Global Neuroscience: Accelerating Bain Science Discovery

This was a very interesting session highlighting the importance of international coordination and collaboration in order to achieve better management of experimental data generated by different neurolabs.
My understanding is that the group organizing the current AAAS session focuses mainly on animal models and how to exchange detailed brain imaging data from small rodents that can be used to calibrate brain models. Obviously, the ability to use multi-lab data to build realistic models of fundamental brain functions is crucial for the advancement of the field and it appears to me that it might be useful to articulate these efforts with the somewhat similar LORIS project, that is aiming at establishing protocols for the exchange of human brain imaging data to expand the empirical basis of fMRI studies. The complexity of the data is huge and there are important ethical issues associated with the exchange of human brain imaging data but the high cost of the research suggests that adequate data exchange across laboratories is the way to go.


Materials from the official AAAS 2019 program

Session’s abstract
Understanding how the brain works is one of today’s grand scientific challenges and has spurred a global explosion of growth in neuroscience. Countries around the world are investing in basic research and neurotechologies through large-scale projects in North America, Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. Many neuroscience researchers and research funders believe that a global effort is needed to allow for critical breakthroughs to maximize the impact of new discoveries, and to increase the return on investment in neuroscience research that will ultimately benefit society as a whole. In 2017, representatives from the world’s major brain projects made a formal declaration to establish an International Brain Initiativeto foster coordination and collaboration across these projects. This session highlights the outcomes of these large-scale investments and the impact of global collaborations. Speakers will present cutting-edge discoveries made possible by international collaborations, and explore the progress and challenges faced by both individual scientists and country specific initiatives, as they work across geographic and cultural divides.
From the official AAAS 2019 program:
https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2019/meetingapp.cgi/Session/21864

A new model for international collaboration i neuroscience

Dr. Michael Häusser is Professor of Neuroscience at University College London and the Facilitator of the International Brain Laboratory (IBL). Dr. Hausser will present the vision of IBL and describe progress towards its goal to enable experimentalists and theorists to work together to transcend boundaries between laboratories and countries in order to understand the neural basis of decisionmaking.
(https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2019/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/24171)

Michael Häusser
Foto: Francisco de Lacerda

The Korea initiative and global collaboration

Dr. Sung-jin Jeong is the Director of the Brain Research Policy Center at the Korea Brain Research Institute. She has also been leading the effort to develop and launch the Korea Brain Initiative. Dr. Jeong will present on the scientific plan for the Korea Brain Initiative and opportunities for international collaboration.
(https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2019/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/23905)

Sung-jin Jeong
Foto: Francisco de Lacerda

Toward circuit optogenetics

Dr. Valentina Emiliani is the Director of the Neurophotonics Laboratory at the Paris Descartes University and works at the interface of physics and biology. She develops novel microscopy techniques for neurophysiology, including a three-dimensional holographic illumination method used for manipulating individual neurons in circuits. Dr. Emiliani will present her cutting-edge advances and the necessary future developments in circuit optogenetics.
(https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2019/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/23908)

Valentina Emiliani
Foto: Francisco de Lacerda
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AAAS 2019: Science Transcending Boudaries

Opening session

Over 1000 attendees have gathered and are now waiting for the AAAS 2019’s opening session to begin.

The very crowded ballroom where the opening session is about to start.

Welcome, prizes and speeches

The Philip Hague Abelson Prize for 2019 was given to Cato T. Laurencin.

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke diplomatically about the importance of symbiotic cooperation between industrial and scientific partners, a much needed force to counter the current diverging forces.

Margaret A. Hamburg, AAAS President, was more direct to the point and contrasted J. F. Kennedy’s interest in promoting scientific development for the good of mankind with the current adminstration’s troubling uninterest for evidence-based decisions, ignorance of scientific facts and dangerous spreading of misconceptions that endanger people’s lives.

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AAAS 2019 in Washington DC is about to start

This morning at 07.00 it was still quiet. The registration for this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science opened later, at 07:30, but there was already at breakfast the usual vibrating atmosphere of engaged scientists.

Registration desks, still quiet this early

Now the first pre-meeting session is going on. The theme is “Communicating Science and Policy”. We are learning from the panel about the importance of educating politicians, meeting with them and following up the meetings as a continuous process of mutual interest. Not surprisingly, there is a general agreement, both in the panel and the delegates, on that such contacts are important for factual-based decisions and also to provide researchers with an understanding of how policy and funding decisions are achieved.

The three 10-minute presentations from the panel triggered a very long and broad list of oral and twitter questions to the session’s organizers. Many personal experiences and useful recommendations are being presented and discussed. Of course, the themes and solutions are not totally new for researchers who have considered the issues of communicating science but they are a good reminder of the importance of these questions and that there is a large body of engaged scientists. The involvement and enthusiasm of our american colleagues is very good news and I am hopefull that they will succeed in their efforts to educate the public and the politicians that represent them.

An interesting aspect raised by a member of the audience was the need to draw a line between unacceptable lobbying and educational meetings with decision makers. High integrity and ethic standards apply here too, of course!

Looks like this will be a giving meeting, although it has not yet started officially.

Great to have the opportunity to be part of this!

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OHBM 2018 in Singapore

21 June was our last day in Singapore after an amazing week at the OHBM 2018 conference! OHBM 2018 brought together for a few days a wide multidisciplinary community dedicated to the study of the brain — brain function, morphology, evolution, modelling, etc. and it is reassuring that SUBIC is right on spot in providing a brain imaging infrastructure for fundamental academic research on brain morphology and function.

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SUBIC is Stockholm University’s research infrastructure promoting multidisciplinary fundamental research on the brain and its function. Its 360 m2 area at the Arrhenius Laboratory building, Stockholm University, Frescati, is being built to accommodate the University’s modern and functional Brain Imaging Centre.

In addition to its advanced equipment, SUBIC will provide highly qualified technical, methodological, analytical and practical assistance that will make SUBIC an available and useful tool for research in neurology, psychology, law, cognition, engineering, mathematics, neuronal networks, chemistry, physics, artificial intelligence, zoology, linguistics, literature, fashion, economics and decision-making, philosophy, etc.

Starting in September/October 2018, fundamental scientific questions involving brain morphology, evolution and function will be studied in SUBIC on a wide variety of species, from fruit flies to humans.

For further information or preliminary booking of resources, contact SUBIC’s Lab Manager.

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Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM)

SUBIC (Stockholm University Brain Imaging Centre) is attending the OHBM conference in Singapore. Our immediate goal at this stage is networking with international research groups of potential relevance for SUBIC.

Karl Friston’s opening keynote lecture “I am, therefore I think”, was right on target for SUBIC. It followed on his “free energy” theme and showed how deeply phylosophical questions can be successfully addressed using brain imaging technologies — very good and inspring news for SUBIC and its efforts to promote multidisciplinary research calling for a clear role for the Humanities.

SUBIC will start operating in September 2018. For further information, contact Elin Kihlgren via e-mail elin.kihlgren@su.se or personally here at OBHM.

Elin Kihlgren, SUBIC Lab manager

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Curious about the “yanny/laurel” effect?

Good! For a deeper understanding of this and many other speech perception phenomena, study Experimental Phonetics at Stockholm University, Department of Linguistics.

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Look for the upcoming application period: Sen anmälan

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Welcome to the Department of Linguistics’ multidisciplinary education and research on Acoustic, Articulatory and Perceptual Phonetics!

For an explanation of the effect, check “Därför kan vi inte skilja på Laurel och Yanny – DN.SE” (in Swedish)

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AAAS 2018: Closing the conference

Årets AAAS är nu avslutat. Det har varit ett fullspäckat schema för att försöka hänga med så mycket som möjligt och samtidigt interagera med andra konferensdeltagare. En konstant känsla av att inte hinna vara med på alla intressanta men konkurrerande sessioner blandad med något av litet dåligt samvete för att ha stannat upp och diskuterat med andra forskare.

Det har varit en allvarlig och hoppfull stämning genom hela konferensen om att god vetenskap kommer att segra! Det avspeglade sig i nästan varenda plenarsession, särskilt de som rörde klimatforskning och presentation av vetenskapliga resultat för allmänheten.

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Den absoluta sista dagen ägnades åt en del guidade besök till labbar, arkeologiska utgrävningar, museer, osv, under ledningen av forskare som hade deltagit i konferensen.

Tack för i år!

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