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History and goals of CFIN

Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN) was formed as an extension of a long-lasting scientific collaboration among brain researchers within Aarhus University Hospital. To strengthen this research, an application to The Danish National Research Foundation (Danmarks Grundforskningsfond) was submitted in 2000, co-signed by:

  • Professor Niels Ehlers, Ophthalmology
  • Professor Christian Brahe Pedersen, ENT
  • Professor Jens Astrup, Neurosurgery
  • Professor Johannes Jakobsen, Neurology
  • Professor Leif Østergaard, Neuroradiology Research Unit
  • Professor Albert Gjedde, PET Center Aarhus
  • Professor Carsten Gyldensted, Neuroradiology
  • Professor Raben Rosenberg, Psychiatry
  • Professor Jens Christian Djurhuus, Clinical Institute 

In October 2001 a contract was signed, granting CFIN DKK 33,765,000 to carry out research as defined in a contract. Since then, collaborations have continued to form with other Faculties within Aarhus University, as well as other academic institutions and industry.   

The goals of CFIN

The goal of CFIN is to understand the ability of the human brain to adapt to experience, during normal development, learning and interaction with the surrounding social and physical environment, or due to the biochemical and structural effects of neurological disease or substance abuse.

For historical and methodological reasons, neuroscience typically studies adaptive mechanisms at a certain level of organization, e.g. at a genetic, metabolic, biochemical, cellular, structural or cognitive level. CFINs research has, however, led to an increasing awareness that not only adaptive mechanisms but also the context in which they act, deeply affects the outcome of such traditional studies in neuroscience. For example, the outcome of a traditional cognitive experiment may depend not only on the stimulus but also on the context experienced by the subject. Context may also arise from across levels of organization. The energetics of neurons and astrocytes in functional activation may hence depend intimately on the type of information processed, i.e. require contextual information from a different level of organization to be fully understood.

To fully understand the adaptive brain, we therefore believe that leading researchers and cutting-edge methodology across traditional levels of organization must work closely together to identify adaptive mechanisms as well as - in an integrative approach - the conditioned contexts in which these act to enable the human brain to adapt to change and challenges in the internal and external milieu.

CFIN therefore joins an untraditional range of scientific disciplines, ranging from anthropologists and linguists to doctors and physicists in an effort to study the human brain and human behavior. We aim to identify not only metabolic, biochemical, cellular, haemodynamic, structural and cognitive mechanisms underlying the brains remarkable ability to adapt itself to experience - but also in a cross-disciplinary, integrative approach understand how their expression is modulated by metabolic, biochemical, cellular, haemodynamic, structural or cognitive context.