Looking ahead: ‘The developing brain in health and disease’ - a scientific meeting

The Academy of Medical Sciences is holding a two-day meeting to explore key areas of neurodevelopmental research. We hear from the co-Chairs of the meeting, Professor Sir Michael Owen FMedSci FLSW and Professor Kate Storey FMedSci FRSE, about what they are most looking forward to.

‘The developing brain in health and disease’ is the Academy’s first meeting of this kind.  It will provide a unique forum, emphasising discussion and collaboration between disciplines, career stages and sectors, specifically to accelerate developments in the field. The meeting aims to: 

  • Highlight the latest advances in understanding brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders and identify the key opportunities for future research.
  • Foster innovative collaborations by bringing together researchers from different backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Inspire the next generation of researchers by developing their understanding of, and engagement with, other relevant disciplines and allowing them to interact with leaders in their field.
  • Identify key research questions in neurodevelopment, and raise awareness of possible solutions from across the scientific community.

Ahead of the meeting, Professor Sir Michael Owen FMedSci FLSW, said:

“There is huge potential to leverage advances in neuroscience and genetics to understand both normal and abnormal development of the brain. With advances in ‘big data’, we are now able to carry out large-scale studies of human cohorts and to integrate data on clinical outcomes with those from brain imaging, cognition and genomics. 

“This meeting will be instrumental in sharing knowledge about recent advances in understanding how the brain develops. Bringing together experts from across the globe, we will discuss the implications of advances in neuroscience, genomics and data science for neurodevelopment disorders such as autism, ADHD and intellectual disability.”

Professor Kate Storey FMedSci FRSE, added:

“The Academy’s upcoming meeting on the developing brain will encompass a great mix of research in the field, from genomics and cell biology to cognition and behaviour. Hearing from experts working on neural development at different levels and from distinct perspectives will be hugely stimulating.

“As a cell biologist working in the neural developmental field, I am particularly looking forward to learning more about how underlying biology can shed light on brain disorders.” 

Bringing together basic and clinical researchers from a wide variety of backgrounds will be sure to spark interesting and useful discussions. Both days will encompass a mix of approaches from genomics and cell biology to cognition and behaviour. Attendees will hear talks from leaders in their fields describing recent advances and outlining major unresolved issues and questions. Early-career researchers will also present their current research through posters and selected brief flash talks.

A major focus of this meeting will be workshops on both days where participants will tackle the big questions about top priorities and opportunities for research, as well as thinking outside the box to ascertain what the different fields can bring to provide mechanistic understanding, and how they can work together to tackle some of the challenges.

Professor Storey emphasises this:

“The meeting will provide early career researchers with the opportunity to think big and new alongside the top leaders from multiple fields spanning neurodevelopmental research. This is exactly the kind of meeting organisations like the Academy should be running!” 

Registration for the meeting is heavily oversubscribed. With this in mind, we have organised a live stream of the event which will be available via the Academy website and our YouTube channel. Please tune in to hear the latest advances in neurodevelopmental research by the world-leading experts in this field. 





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