The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) reports that the California budget signed by Governor Jerry Brown on June 20 creates a statewide research grant program called Cal-BRAIN, which will be led by UCSD. Cal-BRAIN, short for California Blueprint for Research to Advance Innovations in Neuroscience, is a state complement to the federal BRAIN Initiative announced by President Barack Obama in 2013 that aims to “accelerate the development of brain mapping techniques, including the development of new technologies,” according to the UCSD news release.

The university will lead the state effort to change the understanding of the brain and the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders of all types. The UCSD news release notes that by improving the ability to see what goes on in the brain in greater detail and at a much faster timescale, the participants aim to make “discoveries around autism, Alzheimer’s, PTSD and other behavioral health issues and injuries that affect everyone from our children to our homeless veterans,” as indicated on the UCSD news release.

In the leadership role, UCSD will guide the collaboration among the UC campuses and is presently discussing a significant financial investment of non-state, university resources in Cal-BRAIN. The UCSD news release notes that the proposal calls for organizational hubs in southern and northern California, at UC San Diego and Berkeley Lab, to coordinate research activities, facilitate communication and seek additional funds from private and industry partners.

Both the state and national initiative are expected to spur a new industry cluster of “neurotechnology,” and the tools needed to map the brain will likely have broad applications to a range of disease monitoring beyond the brain and possibly fields beyond health. UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla says, “We will be developing the next technology cluster in ‘neurotech’. I am confident that, with our strengths in neuroscience and biotechnology in San Diego, we will be producing ground-breaking research with significant social impacts.”

Assembly speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) states, “Cal-BRAIN will help develop brain mapping technologies and has the potential to make significant advances in treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I am proud San Diego will be at the forefront of this important effort.”

Source: University of California, San Diego