2012-2013 Research Topics


In 2013, the Brain Research Foundation Seed Grant Program funded critical research in 12 areas of neuroscience. In addition to our annual seed grant program, the Foundation awarded larger grants to distinguished investigators in 2012 and 2013 for our Scientific Innovations Award. Click on each of the topics below to learn more about the studies and how they’ll contribute to the field of neuroscience.

Click here to find out about previous research topics.

Autism, epilepsy & schizophrenia
Non-Invasive Optogenetic Engineering of Cortical Dynamics 
2013 Seed Grant
Brian Chow, Ph.D.
Department of Bioengineering
University of Pennsylvania

BL-OG: Selective, minimally invasive and activity dependent self-regulation of thalamic bursting
BL-OG: Selective, minimally invasive and activity dependent self-regulation of thalamic bursting
2014 Scientific Innovations Award
Christopher I. Moore, Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience
Brown University 

Synthetic nanoparticles for gene editing in the brain in utero
Synthetic nanoparticles for gene editing in the brain in utero
2014 Scientific Innovations Award Winner
W. Mark Saltzman, Ph.D.
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Yale University 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Functional characterization of genes associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder using mouse models
2013 Seed Grant
Stephanie Dulawa, Ph.D. 
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
The University of Chicago

Huntington’s disease, OCD, Parkinson’s disease
Optogenetic dissection of the striatal subcircuits during action sequence learning 
2013 Seed Grant
Xin Jin, Ph.D. 
Department of Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

BOINCing PTEN-associated neural circuit pathology
BOINCing PTEN-associated neural circuit pathology
2014 Scientific Innovations Award Winner
Anthony Zador, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Neuron Replacement: Improved Cognitive Function
How receptive is the adult neocortex to incorporating new projection neurons?
2013 Scientific Innovations Award
Jean M. Hébert, Ph.D.
Department of Neuroscience
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Autism, schizophrenia
Activity-induced adaptations in the molecular machines that control neurotransmitter release
2013 Seed Grant
Pascal Kaeser, M.D.
Department of Neurobiology
Harvard University

Dementia
Progranulin deficiency and neuronal-microglial interactions in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease
2013 Seed Grant
Aimee Kao, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Neurology
University of California, San Francisco

Targeted Therapy with Nanodevices
Nanodevices to Treat Neurological Diseases
2013 Scientific Innovations Award
Brian Litt, M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Pennsylvania

Cortical Function & Behavior
Optogenetics in the Behaving Primate: Using Light to Study Cortical Function
2012 Scientific Innovations Award
W. Martin Usrey, Ph.D.
Center for Neuroscience
University of California, Davis

Alzheimer’s disease, autism, schizophrenia
Controlling synaptic function with light 
2013 Seed Grant
Matthew Kennedy, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmacology
University of Colorado

Autism
A Systems Biology Approach to Identify Transcription Regulatory Networks in Healthy and Diseased Neurons
2013 Seed Grant
Yingxi Lin, Ph.D. 
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Itch perception
The Molecular and Neural Basis of Itch Sensation
2013 Seed Grant
Qin Liu, Ph.D.
Department of Anesthesiology
Washington University in St. Louis

Schizophrenia
The Role of Astrocyte-Neuron Communication in Normal Brain Function and Mental Disorder
2013 Seed Grant
Axel Nimmerjahn, Ph.D.
Department of Biophotonics
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Autism, Intellectual Disability
Distal mRNA localization and translation in neural stem cells during mammalian cortical development
2013 Seed Grant
Debra Silver, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Duke University

Alzheimer's disease
Structures, stabilities, and formation kinetics of amyloid beta precursors and oligomers
2013 Seed Grant
Yongli Zhang, Ph.D.
Department of Cell Biology
Yale University

Neural Plasticity, neurodevelopment
Epigenetic Control of Experience-dependent Neural Plasticity
2013 Seed Grant
Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, Ph.D.
Department of Genetics
University of Pennsylvania