Public Release: 

NIH awards $2.4 million to investigate neural connections of cortical circuits

Work at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience will focus on visualizing and manipulating neuronal activity in individual neurons

Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

Dr. Hyungbae Kwon, Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), has been awarded a $2.4 million five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how cortical circuit neurons are connected and how their activity influences brain function.

Dr. Kwon's research under this grant aims to reveal new insights into the mechanisms that regulate brain plasticity. Plasticity refers to changes in neural connections caused by varying factors such as behavior, environment, and emotions. Abnormal neural connections in the brain have been implicated in various mental diseases. By using advanced techniques to control neuronal activity and monitor changes in brain plasticity in real time, Dr. Kwon's work will provide a new understanding of the way that neurons connect in the brain and how these connections are influenced by neuronal activity.

"The fundamental abnormalities that cause many brain disorders are still not understood, but we do know that abnormal neural connections play a role in many of them," explained Dr. Kwon. "Gaining insight into the fundamental mechanisms that alter neural connections can help lead to targeted treatments and therapies for brain disorders of neural circuit dysfunction such as autism and schizophrenia."

This research is being supported by the NIMH of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number R01MH107460. The content of this release is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

NIMH leads the federal government's research on mental illness. The mission of NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. For more information, visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) - The Nation's Medical Research Agency - includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

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About Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (Jupiter, Florida, USA) specializes in the development and application of novel technologies for probing the structure, function and development of neural circuits. It is the first research institute of the Max Planck Society in the United States.

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