Dr. Miller to Co-Direct Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute at JHU

October 1, 2015

The Kavli Foundation and its university partners announced today the founding of three new neuroscience research institutes, including one at Johns Hopkins University. The Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute at Johns Hopkins will be directed by Dr. Richard Huganir, professor and director of the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and co-directed by ICM core faculty member Dr. Michael I. Miller, professor of biomedical engineering and director of the Center for Imaging Science in the Whiting School of Engineering.

“The Kavli Foundation award is a tremendous honor because it allows Johns Hopkins to build on our history of pioneering neuroscience and to catalyze new partnerships with engineers and data science that will be essential to building a unified understanding of brain function,” says Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels.

The Kavli Foundation and JHU will jointly contribute $20M to fund the new institute, which aims to intensify research on neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as funding basic research on the brain. The Institute at JHU, along with new Institutes at The Rockefeller University and the University of California, San Francisco, join four existing Kavli Institutes forming an international network focused on fundamental brain research. The new funding is part of the national Brain Research through Advancing

Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a public and private collaboration launched by President Barack Obama in April 2013.

The Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute is an interdisciplinary initiative that will capitalize on JHU’s existing strengths in the areas of neuroscience, engineering and data science. The Institute is expected to launch in early 2016 with 45 members representing the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Whiting School of Engineering, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Applied Physics Laboratory.

According to Dr. Miller, “When you think back to 25 years ago, we were all working at our own scale – on synapses, or on recording single cells as they fired, or on behavioral types of experiments. But today we’ve gone from single-cell recordings to being able to measure hundreds of neurons simultaneously… This all comes down to figuring out how to deal with these massive data sets and how to extract the information that’s relevant to the scale at which we’re measuring, so that we can understand the function of an organism. That is a major challenge to all of us, and we believe that the next ten years in neuroscience will largely consist of many different groups connecting information across the spatial and temporal scales that we’re all measuring individually. Then we can start to understand and model across those scales so that we can go from the molecule to behavior.”

Read more here about the new Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute at JHU. A roundtable interview with Drs. Huganir and Miller is available here.

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