Yale professors awarded White House BRAIN Initiative grant

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Todd Constable, left, and Michael Crair

Two Yale School of Medicine professors have received a federal grant supported by President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative. In 2014, the White House announced over $300 million in new investments to support public and private efforts that would “revolutionize” understanding of the brain and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and autism, among others.

R. Todd Constable, professor of diagnostic radiology, and Michael C. Crair, professor of neurobiology, will use the nearly $5 million National Institutes of Health award over three years to develop experimental and analytic methods for examining neuronal activity across scales, from the single cell to the whole brain.

The researchers will use novel technologies, including genetically encoded calcium indicators and functional magnetic resonance imaging, to study brain circuits and behavior through development. Their work will provide a novel set of tools to investigate the role of specific cell populations on brain function in healthy development and in disease models.

Other members of the Yale team include Jessica Cardin, Michael Higley, D.S. Fahmeed Hyder, and Xenios Papademetris.

Yale Professor Michael Crair and his team of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are using new genetically encoded calcium indicators to image brain activity transcranially (through the skull) in mice. In collaboration with Todd Constable, Xenios Papademetris and Fahmeed Hyder in the Magnetic Resonance Research Center and Jessica Cardin and Michael Higley in the Department of Neurobiology, his team is mapping activity across spatial scales in individual neurons all the way up whole functional networks in the brain.
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