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CSHL’s Kepecs receives BRAIN Initiative grant to develop tools to guide behavioral research

Adam Kepecs
Adam Kepecs

Cold Spring Harbor, NY — Neuroscientist Adam Kepecs of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has been selected to lead a new research project that is part of the US government’s “BRAIN” Initiative, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced today.

Kepecs, a CSHL Professor, will work with colleagues to develop conceptual infrastructure for behavioral neuroscience research. Specifically, their goal is to design and disseminate a “platform-independent behavior description language that will expose the underlying behavioral task logic and make it easier to describe, reproduce and share behavioral tasks across laboratories,” Kepecs says.

“While a technological revolution in systems neuroscience has yielded a broad array of tools to observe and manipulate neural circuits,” Kepecs says, “behavioral technologies have lagged behind. The problem of behavioral measurement and description is as complex as behaviors are diverse. Building on insights from computer science, computational linguistics and psychology, the goal of our project is to develop a formal language to describe behavioral tasks.”

The NSF grant to Kepecs and colleagues is one of six “NeuroNex Innovation” awards announced today by the NSF. These awards seek to generate “potentially revolutionary, early-stage tools” for use in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, which seeks to establish a coherent national infrastructure to enhance understanding of brain function in a diversity of species.

To the end of creating an ecosystem of new tools, resources and theories in support of that objective, NSF today announced 11 other major grant awards, nine of which support NeuroNex Neurotechnology Hubs and two to fund NeuroNex Theory Teams.

Written By: Peter Tarr, Senior Science Writer | publicaffairs@cshl.edu | 516-367-8455

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu