See you at the Ninth Annual BRAIN Initiative Meeting!

On June 12-13, 2023, NIH will host the 9th Annual Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative Meeting. NINDS is one of the 10 participating NIH Institutes and Centers supporting The BRAIN Initiative®, an ambitious national science project to map, monitor and modulate brain circuits. The meeting will take place virtually and in person in Bethesda, Maryland, at which the latest advances will be discussed, as well as their medical, social and ethical implications. We’re excited to welcome attendees back in person for the first time since 2019, both to foster opportunities for the cross-cutting, collaborative nature of BRAIN-supported research, and to support the importance of this meeting in cultivating synergy across disciplines and teams.

The 2023 hybrid meeting follows last year’s successful all-virtual meeting, which included over 2600 registered attendees. I am grateful for the gradual return of in-person meetings, which will include satellite events and organic networking. These gatherings provide invaluable opportunities for connecting and collaborating across the neuroscience and BRAIN communities, while also enabling virtual capabilities based on our lessons learned over the last three years.

As in previous years, the 2023 meeting is open to the public and free to attend. In fact, this year’s meeting was so popular, we closed in-person registration early! But you can still attend virtually, so please register here, and join the 2000+ participants who have already signed up.

This year’s meeting program includes plenary talks addressing:

  • “The Battle for your Brain” by Nita Farahany, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Law & Philosophy at Duke University
  • “Psychiatric Neuromodulation: Pushing the Limits of Personalization” by Sameer Anil Sheth, M.D., Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine
  • “Circuit Mechanisms for Flexible and Adaptive Behaviors” by Vanessa Ruta, Ph.D., Professor of Neurophysiology and Behavior at The Rockefeller University/Howard Hughes Medical Institute

We’re excited that this year’s agenda incorporates three dedicated poster sessions with over 500 presenters sharing their science in person and virtually. Also be sure to visit a selection of in-person and virtual exhibit booths to learn about the scientific endeavors of participating organizations. I am looking forward to opportunities for stimulating conversations, generating buzz around new scientific results, and forging relationships for new collaborations.

There will be several opportunities throughout the meeting to engage with poster presenters, exhibitors, speakers, and networking with peers. On Sunday, June 11, there will be a networking event, “BRAIN, Neuroscience, and Beyond: Building Our Early Career Community.” This in-person event will give trainees and early career investigators a chance to socialize and network with one another and BRAIN Initiative staff. This special event will include peer-mentor matching and information about BRAIN Initiative funding opportunities for all career stages. On Tuesday, June 13, there will also be a Meet the Funders session, an informal, in-person event for trainees and researchers to meet NIH program staff to learn about funding opportunities.

In addition, this year’s attendee-organized symposia sessions are an exciting chance to learn about emerging and timely topics for the BRAIN community. This year’s topics include:

  • Cellular Atlasing and Analysis in Human and Non-human Primate Brain
  • The Octopus Brain: Genomics, Connectomics, and Function
  • Functional Manipulation of the CNS: Theory of the Mind Meets Clinical Intervention
  • Human Neuroscience in the Wild
  • Sensing, Controlling and Integrating Brain Processes with Biological Light
  • Reproducible Workflows for Collaborative Neuroscience

There will also be a number of focused specialty sessions organized by federal and non-federal organizations, including BRAIN Initiative Alliance partners. This year’s sessions include:

  • A First Look at the Allen Brain Cell Atlas: Multimodal Visual Analysis at Whole-Brain Scale
  • Data Science Consortium Workshop
  • The National Science Foundation Program on Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems
  • Technology and Resource Dissemination: Best Practices and Lessons Learned
  • Introduction to the NIH and BRAIN Ecosystem for Translation
  • Public Engagement Models for the Benefit of BRAIN Initiative Science

Along with these symposia and focused sessions, 30 Trainee Highlight Awardees representing the neuroscience and neuroethics vanguard will present their latest advances during two sessions. We will announce the winners of the Show Us Your BRAINs! Photo & Video Contest, an effort in its fifth year for the BRAIN community to showcase eye-catching image and video entries, some using technologies that were developed with BRAIN Initiative support. The 2022 photo and video winners are highlighted in this message, and you can learn about all of the 2022 finalists in this article and even download a 2023 BRAIN Initiative calendar showcasing beautiful scientific images.

2022 First Place Photo Winner: “The Intersection of Memory and Memory”

A picture of blue, green, and red neurons from mouse hippocampus, visualized under the microscope and using viral technology and optogenetics.
This photo shows two memories captured under the microscope; peering into the hippocampus of a mouse using viral technology and optogenetics. Credit: Stephanie Grella, Boston University

2022 First Place Video Winner: “Neurons in Action”


This video shows functional activity measured in vivo with 2-photon imaging with matching morphologies from the same neurons measured with electron microscopy. Credit: Andreas Tolias, Jacob Reimer, R.J. Cotton, Xaq Pitow, Nuno da Costa, Forrest Collman, Clay Reid, and Sebastian Seung, Baylor College of Medicine, Allen Institute, Princeton University, Northwestern University/Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

We especially applaud the program committee and staff who have been hard at work for the last year to plan a successful hybrid meeting experience. For more information about the 2023 BRAIN Initiative Meeting, please visit the meeting website. Hope to see you there – either virtually or in person.

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