SEEING MORE OF THE LIVING BRAIN AT WORK

15 March 2019 - People

As part of its mission, NERF develops new technologies to shed more light on the architecture and functioning of the brain. These will ultimately improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Started in 2011, Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF) is doing research in what is an extremely competitive field: unraveling the architecture of the brain and nervous system. Its researchers want to reveal the anatomical and functional principles of neuronal circuits. But potentially even more impactful is the multidisciplinary approach and the research instruments coming out of this remarkable collaboration. Instruments for example that allow seeing the living brain at work and that will ultimately find an application in the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. Vincent Bonin, Karl Farrow and Alan Urban – three of NERF’s principal investigators – explain.

Scales matter

Vincent Bonin: “Karl and I are studying how sensory signals, especially those coming in through our eyes, are processed in the brain. Part of that is trying to find out how the visual cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for visual information, is organized. But we also want to learn how visual signals spread activation over the whole brain and how that relates to behavior.”

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