NIH provides $32.8 million to enhance biomedical informatics research network

is working to understand the underlying causes of schizophrenia and to develop new treatments for the disease. The goal is to determine the role of frontal and temporal lobe dysfunction in schizophrenia, and to assess the impact of treatments on functional brain abnormalities.

  • The Brain Morphometry BIRN is investigating whether brain structural differences correlate to symptoms such as memory dysfunction or depression and whether specific structural differences distinguish diagnostic categories.

  • The Mouse BIRN is examining animal models of multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Tourette's Syndrome and brain cancer. Researchers are studying animal models of disease at different anatomical scales to test hypotheses associated with human neurological disorders.

  • The BIRN Coordinating Center (BIRN-CC) develops, implements, and supports the information technology infrastructure necessary to achieve distributed collaborations and data sharing among the test bed participants.

    Although all three test beds involve some aspect of neuroimaging, the problems that they are addressing are common throughout biomedical research and the solutions will be applicable outside the individual fields represented in the test beds. For example, BIRN is using these initial test bed studies to drive the construction and daily use of a federated data sharing environment that presents biological data held at geographically separate sites as a single, unified database. To this end, the BIRN program is rapidly producing tools and technologies that enable the aggregation of data from virtually any laboratory's research program to the BIRN data federation system, independent of the biological problem being addressed.

    Lessons learned and best practices are continuously collected and made available to help new collaborative efforts make efficient use of this infrastructure

  • Contact: Ann Puderbaugh
    NIH/National Center for Research Resources

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