Neuro Open Science in Action Symposium 2021

Neuro Open Science in Action Symposium 2021

 

2021 theme: Adopting Open models of collaboration in neuroscience, rare diseases, tropical diseases, and antivirals

This year’s symposium is highlighting some of the biomedical fields in which Open Science can do the most good, and features speakers from diverse perspectives who are using the power of transparency and collaboration to move us closer to greater efficiency and a disease-free world.

 

November 23, 2021

9:30 - 9:40

SYMPOSIUM OPENING REMARKS

 

Welcome and meeting introduction

Speaker:

  • Guy Rouleau, Director of The Neuro and Co-founder of the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute
  • Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, McGill University
  • Pierre Gfeller, President and Executive Director, McGill University Health Centre

9:45 - 10:15

SESSION 1 - PATIENTS AS PARTNERS, A CONVERSATION

 

As we celebrate the potential for Open Science to develop new diagnostic tools and treatments, we must remember that science, open or otherwise, isn’t something that should happen to patients but should, instead, be developed in partnership with patients.

Our opening session will feature Benjamin Stecher, patient advocate and co-author of the book Brain Fables, in conversation with Hilal Lashuel, Director of the Laboratory of Chemical Biology of Neurodegeneration at the Brain Mind Institute in Switzerland. They will discuss the crucial importance of partnering with patients to direct research to where it is most needed.

Speakers:

  • Benjamin Stecher, Patient advocate
  • Hilal Lashuel, Director of the Laboratory of Chemical Biology of Neurodegeneration, EPFL

10:15 - 10:30

BREAK

10:30 - 11:50

SESSION 2 - OPEN SCIENCE AND NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS

Keynote

10:30 - 11:00

 

Panel

11:05 - 11:50

Despite the increasing burden of neurological disorders on global health, we have made little progress in our ability to accurately diagnose and treat them. Hundreds of millions of patients with Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and innumerable other brain diseases and disorders have been waiting for decades for the next breakthrough, but our understanding of the brain remains fragmented.

Led by The Neuro’s Edward Fon, this session’s opening lecture will highlight the work of The Neuro’s Early Drug Discovery Unit, and introduce the new Neuro Genomics Partnership designed to harness and integrate advances in genomics, big data and Open Science from amongst the unique patient populations followed at The Neuro and throughout Quebec. The panel discussion following the opening lecture will focus on existing Open Science collaborations in Canada and worldwide. Oury Monchi, Director of the Canadian Open Parkinson Network (C-OPN), will discuss how this open access data and biospecimen initiative is enabling collaboration between Parkinson’s researchers across the country, and Parkinson Canada’s Karen Lee will address the organization’s work to provide reliable and credible information to researchers and the public. Roche’s Kirsten Taylor will speak on the role of industry, Open Science, and Open Science Partnerships in developing new treatments for neurological diseases.

Discover how Open Science is transforming discovery and innovation for neurological diseases, and learn how you can contribute to this growing network.

Keynote Speaker and Moderator:

  • Edward Fon, Scientific Director at The Neuro
 

Panelists:

  • Oury Monchi, Director of the Canadian Open Parkinson Network (C-OPN)
  • Karen Lee, President and CEO of Parkinson Canada
  • Kirsten Taylor, Biomarker and Experimental Medicine Leader at Roche

11:50

Breakout Room - NeuroLibre: Communicating Science Openly

12:20 - 13:40

SESSION 3 - OPEN SCIENCE AND RARE DISEASES

Keynote

12:20 - 12:50

 

Panel

12:55 - 13:40

Approximately 400 million people worldwide have a rare disease, according to the World Health Organization. Generally widely dispersed and underdiagnosed, their participation in studies and clinical trials often involve special ethical challenges. Geneticists working with patients across the globe have revealed many mutations implicated in, or found to directly cause, many rare diseases. But, moving from initial insight to treatments and cures requires exponentially increasing our information sharing and collaborative capacity through open science.

In this session you will hear from people taking on this challenge. Julie McMurry from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus will demonstrate just how crucial Open Science is for the future of rare disease research. In the panel discussion following the opening lecture you will learn about Foundation 29 and its work on open standards, patient integration and AI development from Pablo Botas. Maxwell Morgan will discuss how M4K Pharma’s open approaches to drug development may be the next chapter in generating new treatments. Annette Bakker from the Children’s Tumor Foundation will address how the Neurofibromatosis (NF) Open Science Initiative enables researchers to share and combine data, and how patients can take an active role in research through the NF Registry.

Keynote Speaker and Moderator:

  • Julie McMurry, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
 

Panelists:

  • Annette Bakker, President of the Children’s Tumor Foundation
  • Pablo Botas, CEO & CSO at Foundation 29
  • Max Morgan, Senior Legal Counsel and Director of Public Policy, Structural Genomics Consortium




 


 

13:40 - 13:50

BREAK

13:50 - 14:20

SESSION 4 - NEURO-IRV AND HELGA COOPER FOUNDATION OPEN SCIENCE PRIZES

 

Award Ceremony for the 2021 Neuro-Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prizes

Keynote Speaker:

  • Frank Litvack, Director of the Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation
 

Moderators:

  • Adrien Peyrache and Christine Tardiff, Researchers at The Neuro and Open Science Prize Committee members
14:20 - 14:25 DAY 1 CLOSING REMARKS

Speaker:

  • Jo Anne Stratton, Chair of the Open Science Grassroots Committee at The Neuro



 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

 

9:25 - 9:35

DAY 2 OPENING REMARKS

 

Welcome and overview of Day 2

Speaker:

  • Jo Anne Stratton, Chair of the Open Science Grassroots Committee at The Neuro

9:35 - 10:05

SESSION 5 - OPEN SCIENCE ENABLING AI: THE ALPHAFOLD PROTEIN STRUCTURE DATABASE

 

Ever since scientists discovered that DNA codes for proteins, the challenge has been to predict a protein’s shape from the code alone. This ability would be a large step closer to understanding protein function, and thus diagnosing and treating, all manner of diseases. It took nearly 50 years to solve this mystery, and it happened thanks to Open Science.

In 2020, AlphaFold, an Artificial Intelligence system designed by Google’s DeepMind, stunned the research world by producing astoundingly accurate predictions of protein structures. The success of AlphaFold was only possible because it was trained using the Protein Data Bank, a repository of protein structures openly shared by the scientific community.

DeepMind not only openly shared the methods and software underlying AlphaFold, in partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) they released the AlphaFold Protein Structure Database to make hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions, of predicted protein structures openly available to the global scientific community. Freely available and accurate predicted structures will have immense impact on all biomedical research fields, comparable to the release of the human genome almost 20 years ago. This collaboration represents the best example of the virtuous cycle between Open Science and AI, and is a paradigmatic example of how Open Science and AI can work together to accelerate research.

In his lecture, Sameer Velankar from EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute, will explore how open science and artificial intelligence aligned in this significant innovation, and the potential of continued partnerships between Open Science and AI in biomedical fields.

Keynote Speaker:

  • Sameer Velankar, Team Lead of the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute Protein Data Bank

10:05 - 10:15

BREAK

10:15 - 11:35

SESSION 6 - OPEN SCIENCE AND ANTIVIRALS

Keynote

10:15 - 10:45

 

Panel

10:50 - 11:35

Antivirals are a paradigmatic case of where Open Science is most needed - they are urgently needed treatments, now and for the future, but current research and innovation incentives are poorly aligned with effective development. This has been made starkly clear by the COVID-19 pandemic. Current research and innovation models do not encourage the development of treatments for viral diseases that may never exist on a large scale, because there is no existing market. However, if we wait until the virus emerges, it is too late to conduct the work needed to stop its spread into a global pandemic.

Annette von Delft’s opening lecture will explore just how difficult it is to proactively develop antivirals, and how the COVID Moonshot is bringing together researchers around the globe to tackle the challenge.

The panelists in this session will help us explore how the power of open science underlies novel open and forward thinking development models that may be the only way of preparing for when (not if) the next pandemic arises. Cheryl Arrowsmith will address how the Open Science approaches pioneered by the Structural Genomics Consortium are now focussed on the effort to identify novel antivirals. Nat Moorman will discuss the READDI initiative and how it is pushing forward the way we proactively identify antivirals through Open Science. Annette von Delft will join the panel to bring the conversation to a global scope.

Keynote Speaker:

  • Annette von Delft, Translational Scientist at the University of Oxford and Project Manager at COVID Moonshot, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
 

Moderator:

  • Tania Bubela, Dean of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
 

Panelists:

  • Cheryl Arrowsmith, Chief Scientist at the Structural Genomics Consortium Toronto
  • Nat Moorman, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina and UNC-READDI advisory board member
  • Annette von Delft, Translational Scientist at the University of Oxford and Project Manager at COVID Moonshot, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)

11:35 - 12:00

LUNCH BREAK

12:00 - 13:20

SESSION 7 - OPEN SCIENCE AND TROPICAL AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES

Keynote

12:00 - 12:30

 

Panel

12:35 - 13:20

Advances in biomedical science have had a tremendous impact on our ability to combat countless diseases. From malaria vaccines to emerging immunotherapy approaches for curing cancer, basic discoveries and the medical innovations they enable are slowly tempering the devastating impacts of some - but not all - diseases. For more than a billion people around the world suffering from tropical and infectious diseases, however, biomedical advances are leaving them far behind.

In this session, panelists will discuss how Open Science is helping put tropical diseases on the global agenda so no disease is left behind. Join Matthew Todd, Chair of Drug Discovery at the University College London and founder of multiple open source drug discovery initiatives, as he delves into the importance of global collaboration in his opening lecture. Dr. Todd will then moderate a panel discussion with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative’s Ben Perry, Northeastern University’s Lori Ferrins, and Gemma Turon from Ersilia, representing an emerging group of non-profit companies combining Open Science and AI to democratize drug discovery and identify treatments for infectious diseases.

Keynote Speaker and Moderator:

  • Matthew Todd, Professor at the University College London, Founder of Open Source Malaria and MycetomaOS
 

Panelists:

  • Lori Ferrins, Research Associate Professor at Northeastern University;
  • Ben Perry, Discovery Open Innovation Leader, DNDi
  • Gemma Turon, CEO of the Ersilia Open Source Initiative


 

13:20 - 13:30

BREAK

13:30 - 14:25

SESSION 8 - THE GAIRDNER PANEL ON OPEN SCIENCE, NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES AND GLOBAL HEALTH

Supported by the Krembil Foundation

  The Gairdner Foundation celebrates and recognizes the world's best global health researchers. During this session you will hear from past laureates and other leading global health experts about their research in neglected tropical diseases and how they’re using open science to create global collaborative efforts. Speakers include Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine and Founding Editor in Chief at PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases; Janet Hemingway, Chair of Vector Biology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; and Rachel Pullan, Deputy Director of the London Centre for NTD Research, Associate Editor with PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and a member of the STH Advisory Committee.

Moderator:

  • Janet Rossant, President and Scientific Director of the Gairdner Foundation
 

Panelists:

  • Janet Hemingway, Chair of Vector Biology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine and Founding Editor in Chief at PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • Rachel Pullan, Deputy Director of the London Centre for NTD Research, Associate Editor with PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and a member of the STH Advisory Committee

14:25 - 14:35

SYMPOSIUM CLOSING REMARKS

 

Organizers

NeuroNeuro TOSI logo

Sponsors

 Gairdner logo    Krembil Foundation

 


 

Faculty of medicine

 


 

 

Contact

For more information about upcoming Open Science in Action symposiums, contact:

Debbie Rashcovsky
Events Officer, The Neuro
Tel. +1-514-398-6047
Email: debbie.rashcovsky [at] mcgill.ca      

Open Science in Action 2021 videos

 

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.

 

 

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