News & AnalysisNewsmaker Interview: Geoffrey Ling

DARPA Aims to Rebuild Brains

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Science  29 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6162, pp. 1029-1030
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6162.1029

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Until recently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) kept its plans for its $70 million portion of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative largely under wraps, generating considerable speculation and a few outlandish rumors. Now, however, DARPA has released two calls for grant applications, with at least one more likely: The first, called SUBNETS (Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies), asks researchers to develop novel, wireless devices, such as deep brain stimulators, that can cure neurological disorders including posttraumatic stress (PTS), major depression, and chronic pain. The second, RAM (Restoring Active Memory), calls for a separate wireless device that repairs brain damage and restores memory loss. Science sat down with Ling, a physician and former Army colonel who specialized in traumatic brain injuries while in the military, to talk about the projects.