President Obama has proposed a major initiative to map the inner workings of the brain. Funding supported by public and private sources could amount to $1 billion or more over a span of a decade. San Diego could both contribute in a major way to this effort and be a prime beneficiary.
The region already possesses some of the leading neuroscientists and institutions that are likely to be driving forces behind the undertaking and could develop it into a major cluster for the area’s economy. The Salk Institute and Qualcomm, for example, will be pivotal players in a public private partnership. Although tangible benefits could take many years to achieve, the ultimate benefits in finding cures for problems ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease to autism and schizophrenia could be enormous.
This effort should also be pursued in collaboration with the other regional research efforts in brain chemistry, physiology, and pharmacology. It will be a difficult and complex task, but we are certainly up to the challenge.