Arguably more ambitious than the Human Genome Project or the Apollo program, the Brain Research Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative endeavors to demystify our least understood organ—and the one that makes us most human. Announced by President Obama in 2013, the 12-year, $4.5-billion undertaking aims to establish links between brain function and behavior, and to develop tools that will help us finally get to the bottom of conditions such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and depression. As the project’s planning co-chair, Rockefeller University neurobiologist Cori Bargmann spent the past year assembling expert teams and vetting research ideas. Now, she says, the real work begins. In her own words:
“The brain is the most complicated object in the universe. What could be cooler than understanding that?”
—As told to Breanna Draxler
This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of Popular Science.