Axel Nimmerjahn leads research team awarded $11 million by the U19 Team-Research BRAIN Circuit Program

LA JOLLA—Salk Associate Professor Axel Nimmerjahn is leading a research team that has been awarded $11.2 million by The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, an effort that aims to investigate overarching principles of brain circuit function, including sensation, perception, decision-making and motor control. Nimmerjahn will lead an interdisciplinary five-year project investigating how astrocytes, star-shaped cells in the brain, process and modulate signals from neurons to better understand overall brain function.

“In the brain, about half of the cells are not neurons. Non-neural cells traditionally have not been thought to play an important role in information processing, but this notion is starting to crumble.” says Nimmerjahn, director of Salk’s Biophotonics Center. “Think of the brain as a symphony. While some players (neurons) may stand out because of their unique abilities (fast electrical signals), it takes the entire orchestra to play the composition. If one player…
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