NewsRoxana Kooijmans receives EBRAINS 2.0 grant for brain atlas development
Roxana Kooijmans receives EBRAINS 2.0 grant for brain atlas development
9 January 2024
9 January 2024
The European Commission has signed a grant agreement to fund EBRAINS 2.0 with €38 million until 2026. With Roxana Kooijmans, the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience is 1 of 59 partner institutions receiving funding to develop tools and services to widely serve research communities in neurosciences, brain medicine, and brain-inspired technologies. With her groundbreaking research, Kooijmans generates cell type specific maps of the human brain, which she will now digitize and link it to the brain atlas.
EBRAINS is an open research infrastructure that gathers high-quality research data, tools and computing facilities for brain-related research, built with interoperability at the core. This “digital ecosystem” offers an extensive range of brain data sets, a multilevel brain atlas, modelling and simulation tools, access to high-performance computing resources and will eventually serve as the next step to translating innovations in both research as healthcare.
The new project will further the development and provision of the infrastructure’s research technologies to the scientific community. It aims to establish a new standard for the brain atlas, gather and connect multimodal neuroscientific and clinical data, and push forward the development of digital twin approaches. “By merging expansive datasets to the atlas, researchers can combine forces. We encourage researchers to save their data in EBRAINS and contribute to larger datasets”, Kooijmans says.
”No brain is identical, but variation is not random. If we can quantify and even predict this variation, we can ultimately develop better cures for brain diseases,” Kooijmans explains. Furthermore, the atlas is an important step in improving research as it will facilitate the translation of research in mice to humans. Animal research remains necessary for studies that cannot be conducted in humans. But with the help of the atlas we can more accurately predict whether a newly discovered therapy in mice will also be effective in humans. When we can translate a targeted structure or mechanism across species, we can improve chances of success.
“The grant agreement marks an important milestone for the EBRAINS research infrastructure,” says Katrin Amunts, who became Joint Chief Executive Officer of the EBRAINS AISBL in September 2023 and led the writing of the successful EBRAINS 2.0 proposal. “We look forward to further developing our tools and services, to share it with our colleagues and empower the community to make progress in neuroscience.” Philippe Vernier, Joint Chief Executive Officer of EBRAINS continues: “We are delighted to have been awarded the SERV grant. It is a recognition of the sustainable scientific value of the research infrastructure.”
The project involves 59 partner institutions from 16 European countries. It was selected for funding after evaluation by independent experts. It is coordinated by the EBRAINS AISBL, a non-profit organisation founded in Brussels during the Human Brain Project, and starts in January 2024.