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New global research collaboration to map the human brain

28 September 2022
The American National Institute of Health will fund new brain research at VU Amsterdam through the so-called Brain Initiative programme. Brain research is desperately needed to better understand and treat brain diseases.

The VU research is part of a new, global collaboration to better map the human brain. The VU neuroscientists involved are Christiaan de Kock, Natalia Goriounova and Huib Mansvelder (all three from the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, CNCR). They will receive nearly 1 million dollar in funding.

Brain Initiative was launched in 2013 by then US President Obama. It is now a programme that involves more than 5 billion dollars in research money. The new BICAN (Brain Initiative Cell Atlas Network) is part of this programme. De Kock, Goriounova and Mansvelder participate in the BICAN through the Allen Institute in Seattle.

Molecular fingerprint
The BICAN will try to clarify the molecular 'fingerprint' of every cell in the human brain and the primate brain. Over the past five years, scientists, including researchers from VU, have been doing this for the mouse brain. So now there will be follow-up research into the primate and human brain.

The animal experiments with mice at VU have been conducted in a responsible manner, applying the so-called 3R's (reduction, refinement, replacement) that are used at the Amsterdam Animal Research Center (AARC) of VU.

Read more in the news release on the Allen Institute website.