Recent IBI Highlights
10 March 2023
The 8th Annual Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative Meeting was virtually held June 21-22, 2022, with over 1,400 investigators, trainees, agency representatives, members of the media, non-government organizations, and members of the public participating from around the world.
Dr. John Ngai, Director of the NIH BRAIN Initiative, kicked off the meeting by emphasizing the importance of virtual connection and scientific collaboration leading the way to amazing new innovations in neuroscience – which would be highlighted throughout the two-day meeting program.
There were three plenary keynote presentations and six symposia talks, each focused on new and exciting breakthroughs in science and technology made possible by the Initiative. In addition to the poster sessions, the NIH BRAIN Initiative announced the winners of the 2022 BRAIN Initiative Challenge and the Show Us Your BRAINs! Photo & Video Contest. The specialty sessions included a panel organized by the International Neuroethics Society (INS) to discuss the responsible use of advances in brain science as well as a screening of the educational film The Brain Mappers. To learn more about the 2022 BRAIN Meeting and the upcoming 2023 BRAIN Meeting, including access to meeting content and registration, please visit the BRAIN Initiative Alliance event page.
The IBI Data Standards and Sharing Working Group (WG) arranged a satellite symposium open to all SfN attendees and a joint meeting with the IBI Funders Collective at the Neuroscience 2022 meeting in San Diego. The events were sponsored by the IBI, Japan Brain MINDS, Brain/MINDS Beyond, and INCF.
The satellite symposium (November 14, 2022) brought together researchers, administrators and funders involved or interested in data gathering, sharing and utilization to exchange the challenges and opportunities in international data sharing and to discuss how to establish an international data governance framework.
The joint meeting (November 15, 2022) showed the achievements and future directions for the WG activities and discussed funding and other needs for the proposed activities.
The IBI Data Standards and Sharing WG is on the verge of the next phase and these two events are playing critical roles in establishing connections with broad neuroscience communities and potential funders and for sculpting the future directions of this WG.
The first Emotional Brain in Human Health and Disease Working Group Conference took place from September 21-23, 2022 at the Korean Brain Research Institute (KBRI) in Daegu, South Korea. The conference aimed to bring global scientists together in order to catalyze and advance neuroscience research through international collaboration and knowledge sharing.
For the first IBI Daegu conference, we had 2 plenary lecturers: Linda J. Richards, a founding member and spokesperson for the International Brain Initiative (Washington University at St. Louis) and Alan P. Jasanoff (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). There were 5 symposia and 2 poster sessions where we discussed how emotional behaviors are modulated in health and disease, updating state-of-the-art headways and new concepts in the field of neuroscience.
The Brain Initiative receives new funding! China is leading the IBI Working Group for Mesoscopic Mapping of Non-human Primate Brain (Brain Mapping Working Group) for transcriptome and connectome mapping of the non-human primate brain at the single-cell level. This IBI Working Group will develop international collaboration for mapping the cell types and their spatial distribution and connectivity across the whole brain of various species of non-human primates (particularly macaques and marmosets). The project was initiated by Drs. Mu-ming Poo and Qing-ming Luo on the basis of the newly developed techniques and initial results on the whole-brain spatial transcriptome and connectome of the macaque brain at the single-cell resolution, as well as recent developments of several macaque models of brain disorders.
While the past few years of the pandemic have impacted most organisations, including the Australian Brain Alliance (ABA), we have continued to make progress on various fronts. Highlights include key publications in leading journals and The Australian Quarterly, the latter within which we promote the necessity to grow and support an active Early-Mid Career Researcher brain science community to ensure the future of Australian research and industry. Our thriving early-mid career (EMCR) Brain Sciences Network presents regular webinars discussing job and career pathways, while we continue to advocate for a sustained Australian Brain Initiative. Notably in 2022 we re-engaged with the Australian Academy of Science, with the Alliance now emerging, invigorated and ready to face a new period of growth where we will be able to advocate actively and directly once again. In 2023 you will see us engaging our institutions and federal government representatives, working closely and actively within working groups including data standards and sharing and neuroethics, and expanding our EMCR talks to cross international borders.
Canadian Brain Research Strategy
The leadership of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS) gathered for a retreat at the CERVO Brain Research Centre in Quebec City on November 21-22, 2022 to deliberate on the emerging national research strategy for brain and mental health (see snapshot of stakeholder consultations). The assembly brought together leaders in brain science from across the country, including directors and early career researchers from neuroscience and mental health institutes, Indigenous Knowledges Holders Group members, and patient representatives to align on the path towards achieving a brain research initiative for Canada.
Dr. Jennie Z. Young, the Executive Director of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (CBRS), was invited to appear before the House of Commons of Canada Standing Committee on Science & Research (SRSR Committee) on January 31st, 2022. The SRSR Committee is comprised of Members of Parliament across all political parties. In the current study, the committee aimed to learn about International Moonshot Programs that aim to “resolve difficult environmental and social problems, set ambitious research and development programs, and attract researchers from around the world”. The SRSR Committee also aims to make recommendations to Government on what a “moonshot program” could look like here in Canada. Dr. Young spoke on the enormous societal challenge and urgent need to understand the brain - in health, development, disease, and resilience – as imperative moonshot that will be critical to Canada’s success and well-being in the 21st century. Thirteen health charities and non-profit organizations supporting research and services for brain disorders submitted briefs in alignment with this call. The brief submitted by the CBRS can be downloaded here.
The EU Flagship Human Brain Project has continued to develop and expand its EBRAINS Research Infrastructure with tools and services made openly available to the global neuroscience community. The HBP Education Programme has delivered innovative learning packages for master's-level and PhD students, as well as early post-doctoral researchers, working in and across the fields of neuroscience, information and communications technology (ICT) and medicine. All events have been open for researchers outside of HBP and many have primarily targeted the broader research community. Activities include EBRAINS Workshops, HBP Curriculum on Interdisciplinary Brain Science, HBP Student Conference, Young Researchers Events, and EBRAINS Infrastructure Training Events. Video material from HBP Education Programme activities is collected and made available to the public via the HBP Education Programme E-Library.
With HBP ending in September 2023, the representation in the IBI will be continued by the EBRAINS Central hub in Brussels, Belgium, and EBRAINS Nodes across Europe.