We have seen its potential as an intellectual force and a font of new knowledge that is likely to bring about a new dialog between the natural sciences,
the social sciences, and the humanities. This dialog could help us understand better the mechanisms in the brain that make creativity possible, whether in art, the sciences, or the humanities, and thus open up a new dimension in intellectual history. In addition, an enriched understanding of the brain is needed to guide public policy. Particularly promising areas are the cognitive and emotional development of infants, the improvement of teaching methods, and the evaluation of decisions. But perhaps the greatest consequence for public policy is the impact that brain science and its engagement with other disciplines is likely to have on the structure of selleck inhibitor the Selleckchem MG-132 social universe as we know it. I’ve benefited greatly from the comments and criticism of several colleagues: Daniel Salzman, Mark Churchland, Michael Shadlen, Virginia Barry, Blair Potter, Pierre Magistretti, Daphna Shohamy, and Geraldine Downey.
“In March 1988, the editors Zach Hall, A.J. Hudspeth, Eric Kandel, and Louis Reichardt launched the first issue of Neuron, “based on the belief that cellular and molecular neurobiology has begun a period of explosive growth, fueled by the powerful experimental tools that have recently become available” ( Hall et al., 1988). What were the new tools of 1988? They cite recombinant DNA methods, new electrophysiological recording techniques (e.g., patch clamping), novel methods of introducing macromolecules into cells (e.g., viral transfection), and new approaches to cellular imaging (e.g., confocal imaging). Along with their enthusiasm for recent technical advances for molecular and cellular neurobiology, they commit the journal to the latest technology for rapid publication: “To
minimize the time delays caused by distance, we shall use express mail and facsimile transmission for manuscripts from abroad. In the 25 years since, the information revolution oxyclozanide has obviously transformed the speed of communication and publishing: manuscripts move via email, and publications can appear a month or more before the journal is printed. But the changes in cellular and molecular neurobiology are as profound. At each level, from molecular, to cellular, to systems neuroscience, technical breakthroughs have led to conceptual progress. We are, in 2013, no less than in 1988, in a “period of explosive growth.” Others in this special issue of Neuron have captured the many facets of this growth. Below we highlight a few of these areas, recognizing that this brief survey cannot do justice to either the technical or the conceptual advances of the past 25 years. Our charge is to relate these changes to the state of brain disorders in 2013, identifying the best bridges for translational research.