Human Brain research Project

Human brain

The Human Brain Project is organized around three distinct yet complementary research areas.

Future Neuroscience

Neuroscience is generating exponentially growing volumes of data and knowledge on specific aspects of the healthy and diseased brain, in different species, at different ages. However, we still do not have effective strategies to experimentally map the brain across all its levels and functions. Modern supercomputing technology offers a solution, making it possible to integrate the data in detailed computer reconstructed models and simulations of the brain. Brain models and simulations allow researchers to predict missing data and principles and to take measurements and perform experimental manipulations that would be ethically or technically impossible in animals or humans. Combined with new knowledge from big data projects across the world, in silico neuroscience has the potential to reveal the detailed mechanisms leading from genes to cells and circuits and ultimately to cognition and behaviour – the very heart of that which makes us human.

Future Medicine

Medicine is experiencing a data explosion, driven by advances in genetics and imaging technology. But again, we lack effective strategies to integrate the data and to identify the unique "biological signatures" of neurological and psychiatric diseases. However, new databasing and data mining technologies now makes it possible to federate and analyse the huge volumes of data accumulating in hospital archives, allowing researchers to identify the biological changes associated with disease and opening possibilities for early diagnosis and personalised medicine. In the longer term, the data will make it possible to modify models of the healthy brain to simulate disease. Disease simulation will provide researchers with a powerful new tool to probe the causal mechanisms responsible for disease, and to screen putative treatments, accelerating medical research and reducing the huge suffering and costs associated with diseases of the brain.

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The Human Brain Project: Future Neuroscience

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