Our programme attracted a diverse audience of leading researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, research foundations, healthcare organisations, policy makers and funding agencies. It included presentations from a distinguished panel of speakers, discussion sessions, as well as an exhibition showcasing research organisations and neurotechnology companies.

Day 1

From 08:00
Press conference
Official opening of The Brain Forum
Keynote session: Lessons in practical machine intelligence
  • Greg Corrado, Google Research

Chair: Aude Billard, EPFL

Keynote session: Lessons in practical machine intelligence

Speaker will give an introduction to artificial intelligence, describe how it relates to machine learning, and then introduce artificial neural networks. He will further describe how they work, how they relate to the biological brain, and describe some of the amazing things they have recently learned to do

Engaging stakeholders for a holistic therapy in Alzheimer's disease
  • Martin Pan, Biogen
  • Antonella Chadha Santuccione, Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products
  • Gene Bowman, Nestlé Institute of Health Science

Chair: Andrea Pfeifer, AC Immune

Engaging stakeholders for a holistic therapy in Alzheimer's disease

The central goal of the session is to underscore the importance of an integrated multidisciplinary agenda necessary to address critical knowledge gaps and accelerate the discovery and delivery of efficacious treatments for AD patients at all stages of disease.

Key to achieving this goal consists of:

1. The identification of gaps.

2. Deploying of resources/infrastructure.

3. Creating of multi-stakeholder partnerships necessary to successfully walk the “vision to action” road.

The important example of this stakeholder platform is the Lausanne Dialogue, which is a OECD workshop of industry, regulators, payers, govt. and academia convening since the last two years in Lausanne. This year they will meet at this Center from October 27 to 28.

At this session we engage the three pivotal pillars of drug development namely pharmaceutical, food industries and the regulator.

UBS thought leadership session: Rethinking success
  • Aki Hintsa, Hintsa Performance

UBS thought leadership session: Rethinking success

UBS is facilitating a thought leadership session, with Dr. Aki Hintsa, on ‘rethinking success’: achieving optimal performance and productivity through better health and wellbeing. Dr Hintsa created the “Logical Framework Approach of Human High Performance”. This philosophy and concept has been the platform for his later work with many Olympic athletes, top-level racing drivers and business executives around the world.

The philosophy is based on a holistic and proactive approach, which integrates six key elements of health and wellbeing. These are physical activity, nutrition, sleep & recovery, biomechanics, mental energy, and general health. The foundation for our actions in each of these elements is rooted in our Core, which is Dr. Hintsa’s term for our individual self. The Core is explored through understanding the basis for our identity, discovering purpose and meaning in life, and taking control and responsibility of daily choices.

Achieving better health and performance is based on improving our status in each of the six elements. Living a better life however, requires us to rethink success and evaluate our goals in light of who we are and what is important for us.

The Brain Forum 2016 Innovation Award–pitches
  • Monica Di-Luca, University of Milan and Federation of European Neuroscience Societies
  • Tej Tadi, MindMaze
  • Markus Goebel, Novartis Venture Fund
  • Jemila Houacine, MEDICXI VENTURES

Chair: Claude Florin, Venture Concept

Neuroscience and mental health: challenges and opportunities
  • Julio Licinio, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
  • Sophie Dix, MQ

Chair: Pierre Magistretti, EPFL and KAUST

Neuroscience and mental health: challenges and opportunities

Will discuss challenges that mental diseases pose in terms of socioeconomic burden, public health, better management of patients, but also some opportunities to develop new strategies for integration of neuroscience with psychiatry and possibly new approaches to develop new medicines based on a better knowledge of the biological mechanisms of mental diseases.

The Brain Forum 2016 Innovation Award–announcement of winners
Act like you mean it
  • Anton Rey, Zürich University of Arts
  • Thomas Grunwald, EPI Clinic
  • Annina Euling
  • Jan Beller
Closing of day 1

Day 2

FRIDAY, 27 MAY 2016
From 8:00
Opening of day 2
International brain initiatives: progress, challenges and opportunities
  • Moo-ming Poo, China Brain Science Project
  • Hideyuki Okano, Brain/MINDS Project
  • Henry Markram, Blue Brain Project
  • Christof Koch, Allen Institute for Brain Science
  • Catherine Berens, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • David Menon, CENTER-TBI
  • Terry Sejnowski, BRAIN Initiative

Co-chairs: John Donoghue, Wyss Center and Nancy Ip, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

International brain initiatives: progress, challenges and opportunities

International brain initiatives: progress, challenges and opportunities will give an overview of the major brain projects, which have been launched around the world, and provide some detail about their scope and aims: The topics cover the Blue Brain Project, a European based project building biologically detailed digital reconstructions and simulations of the rodent, and ultimately the human brain; the Chinese brain initiative China Brain, which is focused on developmental, psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders with the aim to find treatments primarily for Alzheimer's disease and autism; the US BRAIN Initiative (US Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative) launched by President Obama; the elucidating of mouse and human cortical cell types and the construction of Brain Observatory lead by the Allen Institute for Brain Science; the Japanese Brain/MINDS (Brain Mapping by Innovative Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies); the European CENTER-TBI project (Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI).

Keynote session: The neural circuitry of sex and violence
  • Prof. David Anderson, Caltech

Chair: Isabelle Mansuy, University of Zürich and ETH Zürich

Keynote session: The neural circuitry of sex and violence

Animals often have to make rapid decisions between different, competing behaviors, such as fighting, mating, or freezing. These decisions are controlled by sensory cues, the animal's internal state and its previous history. In humans, these innate behaviors are associated with emotion states such as fear, anger and love. Prof. Anderson lab is studying the control of aggression vs. mating, in both mice and fruit flies, as a model for understanding how internal states, such as arousal or other so-called "emotion primitives," influence decisions between innate behaviors. This talk will focus on how aggression circuits are organized in the brain, and their relationship to circuits that control mating behavior. Their studies have revealed that mice and flies contain "modules" (relatively small groups of neurons) that control both aggression and mating, suggesting that this is an evolutionarily ancient circuit "motif." The role of these modules, and their relationship to decision-making and internal brain states, will be discussed. The long-term objective of these studies is to provide insights into the brain mechanisms that link emotion and decision-making, and their evolutionary origins.

Advancing human neuroscience: encoding, decoding, and neurofeedback using functional neuroimaging
  • Nikolaus Weiskopf, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
  • Jack Gallant, University of California at Berkeley

Chair: Dimitri van de Ville, EPFL and University of Geneva

Advancing human neuroscience: encoding, decoding, and neurofeedback using functional neuroimaging

This session will cover the state-of-the-art in human functional neuroimaging.Non-invasive techniques based on magnetic resonance imaging provide whole-brain coverage, increasing temporal and spatial resolution, and various contrast mechanisms. Imaging combined with computational techniques opens powerful avenues for understanding brain function, diagnosing dysfunction, and developing new therapies. The speakers will cover intriguing results including where and which information is encoded in the brain, decoding the information from the imaging data, and using real-time measures as neurofeedback to regulate brain activity.

The brain and mental health: increasing awareness and reducing stigma
  • Emily Holmes, University of Cambridge
  • Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim
  • Helen Mayberg, Emory University

Chair: Julio Licinio, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

The brain and mental health: increasing awareness and reducing stigma

The brain and mental health: increasing awareness and reducing stigma is devoted to recent advances in our understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying mental disorders, such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia with a particular emphasis to novel methods and innovations aimed to increase mental health. The session also includes a panel discussion with the aim to raise awareness of mental health stigma, which is still widespread in our society and leads to discrimination at various levels towards affected individuals.

Keynote session: Revitalising translational psychiatry
  • Steve Hyman, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Chair: Monica Di Luca, University of Milan and Federation of European Neuroscience Societies

Keynote session: Revitalising translational psychiatry

The genetic analysis of schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), and bipolar disorder are identifying rapidly growing lists of disease associated alleles, implicating more than 100 genes even at this early stage. With the exception of rare monogenic forms of ASDs, these disorders are highly polygenic, with risk accruing from both common and rare variants of relatively modest penetrance. If we are to use such information to elucidate disease mechanisms, with the goal of discovering biomarkers and new effective therapeutics, we urgently need convergent genetic information that identifies molecular pathways and implicates particular neural cell types. Thus we at the Stanley Center, working with many collaborators, are collecting large number of samples across diverse global populations, and will perform genetic analyses to a point of diminishing neurobiological returns. We are making efforts to ensure that new cohorts are recontactable to permit recall by genotype for deep phenotyping based on new hypotheses, e.g., concerning candidate biomarkers. The identification of complement-dependent synaptic pruning as a disease mechanism in schizophrenia, illustrates the potential of this approach.

Given the need for model systems with adequate throughput to permit functional interrogation of large numbers of genetic variants, we and others are refining methods to reprogram human fibroblasts and pluripotent cells into diverse neural cell types and experimenting with brain organoid production.Iterating with results from postmortem human brains, these cellular and organoid models will advance the mapping of disease gene expression to specific cell types and possibly circuits. Working with collaborators in Japan and China on Crispr-Cas9 engineered nonhuman primates, will produce evolutionarily close models to investigate circuit function, cognition, and behavior when other approaches are not adequate.

Neurotechnologies in model systems
  • Gero Miesenböck, University of Oxford
  • Mark Schnitzer, Stanford University
  • György Buzsáki, New York University
  • Michael Häusser, University College London

Chair: Christian Lüscher, University of Geneva

Neurotechnologies in model systems

Neurotechnologies in model systems will address questions on how to link circuit activity behavior. Latest generation tools to observe neural function with cellular resolution as well as approaches to control activity will be discussed. With a range of model system from Drosophila to rodents, the speakers will cover the pros and cons of optogenetic, chemogenetic manipulations as well as genetically encoded calcium indicators.The talks will also feature heroic approaches to dynamically steer behavior in closed loop systems, connecting observation and manipulation in real time.

Closing of The Brain Forum 2016