jim Olds, NSF assistant director for Biological Sciences. "NeuroNex seeks to take that progress forward, by creating an ecosystem of new tools, resources, and theories. Most importantly, NeuroNex aims to ensure their broad dissemination to the neuroscience community. With these awards, NSF is building a foundation for the next generation of research into the brain."

Read the full release from the National Science Foundation here.


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