DARPA’s SUBNETS program (short for Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies) will fund teams of researchers to develop brain interfaces, computational models of brain activity and clinical therapies for illnesses, including depression, chronic pain, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The project is part of the Obama administration’s BRAIN Initiative, a collaborative effort between government agencies and industry to revolutionize understanding of the human brain.
“The neurotechnologies we will work to develop under SUBNETS could give new tools to the medical community to treat patients who don’t respond to other therapies, and new knowledge to the neuroscience community to expand the understanding of brain function,” Justin Sanchez, the DARPA program manager for SUBNETS, said in a statement.
In health and disease, brain activity is not confined to distinct parts of the brain, but rather, is distributed over different neural systems. The brain is also very plastic â€” it can adapt its anatomy and physiology over time. The SUBNETS program will take advantage of these brain characteristics to develop treatments, inspired by deep-brain stimulation, for neural illnesses that aim to restore normal brain function, program officials said.