October 2019

Brain Research Institute Monash Sunway (BRIMS) hosted the 5th International Brain Research Origination-Asia Pacific Regional Committee (IBRO-APRC) Advanced School of Neuroscience with the theme of Advanced Technologies for Neuroscience Research from 7 to 20 October 2019. A total of 17 young, budding neuroscientist were chosen from the Asia-Pacific Region, namely from Malaysia, India, Thailand, China, Pakistan, Japan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Iran, to participate in this 2 week-long programme.

The advanced school this year included the Neuro Ethics Course, technical workshops, BRIMS & IBRO–APRC Mini Symposium and an International Neuroscience Symposium. This year’s advanced school began with the introduction of the Neuro Ethics Course.  The half-day course was conducted by Dr Cynthia Forlini, a lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism from Deakin University’s School of Medicine, Australia. It was an interactive session between Dr Cynthia and the IBRO participants on the possible neuro-ethical issues faced when it came to responsible research.

The second part of the advanced school were the technical workshops, which were divided into three modules:

*Module 1: In Vivo monitoring of Brain Cancer: Xenografting & Bio-Luminescence Imaging

*Module 2: iPSC & Zebrafish: CRISPR / Cas9 & Targeted Genome Editing

*Module 3: Automated Molecular Biology: Advanced tool for molecular characterization

The modules comprised of lectures and hands-on sessions facilitated by experts in the field. It was a good platform for the students to discuss and troubleshoot any problems faced in their projects directly with the facilitators. All the modules were 2 days long and conducted concurrently.

The first BRIMS & IBRO-APRC Mini Symposium was conducted in Malacca on 12 and 13 October. The objective of the mini-symposium was to provide a platform for IBRO and BRIMS students to network and gain helpful insights with invited academics, who are highly accomplished in the Neuroscience field.

One of the topics of discussion was on Publishing in High Impact Journal. During this session, the participants were able to bring forth and discuss the issues faced when it came to publishing a journal article, with experienced academics. Next on the symposium agenda was the 5 Minutes Thesis Presentation (5MP) by the participants. This was an opportunity for participants to showcase their research and to receive feedback and suggestions from esteemed neuroscientists, Prof. B. Sentilkumaran (India), Prof. Mitsuyo Kishida (Japan) and Prof. Noriyuki Koibuchi (Japan). All three of these professors also shared their personal research and career aspirations.

The annual International Neuroscience Symposium, co-organized with NeuroMalaysia Society, was held in Monash University Malaysia on 17 October. The focus for this year’s neuroscience symposium was Neurodegenerative Disease & Brain Aging. The BRIMS Director, Prof. Ishwar Parhar welcomed all the participants and the opening ceremony was officiated by Prof. Andrew Walker (President and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Monash University Malaysia). The topics discussed during symposium pertained to molecular mechanisms and possible treatments for dementia.

Six leading neuroscientists from neighbouring regions, namely Prof. Bong-Kiu Kaang (Korea), Dr Tobias Merson (Australia), Dr Jan Kaslin (Australia), Associate Prof. Gavin Stewart Dawe (Singapore), Prof. Hirotaka James Okano (Japan) and Dr.Mitchell K.P.Lai (Singapore), shared their findings on this subject matter.

On the last day of the IBRO program, the participants were taught basic histology and bio-imaging techniques such as sectioning and staining. The participants were also given the opportunity to operate high-end equipment, such as the multi-photon microscope, for live imaging. In addition to this, the participants were also taught image processing and analysis using the software.