Human brains are a complex paradox: both exquisitely adept and exceptionally vulnerable. We are capable of music, art, mathematics, dance and other remarkable feats. But we also are at risk for a host of diseases, from autism during childhood to Alzheimer’s later in life. At the Salk Institute, we illuminate how genes control neurons, how neural circuits process information and how our brains enable us to move and make decisions. We chart different types of cells in the brain and have made strides in understanding how immune processes can affect our neural function. We also develop new tools and use advanced computational techniques to better understand this “black box” of biology. By combining these approaches, we are making rapid progress in decoding the brain.