This innovative core implements a unique concept. With support from this P30 grant, we have been able to offer the expertise of a brilliant engineer-neuroscientist (Edward Soucy, PhD;see Personnel below) to our entire community. Working with another engineer-neuroscientist (Joel Greenwood, PhD, supported from University funds), he routinely solves what appear to be insuperable engineering problems-including designing and fabricating instrumentation, electronics, software for data acquisition and analysis, and imaging. Soucy designs and builds novel systems for specialized projects. One benefit is tailor-made solutions that are cost-effective, because the expense of commercial devices often comes from the need to make them applicable to a wide range of experiments. This cost-effectiveness stretches NIH dollars. We estimate that the savings realized from building rather than buying equipment total more than $3,000,000 over that past 4 years. A second benefit is that solutions engineered for one group often are applied rapidly to other groups-many labs here have adopted inexpensive LED light sources and two-photon microscopes, for example. The final benefit is that essential education and training for young neuroscientists. In some cases, Soucy trains students and postdocs to use custom-built instrumentation. In other cases, he guides students and postdocs who are designing and fabricating devices. He assists young scientists programming in LabView and Matlab. The array of the problems he has solved, the equipment he has designed and built, and the publications that have resulted, are now documented in this proposal for renewed funding. The impact on NINDS grant-holders and other H/C neuroscientists is difficult to overstate and impossible to replace. The Neuroengineering Core enables neuroscientists to surmount their most challenging technological and engineering obstacles. By the cost-effective use of a talented staff engineer and diverse fabrication facilities for trained users, the Neuroengineering Core will contribute to the generation of valuable basic neuroscience research and promote a novel approach to surmounting technological obstacles to scientific discovery, ultimately to address fundamental issues of human health.
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