Leaders of Major Brain Initiatives Convene for “Global Meeting of the Minds” at Braintech 2015

Total of $300,000 Also Awarded at Conference for Annual Mathematical Neuroscience Prize and Adelis Brain Research Award.

The leaders of a number of major brain initiatives agreed today that they must join forces to take on brain-related afflictions affecting over a billion people worldwide. The leaders were taking part in a unique “Global Meeting of the Minds” panel at the BrainTech 2015 Conference in Tel Aviv organized by Israel’s brain initiative, Israel Brain Technologies.

Congressman Chaka Fattah, Shimon Peres, and Rafi Gidron at BrainTech2015

Congressman Chaka Fattah, Shimon Peres, and Rafi Gidron at BrainTech2015

The historic global brainstorm was moderated by Dr. Rafi Gidron, leading Israeli entrepreneur and founder of Israel Brain Technologies, with the participation of Professor Henry Markram, Director of the E.U.’s Human Brain Project, U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Architect of the White House Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience, Ms. Inez Jabalpurwala, CEO of Brain Canada, John Jeans, Life Sciences Champion for MedTech Appointed by the U.K. Prime Minister, and Allan Jones, CEO of the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

“We are here because we are committed to unlocking the mysteries of the brain,” said Inez Jabalpurwala, CEO of Brain Canada. “It is the last frontier.”

“I’m excited to be here because the industry is not going to wait for academia. It’s going to drag it,” said Prof. Henry Markram, Director of the EU Human Brain Project. “There is no Einstein of the brain. It requires us getting around the same table. We have been able to take the brain initiative from over the horizon and put it on the horizon and put a bull’s-eye on it.”

“To gather together the minds that exist and see how we can tackle these ailments together… that is the work that is in front of us; to have a map of the human brain, an understanding of the roadways and an understanding of the traffic on the roadways,” said U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Architect of the White House Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience.

“Brain-related illness such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, brain trauma and others know no borders, and neither can their cures,” added Dr. Rafi Gidron, Chairman of Israel Brain Technologies. “By the same token, creativity, invention, innovation and imagination also know no borders and therefore, initiatives seeking the next big thing in brain technology should by definition be global endeavors.”

BrainTech 2015 is a global conference organized by Israel Brain Technologies (IBT) to explore ways in which brain technology will change the human landscape. The conference joins stakeholders from around the world to support the entire lifecycle of innovation in brain technologies.

President Shimon Peres, whose vision of turning Israel into a worldwide braintech hub – from “Startup Nation” to “Brain Nation” – inspired the creation of IBT, laid out his vision for the future of brain technology during a “fireside chat” at the conference. “We have in Israel right now over a hundred companies that are dealing with the brain, we have brain faculties in every university,” said President Peres. “This is only the beginning. We are a startup in the brain.”

Two major neuroscience prizes were awarded during the conference to promising researchers from Israel and the U.S., marking IBT’s commitment to excellence in neuroscience research. The prizes acknowledge the work of neuroscientists and mathematicians whose research advance our understanding of the human brain as well as solutions, treatments, and cures for various brain-related ailments.

The $100,000 Mathematical Neuroscience Prize was awarded to Prof. Nancy Kopell of Boston University for her work in mathematical analysis of the nervous system functions, and to Prof. Bard Ermentrout from the University of Pittsburgh for his classic work in mathematical biology. Each received a $100,000 prize.

The $100,000 Adelis Brain Research Award was presented to Dr. Ami Citri of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for outstanding work in the field of experience-dependent plasticity and its impact on diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders. The Citri lab develops unique multi-disciplinary approaches to studying the encoding of experiences in the brain, and has developed a unique system to study the basis of selective attention, which was recognized by the Adelis Award.

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