Research Themes

The Brown Institute for Brain Science pursues research to meet three aims:

  • Understand fundamental genetic, molecular, cellular, circuit and systems functions that underlie higher brain functions.  
  • Improve brain health by revealing mechanisms of disease and injury and by implementing new therapies for brain disorders
  • Create neurotechnology to repair the brain or replicate the brain’s capacity to understand and learn.

Fundamental discovery emphasizes fundamental research on nervous system development, connections, and computations that underlie aspects of learning, memory, cognition and action that distinguish us as humans, and are all areas where Brown has been traditionally strong.

Brain Health builds upon existing strengths in the basic underpinnings of nervous system disorders.  This initiative leverages the unprecedented opportunity to revolutionize clinical care made possible by the nearly simultaneous recruitment of new chairs of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry and substantial investments in these clinical departments by Brown’s partnering hospitals and Brown’s Medical School.

Neurotechnology bridges neuroscience, medicine, neuroengineering, computer science, and mathematics and aims to create physical replacement parts for the damaged nervous systems, new devices to read out brain function and ‘smart machines’ to accomplish tasks that now only human experts can perform.