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How one neuroscientist is encouraging collaboration to spur development of innovative treatments

For uniting engineers, data scientists, and others under one roof, director of the Carney Institute for Brain Science Diane Lipscombe is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2019.

How one neuroscientist is encouraging collaboration to spur development of innovative treatments
[Illustration: Artur Tenczyński]
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After receiving a $100 million gift last year, Brown University’s Carney Institute for Brain Science did something rare in science and academia: It formalized collaboration. In February 2019, under the guidance of director and neuroscience professor Diane Lipscombe, the institute opened a 10,000-square-foot space that brings together a Justice League of engineers, neuroscientists, data scientists, and others to hasten discoveries around conditions such as autism, epilepsy, and movement disorders. “It’s something of a leap of faith for the faculty to say, ‘We’ll leave our labs and come into this environment,'” Lipscombe says. Scientists are now collaborating on projects like BrainGate, demonstrating how a brain implant can allow people with paralysis to operate regular tablet devices via their thoughts. The renovated building is a hub, “and proximity is never to be underestimated in terms of how ideas emerge,” Lipscombe says.

About the author

Erin Schulte is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Fast Company, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Harper's Bazaar, and Entrepreneur, among other publications. You can find her on Twitter @erin719nyc.

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