Find Out How Teams of UCI Scientists are Working to Tackle the Grand Challenge of Understanding the Brain

Unlocking the mysteries of the brain is humanity’s final frontier.

The impact of such a feat will transform every facet of our lives.

It will empower a new generation of innovative technology and transform how we educate our youth by unlocking the formidable potential of the human mind.

It will allow us to eradicate brain disease and promote brain health.

It will have countless legal implications from understanding criminal behavior and recidivism and assessing offender risk, to novel therapies for drug addiction.

It will impact economic growth and development as we understand the basis of human decision-making.

It will elucidate the basis of emotion, social behavior, and artistic expression.

It will fundamentally transform our understanding of cruelty and conflict, potentially helping us usher in a new era of generosity and peace.

Such a feat can only be realized with an army of brilliant minds working together to crack the brain’s code.

This is the vision of UCI’s newest strategic initiative, UCI Brain.

The Golden Age of Neuroscience

In April 2013, President Obama launched the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative.
The purpose of the Initiative is to “accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.”
Long desired by researchers seeking new ways to treat and prevent brain disorders, this picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring how the brain enables us to record, process, store, and utilize vast amounts of information.

Our nation is not alone in recognizing the tremendous value of such an effort.

In December 2017, at a meeting hosted by the Australian Academy of Science, representatives from the world’s major brain projects made a formal declaration to establish the International Brain Initiative.

By coordinating their efforts globally, neuroscientists can speed up progress on ‘cracking the brain’s code.’

The “Canberra Declaration” represents the dawn of a new era, the Golden Age of Neuroscience.

In less than five years, team efforts across the globe have already generated enormous amounts of data, new atlases of brain structure and function, and new revolutionary brain technologies.

Investments in Brain Initiatives are expanding at breakneck speed, creating a tremendous opportunity for UCI, a trailblazer in brain science, to have a global impact. With transformative investments in new faculty recruitment, resources, infrastructure, training programs, and community engagement, UCI Brain has the potential to become the global leader in convergent brain science and design the blueprint for our brilliant future.

From Genes to Intelligent Machines

The universal commitment to unraveling the mysteries of the brain is an exceptional opportunity for UCI neuroscientists to lead the way.
The first roots of systematic brain science began here at UCI in 1964 with Founding Faculty James McGaugh establishing the world’s first neuroscience department.

Since then, UCI has been at the forefront of discovery in the neurosciences. Today, the neuroscience community at UCI spans across more than 60 departments and research units with over 100 scientists studying the brain at every level, from genes to intelligent machines.

Uniting our vibrant neuroscience community, with infrastructure and support, will position UCI to take the lead in transforming our understanding of the human brain. There is no institution that is better suited to take on the complex challenge of cracking the brain’s code.

Over 50 years ago, UCI was born to advance the audacious goal of improving society through globally preeminent research, life-enhancing discoveries, and a world-class education for the most talented students, regardless of background. Today, we are ready to launch the UCI Brain Initiative (UCI Brain) with an equally audacious goal: to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the brain through collaborative, cutting-edge basic and translational research, and to provide exceptional training to the next generation of leaders in brain science.

UCI Brain honors our legacy and re-imagines our future.

UCI Brain is a signature program of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and is intended to be a hub for all neuroscience on campus.