Disentangling the brain


The incorporation of cellular, molecular, computational and systems biology into the study of the nervous system has greatly accelerated our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development and functioning of the neural systems that make up the brain. However, we are still far from a complete understanding of brain function and many of the basic rules that neurons use to generate behaviour remain undetermined. Perhaps for this reason, the elucidation of the causes of neurological and psychiatric disorders lags behind other diseases and remains currently a challenge. A huge breakthrough in both neurology and psychiatry is expected in the coming decades, and it is urgent, as brain diseases are by far the most emotionally, economically and socially costly group of diseases.

Therefore, an intensive scientific effort is needed to understand not only the normal but also the abnormal behaviours that emanate from impaired brain function. This effort must range from the study of molecular, cellular and network mechanisms to social and environmental determinants. Research that unravels the essential underpinnings of the disease will lead to therapies, devices and care that can prevent, delay or reverse its course.

The mission of the Cajal International Neuroscience Center (CINC) is to provide the basic knowledge necessary to understand how the brain works and how behaviours arise. This knowledge will make possible the prevention of the most devastating neurological and mental diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, addictive behaviours, schizophrenia, autism or depression.