[event] Brain Forum to Transform Rome in the “Davos of the Brain”

April 15, 2010

in Events, News

A new and exciting event has been launched in Rome: Brain Forum. “The idea is to create a sort of Davos of the brain (referring to the World Economic Forum of Davos, Ed.) or the Roma del Cervello in Italian” says Viviana Kasam, founder of Brain Forum and Brain Circle Italia, a non-profit organization that aims  promote the activities of  the Interdisciplinary Center for Neuronal Computation (ICNC), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, by organizing scientific and academic exchanges, meetings, fund-raising and keeping relations with academic institutions, business community and media. The event is organized with the collaboration of the Rome Chamber of Commerce and the marvelous team of Meet The Media Guru, with whom I had the pleasure to work in the past.

Why Brain Forum

Viviana quotes Prof. Idan Segev that claims that “We approach a brain-revolution, probably greater than the industrial and information revolutions. Society must be ready for this as it will change in the most dramatic manner the way we will live in the near future. It is the duty of brain scientists to communicate this revolution to society.”

These topics are not very well known. Until now it was believed that the brain studies and development was practically in a standstill, that there are a certain number of neurons, that progressively die and after that there’s nothing else that can be done. Well, recent discoveries have shown that the brain is rather plastic. It’s true that neurons die irreversibly but new synapses are continuously made, which means new connections. Research, through new technology, is finding ways to increase this capacity as a means to fight brain illnesses.

Brain studies involve a new kind of scientist very similar to the Renaissance scientist, what Prof. Segev calls a Da Vinci Scientist. According to Dr. Kasam “so far  scientific research  has been very sectorialized but brain-related research is bringing together physiologists, biologists, molecular biologists, neuroscientists, mathematicians, computer experts and other specialists plus new very complex technology so the scope is to hold all of these capacities if not under the same person at least under one roof. All major universities that deal with brain research are building multi-disciplinary centers to allow the interaction between these experts. A virtual community of brain-experts in continuous contact was born, and it’s allowing an exponential advancement in research projects. New technologies like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Ed.) allow us to explore certain areas of the brain until now completely unknown”.

Confronted with this reality I decided to promote it because it concerns all of us, especially our children

Why in Rome

I do it in Rome as a matter of love. Italy is one of the most discredited countries in the world regarding science and research, let’s make it shine again! There are lots of Italian scientists around the world that left the country and stayed abroad. I want to bring them back here. Through Brain Forum I’d like to position Rome as an important center for the diffusion of brain-related information.

This first edition will also celebrate Rita Levi Montalcini‘s 1o1 birthday! A woman, a renowned scientist and an Italian. Her studies on the NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) are opening up interesting perspectives for the treatment of Alzheimer and other neuro-degenerative diseases.

This initiative is made possible also by the fact that the Rome Chamber of Commerce has fallen in love with the project: they are dedicating money, public space and resources to help me and a group of enthusiast volunteers to make things happen.

The Audience

Ideally I would have liked to make it at a bigger venue, open not only to scientists and researches but also to the general public. This first edition will take place at Temple of Hadrian and will be dedicated to industry experts. If the idea works well, we’ll extend it to a broader audience.

Goals of the First Edition

Make people aware that there is a revolution of the brain going on. To become a central point for the dissemination of information amongst scientists who meet each other and the promotion of research studies. Also to introduce Brain Circle Italia, that aims to help disseminate research on the brain and support it through scholarships and other activities.

Brain Forum takes place in Rome on April 23, 2010, and will bring 16 amongst the top brain researchers in the world, including Rita Levi Montalcini, Idan Segev, Gianni Broggi, Ed Boyden and Mitsuo Kawato. Click here for the complete list of speakers.

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