State of NRW funds „iBehave“ research network
The North Rhine-Westphalian state government is supporting five outstanding research networks in pioneering research fields with a total of 81.2 million euros. Among them is „iBehave,“ led by the University of Bonn, which is being supported with around 20 million euros. The collaborative project focuses on how the brain controls the behavior of humans and animals.
„We are very pleased that our iBehave collaborative project is now being funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian state government,“ says Prof. Dr. Ilona Grunwald Kadow from the Institute of Physiology II at the University of Bonn. „Together with our collaborative partners, we now have the opportunity to fundamentally study the behavioral adaptations of humans and animals to their environment at the neurological level.“
Humans and animals live in a constantly changing environment. The ability to flexibly adapt behavior to changing demands is critical for all organisms to thrive and survive. Consequently, humans and animals have evolved the ability to make decisions that weigh benefits and costs based on expectations. Difficulties in making such decisions and in implementing them through adaptive motor control are central features of many neurological diseases, yet the underlying processes in the brain are poorly understood. In iBehave, researchers are collaborating across disciplines and species to study survival-related behaviors and their underlying neural networks.
„We want to use computer science and artificial intelligence to better understand how the brain controls behaviors such as decision-making,“ says Prof. Grunwald Kadow, who is also a member of the Transdisciplinary Research Area „Life and Health“ at the University of Bonn. In the next step, the researchers want to transfer their findings to the diagnosis and prediction of neurological diseases in humans. In the medium term, iBehave researchers want to take their technologies and findings out of the lab and into the clinic. „We are convinced that our methods of analyzing behavior and brain activity could represent or bring about a paradigm shift in diagnosis and therapy.“
The aim of the funding program is to sustainably strengthen existing topic-related and cross-location research networks of universities, universities of applied sciences and non-university research institutes, to expand them and to increase their visibility and international competitiveness. The support is scheduled to run for four years from August 2022.
In addition to the University of Bonn, iBehave involves the University of Cologne, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases e. V. (DZNE), the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, the Max Planck Institute for the Neurobiology of Behavior – caesar and the Technical University of Aachen.
Prof. Dr. Ilona Grunwald Kadow
Institute of Physiology II
University of Bonn