On February 28 the Norwegian Prime Minister; Jens Stoltenberg, officially opened The Norwegian Brain Centre at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The centre is now one of the world's largest brain research laboratories of its kind.
Instead of cutting a ribbon, the Prime Minister connected two cables that illuminated a blue light under the centre's unique cornerstone, which is crystal and contains a reconstruction of a stellate cell of the rat’s entorhinal cortex, which has helped the NTNU researchers unlock the secrets of spatial map formation in the brain.
The 4000 m² facility will continue the research conducted by the university's Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience (KI) / Centre for the Biology of Memory (CBM), where researchers work to measure and understand the electrical activity in large groups of brain cells called neural networks. The centre is a continuation of NTNU's long-term commitment to brain research, with the KI/CBM at the forefront.
The Norwegian Brain Centre will also host selected PhD candidates and researchers from Norway and abroad who need training in the latest technology focused on the brain. The centre will both accommodate and develop the best technology for studying networks in the brain. One of the newest methods, which is under rapid development, involves using virus-based techniques to switch activity in specific neurons on and off, as well as new technology for measuring microscopic signals in the cells.
“With well over 4000 m², our facilities are almost ten times larger than they were, and the standard will be upgraded,” says Edvard Moser, director of the KI/CBM. “Now we are creating a centre that will cover a wide range of methodological approaches to understanding how the networks of the brain function: everything from theoretical studies in physics to microscopic studies of connections between neurons and imaging studies of the brain in action. The brain is such a complex puzzle that many approaches are needed to crack the code.”