2010 IoN News Archive

Researchers to study how the brain 'rewires itself'

23 April 2010

A researcher from UCL is part of a US-led team investigating how the brain and its microcircuitry react to physiological changes and what could be done to encourage its recovery from injury.

Dr Maneesh Sahani  from the UCL Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, which is based in Queen Square is part of the team led by Stanford University and Brown University.

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The project will explore the use of a new generation of ‘optogenetic’ devices small enough to be implanted in the brain, where they would simulate the function of damaged tissue.

The Reorganization and Plasticity to Accelerate Injury Recovery (REPAIR) project, funded by the US government, involves researchers from UCL, Stanford, Brown, and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).

Together their expertise spans neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry to semiconductor micro- and optoelectronics, statistical signal processing, machine learning, and brain modelling.

Professor Alan Thompson, Director of the Institute of Neurology said: "This is an exciting and highly innovative approach to addressing a fundamentally important issue - repairing damage to the central nervous system. If successful it could have major implications for improving recovery and reversing impairment in a wide range of neurological disorders both traumatic and acquired and would be a major boost to our efforts in rehabilitation"

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