Brain and Behavior Discussion Group
Unlocking the secrets of the human brain
As the command center for the human nervous system, the 3.3-lb human brain is the organ that makes us human. It grants us the capacity for language, rational thought, and decision-making, and is the source of personality, movement, memory, and our perceptions of the world. But making sense of the brain’s staggering complexity isn’t easy.
Brain imaging and discoveries in genetics have revolutionized how many neurological conditions are diagnosed. Surgical interventions, such as deep brain stimulation, have proven incredibly effective for people with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. New drugs are available for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy, and advances in preventive medicine have contributed to a decline in deaths from stroke. At the interface of man and machine, pioneering brain-computer interfaces and neuroprosthetic devices offer incredible opportunities to restore neurological and motor functions lost as a result of injury or disease. In addition, insights into the development of the nervous system, brain plasticity, and the genetic basis of brain disease are transforming how we think about the brain and approaches to treating brain disease.
The Brain and Behavior Discussion Group advances fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system, providing the foundation for novel ways to reduce the burden of neurological disease.
Did you know London taxi drivers, famous for committing the city’s 60,000 streets to memory, have a larger than normal hippocampus? These findings suggest that the hippocampus—the brain region believed to be the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system—continues to grow as people memorize greater amounts of information.
Sonya Dougal, PhD
Steering Committee Members
The Brain and Behavior Discussion Group Steering Committee, composed of multi-sector and multi-institutional scientists from the Academy’s network, provides thought leadership on key issues of interest to the neuroscience community, helping to inform and shape our program portfolio.
Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
The Lawrence Ellison Foundation; Grace Science Foundation