New Kavli Neuroscience Institute Established in Norway

(Originally published by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

August 14, 2007

In a ceremony held in Trondheim, Norway, the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience was established today at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The new institute is dedicated to advancing our understanding of neural circuits and systems in the brain, in part by enabling the university’s neuroscientists to introduce new experimental and analytical methods in pursuit of research targeted at answering fundamental questions in the field. This includes determining how memory is encoded, stored and retrieved, and how the brain’s navigational system works.

“I am delighted to establish this institute, which we expect to make great future contributions toward further advancing the basic knowledge and understanding of the brain,” said Fred Kavli, founder of The Kavli Foundation. Noting the institute is being established at his alma mater, Kavli added, “I think it’s also important to note that, while it is an added pleasure establishing this institute at a place that provided me many fond personal memories, that is not why this institute is being introduced here. It is because of the world-class neuroscience research being conducted by scientists such as Edvard and May-Britt Moser.”

The institute will be headed by Edvard Moser, who also will continue co-directing NTNU’s Centre for the Biology of Memory – a center that has provided key insights into how spatial location and spatial memory are computed in the brain. One of these insights has led to an immediate revision of well-established views of how the brain calculates position and how the results of these computations are used by memory networks in the hippocampus – an insight that may ultimately benefit the development of tools for diagnostics and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The center and institute will co-exist with the intent of eventually considering a new center that is part of the Kavli institute.

There are now 15 Kavli institutes worldwide dedicated to neuroscience, nanoscience, astrophysics or theoretical physics. The Norwegian institute is the fourth Kavli institute dedicated to neuroscience, joining the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale University, the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University, and the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at the University of California, San Diego.

Internationally, Kavli institutes are based at the following academic and research institutions: (US) California Institute of Technology; Columbia University; Cornell University; Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University; University of Chicago; University of California, San Diego; University of California, Santa Barbara; Yale University; (UK) Cambridge University; (Netherlands) Delft University of Technology; (Norway) Norwegian University of Science and Technology; (China) Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing; Peking University.

"The Kavli Foundation has established research institutes at leading universities worldwide,” said Øystein Djupedal, Norway’s Minister of Education and Research. “These are institutes of excellence and we are honored that the Institute for Systems Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology will form part of the family of prestigious Kavli institutes."

NTNU press release