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New international initiative focuses on brain mechanics and trauma research

Dr Antoine Jérusalem, from the Department of Engineering Science, is one of the founders of a new international initiative that will focus research on brain problems. Along with colleagues from Oxford University, Purdue University, the Technical University of Madrid and the University of California they have established the International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab (IBMTL).

Numerical model of a neuron under mechanical loading
The IBMTL is a result of an internationally recognised need to study brain cell and tissue mechanics and their relation with brain functions, disease and trauma. Dr Jérusalem said:  “This initiative has been fuelled by the development of interdisciplinary collaborative efforts between engineering, medical sciences, neuroscience, biology, maths, physics and computer science. The collaboration brings together experts from different backgrounds, with their own tools and knowledge. IBMTL will enable experts in different fields, across the globe, to share resources and generate new knowledge”.

Professor Riyi Shi, Professor of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University in the United States, said: “The joint initiative effort under the organisation of International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab, headed by Dr Antoine Jerusalem of Oxford University et al., has brought multiple scientists from Europe and US together in an effort to tackle the mysteries enshrouding traumatic brain injury, a medical condition with no established treatment and insufficient understanding of its underlying pathogenesis. One of the focal points of this initiative is to understand how mechanical forces lead to devastating clinical symptoms”.

Professor Shi added: “A particular strength of this group is its multi-disciplinary nature, assembling expertise including mathematical modelling, experimentation through animal models, and direct investigation in human subjects.  By synergistically employing state-of-art of technology and methodology, scientists will for the first time implement a comprehensive multi-scale approach to link mechanical force to behavioural deficits via tissue deformation and subsequent structural and functional deficits in the nervous system.  It is expected that this effort will generate unprecedented level of knowledge elucidating the pathogenic mechanisms of traumatic brain injury, which will have profound impact in establishing novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Furthermore, I fully expect that, aside from research, these joint efforts will also generate more educational opportunities between Europe and US and ultimately benefit the lives of traumatic brain injury patients, their families, the neurotrauma community, and the world at large”.

The following fields are currently covered by the IBMTL’s experts:

  • Medical: magnetoencephalography, veterinary medicine
  • Neuroscience: translational neuroscience, functional connectivity and brain network architecture, brain plasticity computational modeling
  • Biology: stem cells, tissue engineering
  • Engineering: materials engineering, biomechanics, computational mechanics of materials
  • Physics: nanoscience, cells/tissues nanomechanics, cell rheology, shockwave/ultrasound physics
  • Mathematics: mathematical modelling
  • Computing: supercomputing, neuroinformatics, image processing

The current faculty members of the IBMTL are Prof. Cleveland, Dr. Contera, Prof. Goriely, Dr. Jérusalem, Dr. Thompson and Dr.Ye from the University of Oxford; Prof. Maestú and Prof. Peña from the Technical University of Madrid; Prof. Shi from Purdue University; and Prof. McMeeking from University of California, Santa Barbara.

The IBMTL 2014 Oxford Brain Mechanics Workshop

On January 13th and 14th 2014, the IBMTL will be holding the Oxford Brain Mechanics Workshop at Oxford University’s Mathematical Institute. Everybody is welcome to attend, but (free) registration is required.

Registration closes on Wednesday 8th January.

The 2014 Oxford Brain Mechanics Workshop will focus on various aspects of brain mechanics including pathology, injury and healing. It will be a truly interdisciplinary workshop with speakers and participants from Medical Sciences, Neuroscience, Biology, Engineering, Physics and Mathematics.

The aim of the workshop is to foster new collaborative partnerships and facilitate the dissemination of ideas. The two-day workshop will showcase the work of researchers from different fields in an informal atmosphere. Everybody is welcome to attend (free of charge) but registration is required.

The workshop has been organised by the Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics (OCCAM) and the newly founded International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab based in Oxford. Funding for the Workshop has been gained by OCCAM from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.