The Brain Research Institute began at UCLA more than
years ago, under the leadership of Horace
“Tid” Magoun, John
French and Donald Lindsley.
These founding neuroscientists created an organization
that not only produced important research but also served
as a magnet for outstanding faculty and graduate students.
BRI continues this tradition, encompassing nearly 300
faculty members in 27 departments across six schools.
The BRI’s special role is to nurture the cross pollination
of ideas, and to foster novel collaborations. This mission
touches all aspects of neuroscience from molecules to
the mind, from the laboratory bench to the patient’s
bedside. Our projects span traditional disciplinary boundaries,
as do our graduate and postdoctoral training programs.
The BRI accelerates the movement of ideas from “bench
to bedside to business,” as our scientists explore
ways to reduce the burdens that brain disorders impose
on patients, families, and society.
BRI’s overarching goal—and its major achievement—has
been to foster and improve multidisciplinary collaborations.
This work has increasingly permitted the identification
of pathogenic mechanisms and the formulation of new therapeutic
approaches. Among the research areas that exemplify such
translational collaborations are Parkinson’s disease,
Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, neurofibromatosis,
stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and
post-traumatic stress disorder. Advances in these areas
are contributing to UCLA’s emergence as a leader in
translating basic neuroscience research into clinical and
the overlapping administrative units that together serve
UCLA’s extraordinary community, the Brain Research
Institute is unique in embracing all aspects of basic neuroscience.
BRI members’s investigations span the genetic, molecular,
cellular, systems, and behavioral levels. Members study
the normal structure and workings of the nervous system,
its development, its cognitive functions, its derangement
by disease and injury, and the means of its repair and protection.
BRI-associated researchers use advanced technologies ranging
from genomics and proteomics to magnetic resonance imaging
and positron emission tomography to biosensors and microelectromechanical
systems. Many of these investigations are possible only
through multidisciplinary collaborations among BRI members.
BRI works closely with other neuroscience units on campus.
These units include the
Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior; basic science and clinical departments in
Geffen School of Medicine (especially the Departments
of Neurology, Neurobiology,
Genetics, and Psychiatry
and Biobehavioral Sciences, and the Division
of Neurosurgery); the College
of Letters and Science’s Division of Life Sciences
(especially the Departments
of Physiological Science and Psychology);
of Engineering and Applied Science (especially its new
of Bioengineering); and other centers and laboratories,
including the Ahmanson-Lovelace
Brain Mapping Center, the Mental
Retardation Research Center, the Crump
Institute of Biological Imaging, the Laboratory
of NeuroImaging (LONI), and the California
Nanosystems Institute. The BRI’s special contributions
to this community derive from its ability to build research,
educational, and administrative collaborations across the
potentially constraining boundaries of disciplines, departments,