Shenzhen Infrastructure for Brain Analysis and Modeling

Date:06-01-2020   |   【Print】 【close

Brain science is widely considered as one of the last frontiers of human knowledge and scientific research. According to the data from the WHO, diseases of the nervous system are one of the major disease categories that have cost our society a huge amount of financial and social resources. Nonetheless, therapeutic interventions for many brain disorders, such as autism, anxiety disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease are still scarce. To promote brain science research and to develop new therapeutic solutions for brain disorders, the Shenzhen Municipal Government has started a new initiative to build the Shenzhen Infrastructure for Brain Analysis and Modeling. The initiative was proposed and led by Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and other participating institutions include Southern University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology-Shenzhen Research Institute, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, and Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience. The goal of this initiative is to build a world-class research facility for brain science and technology. The infrastructure is focused on supporting basic and clinical research for five major brain disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder, depression, stroke, and dyslexia.  

The infrastructure features three modules: Brain Editing, Brain Analysis, and Brain Modeling. The Brain Editing Module will use technologies such as the CRISPR system to develop genetically modified brain disease models using multiple organisms, including rodents and monkeys. The Brain Analysis Module will employ a comprehensive set of analysis tools and technologies to probe phenotypic features of animals models for various brain disorders. And at last, the Brain Modeling Module will use true neurosignals to assist the development of artificial intelligence.  The three modules will include state-of-the-art equipment including high field MRI, PET-MRI, PET-CT, VISoR for high-speed whole brain imaging, two-photon miniature microscope, gene-editing facilities, advanced facilities for rodents and non-human primates, etc. The infrastructure will be open to all scientists around the world with the goal to attract scientists from China and worldwide to tackle some of the most challenging topics in brain science and brain disorder research.  

The initial proposal of the infrastructure was approved by the Development and Reform Commission of Shenzhen Municipality on Apr. 28th, 2018. The city will invest a total of 1 billion RMB to build the brain infrastructure. The infrastructure is located in Guangming District and will serve as one of the key components of the Guangming Science Park, an integrated national science center. The brain infrastructure is designed by Tongji Architectural Design Group and is currently under construction. The infrastructure is expected to start to provide service in late 2021. 

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