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"One of the greatest challenges of our century" ...

Described by Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, as ‘one of the greatest challenges of our century’, the 2015 Oxford Brain Mechanics Workshop sought to highlight the complexity inherent in studying the brain.

CMU President, Dr Subra Suresh and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton
CMU President, Dr Subra Suresh (left) and University of Oxford Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton (right).
Held over two days at St Hugh’s College in Oxford and attracting over 100 attendees, the event brought together speakers from the various disciplines of brain mechanics research represented under the banner of the International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab (IBMTL) as well as  representatives from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the USA.

The workshop introduced the burgeoning strategic partnership between IBMTL and CMU’s Brainhub’ project. This emerging collaboration, to develop shared research into the study of brain function, injury and disease, welcomed Dr Subra Suresh, President of CMU, who was introduced by Professor Andrew Hamilton, demonstrating the clear indication of how both institutions recognise the growing importance of both the research being done and the need for world-class institutions to collaborate on complex issues.

2015 Oxford Brain Mechanics Workshop

The workshop highlighted the truly interdisciplinary and global nature of the research into brain trauma, disease and brain function encountered at this growing interface between mechanics and biology, with notable speakers from the neurosurgery, medical imaging, physics, mathematics, biology and engineering fields present.

Co-Directors of the IBMTL and Dr Subra Suresh
Professor Alain Goriely (left), Dr Subra Suresh (centre) and Professor Antoine Jérusalem (right)
The workshop was organised by Professors Alain Goriely and Antoine Jérusalem, Co-Directors of the IBMTL in Oxford. The IBMTL’s multidisciplinary team, from the UK, Europe and the USA, is motivated by the need to study brain cell and tissue mechanics, and its relation with brain function, disease and traumatic brain injury.

For more information on the IBMTL please visit: and

St Hugh’s College and wartime neurosurgery

St Hugh’s was a highly appropriate venue for the workshop, as the college was requisitioned by the British Government during World War II and set up as a specialist hospital for brain and head injuries resulting from the war. This unique specialised head injury unit created in Oxford (popularly known as ‘The Nutcracker Suite’) was the brainchild of Sir Hugh Cairns, often described as the father of neurosurgery, who had been appointed neurosurgeon to the army at the outbreak of the war.

The hospital’s archive is still held at the College – a unique reference to the past study of brain injury, amongst many of those who will help form the narrative for the future study of the brain.