Monthly Archives: March 2015

Brains behind BRAIN

The BRAIN (Brain research through  advancing innovative technologies) initiative is a multifaceted, ambitious program launched by President Obama in April, 2013.  At least five federal entities are involved, coordinated and spearheaded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Within the NIH, ten Institutes are actively involved.  This is an enormous array of talent and resources, but it also presents a challenge for achieving optimal coordination and interaction.  The NIH created a “council of councils” –the BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group–to inform and involve the ten participating institutes.  Each institute has asked a member of its own Advisory Council to join this “council of councils”, and in addition there are five at-large members.  Dr. Story Landis serves as one of these at-large members.  Her experience as Director of NINDS, especially her roles in the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, has made her an invaluable member of the Working Group.

Strategies for Rapid Development of Therapeutics

CHDI Foundation is a biomedical research foundation devoted to a single disease:  Huntington’s disease.  Its central aim to to rapidly develop therapeutic agents that will treat or modify the progression of Huntington’s disease.   It provides research support for scientists in academic institutions, supports a group of scientists within the organization, interacts with biotechnical and pharmaceutical companies to develop reagents, and provides a variety of research resources (reagents, transgenic mice, etc.) to investigators entering the field of HD research.  Dr. Story Landis addressed the 10th annual HD Therapeutics Conference in Palm Springs, CA, on February 25.  She described the efforts at the NIH to achieve the similar goals, bringing the perspective of experience with work on a variety of disorders affecting the nervous system.  She emphasized the value of coordination and partnership as the NIH and health advocacy organizations work together toward shared goals.