Neuro Open Science in Action Symposium 2021

Neuro Open Science in Action Symposium 2021

Organized by the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute

Tuesday and Wednesday, November 23-24

Time: 9:30 am -2:30 pm EST

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.

Preliminary program

November 23, 2021



Speakers: Guy Rouleau, Benjamin Stecher, and Hilal Lashuel

Patients as Partners

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.



Speaker and Moderator: Edward Fon
Panelists: Karen Lee and Oury Monchi 

Open Science and Neurological Diseases

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, Multiple Sclerosis, 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 highlight existing Open Science collaborations in Canada and worldwide. Discover how Open Science is transforming discovery and innovation for neurological diseases, and learn how you can contribute to this growing network.



Moderator: Dr. Melissa Haendel

Speakers:Max Morgan - M4K, Annette Bakker - Children’s Tumor Foundation, and Pablo Botas - Foundation 29

Open Science and Rare Diseases

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. Melissa Haendel from the Oregon Health Sciences University 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 Bakkar 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. These panelists show that, just because a disease is rare, that doesn’t mean it can’t be understood and defeated.



A Tanenbaum Open Science Institute Initiative

The Neuro - Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prizes

The Neuro - Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prizes, sponsored by the Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation, is an initiative in its third year from The Neuro’s Tanenbaum Open Science Institute. The Prizes recognize projects, services, tools, and platforms that unlock the power of Open Science in neuroscience to advance research, innovation, and collaboration for the benefit of health and society.

November 24, 2021



Speaker: Annette von Delft
Panelists: Cheryl Arrowsmith, Nat Moorman, and Annette von Delft

Open Science and Antivirals

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 Mooreman 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.



Speaker and Moderator: Matthew Todd
Panelists: Gemma Turon, Ben Perry, and Lori Ferrins

Open Science and Tropical and Infectious Diseases

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.



Moderator: Janet Rossant
Panelists: Peter Hotez, Janet Hemingway, and Brian Greenwood

Gairdner Session on Open Science, Neglected Tropical Diseases, and Global Health

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 Hemmingway, Chair of Vector Biology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; and Brian Greenwood, Manson Professor of Clinical Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The panel will be moderated by Janet Rossant of the Gairdner Foundation.



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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is 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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