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Florida Atlantic University Signs Collaboration Agreement with Norway's Nansen Neuroscience Network

Florida Atlantic University, one of Florida’s leading public research universities, and the internationally renowned Nansen Neuroscience Network (NNN) in Norway, a premier network of organizations dedicated to research into neuroscience in Europe, have signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperative research and education in the areas of neuroscience and brain health.

by Florida Atlantic University
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Golgi stained neuronsPhoto credit: Cahass, Wikimedia Commons“Neuroscience research holds the key to some of the greatest challenges for our healthcare systems and societies in the decades to come,” said Bjarte Reve, CEO of NNN. “We believe that partnerships across countries and disciplines will be vital in addressing these challenges, and we are therefore delighted that our bonds to Florida Atlantic University and their impressive network in brain health and neuroscience are now being strengthened.”

Neuroscience is a strategic research and education focus at FAU, and this new collaboration will expand upon the University’s existing relationships with other leading scientific institutions such as Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, Scripps Florida, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute. In early March, FAU, Max Planck and Scripps unveiled plans to transform FAU’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter into a neuroscience and life science hub in Florida.

“We are extremely proud to partner with Nansen Neuroscience Network to further our research and education programs in the neurosciences,” said FAU President John Kelly. “Many of the top neuroscience institutions in Scandinavia, including members from Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience who were recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work in identifying the brain’s GPS system, are members of the Nansen Neuroscience Network. We are excited to join this prestigious organization to help address the many complex issues of brain health that impact us across the globe.”  

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As part of the cooperative agreement, FAU and NNN plan to share specialized scientific equipment, physical facilities and support services in ways that will expand and provide more cost effective research and education for both organizations. In addition, FAU’s Jupiter campus is home to both Max Planck Florida and Scripps Florida. A state-of-the-art electron microscope that is housed at Max Planck Florida is found in only a handful of places in North America and provides a unique glimpse of the brain’s wiring. It is the only microscope in North America capable of creating a 3D map of the brain’s neurons.

Neuroscience is one of the fastest developing areas of medical research and requires a multi-pronged approach through the integration of different sub disciplines, spanning from gene regulation and synaptic biology to neural systems, bioinformatics, biobanks, medical imaging, psychiatry and studies of behavior.

NNN is devoted to basic and applied research in neuroscience, including brain imaging, neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases, dementia and normal brain aging. The organization’s aim is to expand the network into a comprehensive national endeavour working with patient support groups, strategic initiatives, the clinical community and industry, and from this broad network build a strong and internationally recognized innovation cluster.

FAU is home to the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences and has three Ph.D. programs in neuroscience. In 2012, FAU and Max Planck initiated a joint graduate program in Integrative Biology and Neuroscience (IBAN), a strong research and academic partnership utilizing faculty from both institutions. In addition, researchers at FAU are investigating various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease as well as addiction, epilepsy, stroke, and mental illness as a risk factor for obesity, diabetes and death.  

“We expect our collaboration with Florida Atlantic University to ultimately lead to better brain health and ideally enable us to help more patients,” said Reve.