With a major new federal grant, Brown University has established a research center to study key questions in the neuroscience of attention and related behaviors. The COBRE Center for Central Nervous System Function will encompass five projects, each led by a junior faculty member with mentoring from a more senior professor, with the dual goals of better explaining the brain and generating potential new ideas for addressing disorders such as autism.
"Attention is a gateway to human behavior, normal or abnormal," said Jerome Sanes, professor of neuroscience and a neuroimaging expert who will lead the new center, with help from deputy director Sheila Blumstein, the Albert D. Mead professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences, and John Davenport, associate director of Brown's Institute for Brain Science. "There is a wide range of functions that depend upon attention," Sanes said. "You can list many of them just by thinking about what you do every day, such as deciding where to go, what to eat, and remembering yesterday's events."
COBRE, which stands for Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, is a program of the National Institute for General Medical Sciences that helps bolster research and mentoring of promising young faculty members.
The new NIGMS grant of $11 million over the next five years, including more than $2.5 million this year, will fund underlying research and administrative cores for the center and support these projects:
Dima Amso, assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences, will study the development of visual selective attention, the process by which the brain focuses on what's relevant instead of on distractions. She will look at healthy development and how it is disrupted in autism spectrum disorders. Mentor: Blumstein
Dr. Wael Asaad, assistant professor of neurosurgery, will focus on how the basal ganglia integrates sensory information from the cortex
|Contact: David Orenstein|