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Princeton and Yale Universities Launch Swartz Foundation Initiatives in Theoretical Neuroscience

OLD FIELD, NY, March 26, 2007 -- The Swartz Foundation, a leading private foundation supporting research in theoretical and computational neuroscience, announced the opening of two new brain research initiatives at Princeton and Yale Universities. They join Columbia University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), and the original Sloan Centers for Theoretical Neurobiology at Salk Institute, Cal Tech, UCSF, NYU (Courant) and Brandeis University. The goals of these research centers are to advance theoretical concepts and models of neural activity, to provide effective computational tools to analyze the vast amounts of new data that are becoming available on the brain and other aspects of neuroscience, and to train theoreticians from the physical and computational sciences in this exciting field.

William Bialek, Director of the Swartz Research Initiative in Theoretical Neuroscience at Princeton University, said, “Princeton has long been a great center for theoretical research, and as we enter a period of expansion in neuroscience, it is wonderful to have the Swartz Foundation providing core support for young scientists interested in the grand theoretical challenges posed by brain function." Dr. Bialek is the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics at Princeton University. Professor Bialek’s research interests have ranged over a wide variety of theoretical problems at the interface of physics and biology, from the dynamics of individual biological molecules to learning and cognition.

Xiao Jing Wang, Director of the Swartz Initiative in Theoretical Neurobiology at Yale University, said, “As neuroscience continues to make great strides, new discoveries
become increasingly dependent on interdisciplinary approaches, theory and quantitative modeling at all levels. The generous support of the Swartz Foundation will spur up
training and collaboration in Theoretical Neurobiology at Yale. We hope that this Initiative will involve people from many disciplines using computational tools to study brain processes, with a focus on understanding neural circuit mechanisms of cognitive functions.” Dr. Wang is Professor of Neurobiology at Yale University. His work focuses on the goal of elucidating cellular mechanisms and neural dynamics that underlie higher brain functions, such as working memory, decision making, and selective attention.

“We welcome two additional esteemed Ivy League universities to our network of centers across the United States, all sharply focused on the theoretical end of brain science. The Swartz Foundation funds scientific investigation into the theoretical understanding of the brain, which we believe will lead to progress in both the medical field and in computer technology going forward,” said Jerome Swartz, founder and Chairman of the Swartz Foundation.

The Swartz Foundation was established by Jerry Swartz in 1994 to explore the application of mathematical physics, computer science, systems analysis and behavioral psychology to theoretical neurobiology, as a path to better understand the brain/mind relationship.

The Foundation supports post-doc research in theoretical neuroscience at 10 universities and scientific institutions, through centers at Princeton University, Yale University, Columbia University (established in 2005), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (2004), and UC San Diego (2002), and in partnership with the Sloan Foundation at their original five Centers for Theoretical Neurobiology (1994) at Salk Institute, Cal Tech, UC San Francisco, NYU/Courant and Brandeis University. The Swartz Foundation also sponsors conferences, workshops, seminars, and public lectures in brain science.

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