A list of the top scientific achievements of 2019 would not be complete without showcasing new ways to map and catalog the brain. In a study published last year, Dr. Xiangmin Xu at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine, used a new viral genetic-based brain mapping tool that can cross synapses to discover a neural circuit connecting the cortex to the hippocampus – a brain region important for learning, memory, and navigation. Several media outlets, including the UCI School of Medicine, featured Dr. Xu’s work, which could lead to a better understanding of the neurobiology of memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease and may inform treatments. This finding marks the beginning of an era of discoveries made possible by innovative brain mapping tools: AAAS EurekAlert! announced that Dr. Xu and his ‘dream team’ of international scientists were awarded $4.3 million of BRAIN Initiative funding to develop new viral tracers for the entire neuroscience community.
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