Virtual workshop to address methodological opportunities and gaps for measuring how the brain changes throughout life

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Neural recoding probe surrounded by colorful neurons.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to organize the “The Brain Across the Lifespan” online workshop on April 18 and 19. 

Beginning Monday April 18 at 11 a.m. ET, a two-day virtual workshop, “The Brain Across the Lifespan: Tools and Methodologies for Measuring the Changing Brain” will bring together neuroscientists with expertise using a variety of different techniques and model systems to explore approaches to measuring the brain across time and identify unmet technological and conceptual challenges for measurements of changes in the brain. The workshop aims to foster discussion on the methodological hurdles researchers encounter when measuring how the cellular composition of the brain, the connectivity between neurons, and patterns of activity change over the lifespan, and discuss potential avenues to overcome these challenges. 

Workshop Goals 

Humans have an intuitive sense that our brains change as we age, and events early in life may profoundly impact the health of our brains later in life. However, our understanding of the biological basis of these changes is still nascent. 

The development of high-throughput technologies and computational tools have begun to provide exceedingly high-resolution snapshots of the brain’s cellular composition and connectivity as well as brief temporal windows of patterns of neural activity. But how these properties of the nervous system change over a lifetime are not easily measured by existing tools. 

The workshop aims to promote interdisciplinary discussions between experts in tool development and analytical approaches, neurodevelopment, and aging across different model systems as workshop participants explore how the brain changes across the lifespan, with an eye on understanding the developmental antecedents of health and disease outcomes later in life. 

Dr. John Ngai, Director of the NIH BRAIN Initiative, will serve as the closing speaker and provide insights and reflections on the two-day workshop.  

Workshop Details 

To participate in the workshop, please join the livestream at the links below: 

April 18, 2022 (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET): https://videocast.nih.gov/watch=45039 

April 19, 2022 (12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET): https://videocast.nih.gov/watch=45041 

The workshop agenda can be found here, and the list of speakers and panelists can be found here. Registering for the event here will ensure you receive updates about the products emerging from the workshop. 

For program-related questions, please contact Amanda Price, Ph.D. (amanda.price@nih.gov) or Sonia Lee, Ph.D. (sonia.lee@nih.gov).  

For technical assistance, please contact Monica Barnette mbarnette@thebizzellgroup.com