By Harold Ambler
By Harold Ambler
PROVIDENCE – Using an $11 million grant from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences, Brown University is creating a new research center to study the neuroscience of attention and related disorders.
To be named the COBRE (Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence) Center for Central Nervous System Function, the center will study five projects, each led by a junior faculty member, mentored by senior faculty. The leadership team for the undertaking will be Jerome Sanes, professor of neuroscience at Brown, deputy director Sheila Blulmstein, the Albert D. Mead professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences, and John Davenport, associate director of Brown’s Institute for Brain Science.
“Attention is a gateway to human behavior, normal or abnormal,” said Sanes. “There is a wide range of functions that depend upon attention. 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.”
The federal grant will be released over five years, with the first year’s allocation totaling $2.5 million. In addition to the five projects, the grant will help develop methods and protocols for brain science investigators across Brown and its affiliated hospitals, including the acquisition of new research equipment.
The five junior faculty members and their projects and mentors are:
The center’s dual goals, according to a statement, are “better explaining the brain and generating potential new ideas for addressing disorders such as autism.”
“For the university, this provides a very important bridge for junior investigators to jump-start their careers,” Sanes said. “It’s also important for Brown in that it provides a focal point for the further development of human neuroscience.”