Open Science, New Tools: See you at the 2022 BRAIN Meeting!

From June 21-22, 2022, NIH will host the 8th Annual Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative Meeting: Open Science, New Tools with an exciting all-virtual format. While we’d hoped to run a hybrid event this year, the decision to shift to the all-virtual format was made in consideration of recent increase in COVID-19 case levels. This will enable us to make the meeting accessible to as many people as possible and disseminate the progress of the NIH BRAIN Initiative to the global neuroscience community.

The 2022 meeting follows last year’s successful all-virtual meeting, which included over 3,500 registered attendees. The web-based platform will leverage technologic innovations to stimulate conversations, generate buzz around new scientific results, and forge relationships for new collaborations. As in previous years, the 2022 meeting is open to the public and free to attend, so please register here, and join over 2,300 participants (and counting!) who have already signed up.

Side view of a brain schematic in seven colors with nodes and connections outlined.

This year’s meeting program includes plenary talks addressing:

  • Peripheral Neuroimmune Interactions that Drive Itch and Inflammation” by Diana Bautista, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley;
  • Neural Dynamics of Memory Formation in the Primate Hippocampus” by Elizabeth Buffalo, Ph.D., Wayne E. Crill Endowed Professor and Chair in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington School of Medicine; and
  • Rewiring Neural Circuits in Health and Disease” by Kafui Dzirasa, M.D., Ph.D., K. Ranga Rama Krishnan Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center.

We’re also excited that this year’s agenda incorporates four, dedicated, one hour virtual poster sessions with 400 presenters sharing their science! Posters as organized by BRAIN Priority Areas (Cell Type, Circuit Diagrams, Monitor Neural Activity, Interventional Tools, Theory Data Analysis Tools, Human Neuroscience, Integrated Approaches, Neuroethics, and Trainee Highlight Awards).

In addition, attendee-organized symposia will feature emerging focus areas for the BRAIN Initiative. Some of these topics will include:

  • BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) Resources;
  • Neural Mechanisms that Generate Internal States Across Organisms;
  • Advancing our Understanding of the Brain and Behavior Through Connectomics;
  • Behavioral Quantification: from Tracking to Understanding.

Along with these symposia, 30 Trainee Highlight Awardees representing the neuroscience and neuroethics vanguard will present their latest advances during two symposia and with an additional 30 amazing trainees in a specialty poster session. We will announce the winners of the Show Us Your BRAINs! Photo & Video Contest, an effort in its fourth year for the BRAIN community to showcase eye-catching image and video entries, some using technologies that were developed with BRAIN Initiative support. The 2021 photo and video winners are highlighted in this message, and you can learn more about all of the 2021 finalists in this article and even download a calendar (2022) showcasing beautiful scientific images.  

2021 First Place Photo Winner: “Thinking About A Greener Future”

A coronal slice of mouse brain tissue displaying neurons and cell nuclei.

Pictured above is a slice of mouse brain tissue displaying neurons (red) and cell nuclei (blue). Credit: Allen Yen, Ph.D. Candidate, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

Finally, I am excited to join Drs. John Ngai (NIH BRAIN Initiative Director), Debara Tucci (NIDCD Director), and Richard Hodes (NIA Director) to announce the winners from the second BRAIN Initiative Challenge during the meeting. This challenge invited U.S. high school students from all backgrounds to submit an essay or video envisioning current and/or near-future states of brain technologies and the ethical dilemmas they may bring. The winners, selected from a pool of many talented high school students, will be in attendance to showcase a segment of their winning essays or videos.

NIH, including the ten Institutes and Centers supporting The BRAIN Initiative®, is proud to host this free event. We especially applaud the program committee and staff who have been hard at work for the last year to plan a successful virtual meeting experience. Please also be on the lookout for a message from NIH BRAIN Director Dr. John Ngai in the weeks following the meeting. For more information about the 2022 BRAIN Initiative Meeting: Open Science, New Tools, please visit the meeting website. Hope to e-see you there!

2021 First Place Video Winner: DBS Lead Placement for OCD

This video shows a 360-degree view of the brain of a person with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and repetitive behaviors. Credit: Nicole Provenza, Raissa Mathura, Noam Peled, Evan Dastin-van Rijn, Kelly Bijanki, Sameer Sheth, David Borton, and Wayne Goodman, Brown University, Providence, RI, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, MGH/HST Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Charlestown, MA.