In response to President Barack Obama’s BRAIN initiative, Columbia University created the NeuroTechnology Center (NTC) in 2014. The center includes faculty from the School of Arts and Sciences (A&S), the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), the Zuckerman Mind, Brain, and Behavior Institute (ZMBBI) and the Kavli Institute for Brain Science.
The vision of the center is an interacting network of toolbuilding laboratories that will create new neurotechniques that serve Columbia University and the scientific community at large, forming one of the strongest neurotechnology groups in the world.
The research mission of the NTC is to draw together interdisciplinary investigators to develop advanced optical, electrical and computational technologies for the study of complex neurobiological systems. To do so, the NTC will foster and support the collaboration of groups with interdisciplinary skill sets within the university with the common goal of promoting the development of the next generation of advanced technologies for neuroscience.
The educational mission is to train undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty in the newest neurotechnologies. Students supported by the NTC will be supervised by PIs in at least two of the research thrusts, enhancing existing collaborations and forming new ones. Students will present their research in a bi-annual NT-STC Studio Course and profit from an annual symposium. By anchoring a subset of the educational and training programs at Queens College-CUNY, one of the most diverse student populations in the country, we will enable access to novel technologies by groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences and engineering.
To capitalize on the economic applications of novel neurotechnologies, the NT-NTC will also have a business development mission. To increase the employment options of NT-STC students and postdocs beyond traditional academic careers, we will create an internship program with existing local bioincubators in Harlem, with the goal of fostering a local neurotechnology industry. This program aims to provide the skilled work force that leads and sustains startup companies, as well as engages with traditional medical electronics and pharmaceutical enterprises.
The outreach mission is to raise public awareness of neuroscience. We will support a new mobile “NeuroBus” with microscopes and neurotechnologies developed in NTC labs, sponsor a BioBase program in Harlem, and have a vibrant outreach program with open days and lectures.
The goal of the NTC is to create transformational technologies for neuroscience by engaging a collaborative and close-knit community of interdisciplinary neurotechnology researchers, educators and entrepreneurs in the greater New York City area.
NeuroTechnology in NYC
A neurotechnology center in the heart of New York City takes advantage of the high concentration of neuroscientists and the largest patient populations, which are critical in developing new techniques.
The area also hosts some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer. Tools will be developed with close feedback from neuroscience researchers, iteratively testing ideas and inventions and leveraging the critical mass of researchers, students, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to spawn new businesses ideas.