Friday, February 28, 2014

The Brain’s Inner Language

 

Probing the Parliament of Neurons

Clay Reid and colleagues are going deep into the mouse brain to decipher the conversations and decisions of neurons.
 
SEATTLE — When Clay Reid decided to leave his job as a professor at Harvard Medical School to become a senior investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle in 2012, some of his colleagues congratulated him warmly and understood right away why he was making the move.

Others shook their heads. He was, after all, leaving one of the world’s great universities to go to the academic equivalent of an Internet start-up, albeit an extremely well- financed, very ambitious one, created in 2003 by Paul Allen, a founder of Microsoft.

Still, “it wasn’t a remotely hard decision,” Dr. Reid said. He wanted to mount an all-out investigation of a part of the mouse brain. And although he was happy at Harvard, the Allen Institute offered not only great colleagues and deep pockets, but also an approach to science different from the classic university environment. The institute was already mapping the mouse brain in fantastic detail, and specialized in the large-scale accumulation of information in atlases and databases available to all of science.

For the rest of the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/science/the-brains-inner-language.html?_r=0

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