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Research Themes

Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is advancing discoveries of brain function by supporting innovative approaches to problems of nervous system function that lie at the boundaries of traditional disciplines. To this aim, DIBS has developed a number of research themes, with each theme focused on a different interdisciplinary area chosen because it is broad enough to engage the full spectrum of the brain sciences at Duke, and flexible enough to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. These research themes are supported through a number of distinct DIBS programmatic initiatives including the 'Transcending the Boundaries' Workshops, journal clubs, faculty recruitment and pilot research funding. Our vision is that successful research themes will derive substantial funding for research and training from federal, private, and corporate sponsors.

Neurotechnology

Neurotechnology

Creating and developing new techniques for visualizing and regulating the activity of neural circuits will bring about a better understanding of the normal function of the nervous system and much more effective treatments for neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. DIBS is actively engaged in bringing together investigators with a broad range of expertise in the biological sciences, biomedical engineering, chemistry, and physics to develop the next generation of tools that will make it possible to monitor and regulate the activity of functionally identified populations of neurons with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution.
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Featured Affiliated Faculty

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Mary (Missy) Cummings, Ph.D.

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Pratt School of Engineering

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David Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.

Neurobiology, School of Medicine

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Circuits and Behavior

Circuits and Behavior

Considerable progress has been made in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the function of individual neurons. However, further progress in understanding the neural basis for brain functions such as perception, action, and cognition requires deciphering the complex synaptic interactions between identified populations of neurons that constitute functional neural circuits. By combining the latest technological developments with novel experimental and computational approaches, DIBS investigators are defining how neural circuits contribute to brain function, how these circuits arise during development, and how they are shaped by experience in the adult.
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Featured Affiliated Faculty

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Kafui Dzirasa, M.D., Ph.D.

Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, School of Medicine

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Leslie Collins, Ph.D.

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering

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Brain and Society

Brain and Society

DIBS investigators are transcending the boundaries between neuroscience, the social sciences, and the humanities to provide novel insights into the neural basis for behaviors that are particularly relevant to human interactions. DIBS investigators from the School of Medicine, Arts and Sciences, and the Fuqua School of Business are combining their expertise in genetics, behavior, cognition, economics, and neuroscience to illuminate the neural basis of decision-making, communication, social cognition, social behavior, and affective processes in humans and animal models.
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Featured Affiliated Faculty

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Jonathan Wiener, J.D.

Law, Law School

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Timothy Strauman, Ph.D.

Psychology & Neuroscience, Arts & Sciences

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Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Disorders of the nervous system have a devastating effect on the lives of those who are afflicted and represent a major burden to society. Advances in the prevention and treatment of brain disorders require the coordinated efforts of basic science and clinical investigators with a broad range of expertise, from the cellular and molecular aspects of neuronal function to the analysis of cognitive and behavioral performance. DIBS investigators work side by side in multidisciplinary teams that are focused on exploring the neural basis for a particular brain disorder and developing more effective treatment strategies.
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Featured Affiliated Faculty

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Bruce Donald, Ph.D.

Department of Computer Science, and Department of Biochemistry, and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, and Pratt School of Engineering, Arts & Sciences

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Christina Meade, Ph.D.

Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Division of Medical Psychology, School of Medicine

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