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

How one neuroscientist is encouraging collaboration to spur development of innovative treatments
[Illustration: Artur Tenczyński]


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.

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