Johns Hopkins University

Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute

Johns Hopkins

The Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute (Kavli NDI) brings together neuroscience, engineering, and data science – three traditional strengths at Johns Hopkins – with the ultimate goal of reaching a unified understanding of brain function.

New experimental techniques are generating a wealth of information about the brain at different scales – from the levels of single cells to brain circuits to behavior – but neuroscience still lacks effective tools for managing these massive data sets. Kavli NDI researchers are filling this gap by finding new ways to organize, analyze, and extract meaning from neurodata. They plan to lead the transformation toward big data-driven neuroscience and in so doing accelerate the pace of discovery.

Founded in 2015, Kavli NDI is directed by Richard Huganir, chair of the Department of Neuroscience, and co-directed by Michael Miller, who leads the university's Center for Imaging Science. The Institute’s 45 members are drawn from more than a dozen departments at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Public Health, and the Applied Physics Laboratory. A multidisciplinary Executive Board, chaired by Solomon Snyder, who founded the Hopkins’ Department of Neuroscience in 1980, and Steering Committee oversee the Institute’s activities.

The Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute plans to lead the transformation toward big data-driven neuroscience and in so doing accelerate the pace of discovery.

Kavli NDI's research falls into three themes:

  • NeuroExperiments: Creative and rigorous experimentation provides the foundation for biological discovery. Understanding how the brain allows us to perceive, think, and interact with the world requires inventive experiments across multiple biological disciplines and observational scales. Kavli NDI researchers use engineering tools to conduct cutting-edge experiments to monitor and manipulate the brain at different scales.
  • NeuroEngineering: Discovery in neuroscience is increasingly dependent on developing and applying novel techniques, as underscored by the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. Kavli NDI develops novel technologies to measure, manipulate, and model brain behavior.
  • NeuroData: Breakthroughs in understanding brain structure and function will depend on our ability to extract insights from large data sets. New neurodata tools, including mathematical and computational science, computing machinery, algorithms, and hardware architectures, will help convert experimental data into discovery, yielding new knowledge and understanding about the brain.

Kavli NDI will promote the fusion of neuroscience, engineering, and data science through pipeline grants that support small groups of faculty members spanning these three fields. Other activities include fellowships for postdoctoral and graduate students, hands-on workshops, and symposia.

Additional Information / Resources:

Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute website
Kavli NDI website

Thermal scan
A Roundtable with the Kavli NDI