Neuropolis: a global neuroscience hub

June 12, 2012

Neuron model (Credit: Blue Brain Project)

Switzerland has announced NEUROPOLIS, an international showcase dedicated to neuroscience and the science of simulation.

Combining scientific insights from EPFL with the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva, NEUROPOLIS hosts the simulation platform of the Blue Brain Project and will manage the supercomputer’s resources remotely. The project will be supported by the Cantons of Vaud and Geneva, the Swiss Confederation, and the Rolex Group.

The platform will host the huge databases necessary for neuroscience and other fields, as well as the simulation cockpit coordinated by teams of computer scientists and neuroscientists. Scientists worldwide will be able to use the computing power and software developed there; laboratories and workspaces for top international visitors will be installed.

If selected by the European Union, the center will also host the “flagship” Human Brain Project (EU), a project that now has about 120 teams in 90 scientific institutions from 22 countries, including those in the partner hospital CHUV in Lausanne. The application has been submitted for a decision expected in early 2013.

This area has large international teams of researchers, dedicated to the economic and industrial development of the region.

The NEUROPOLIS project will construct two entities:

  • A research infrastructure in Lausanne constructed on the grounds of the institutions of higher learning, University of Lausanne (UNIL) and EPFL. This spot will also have a public space dedicated to the brain.
  • A Geneva-located infrastructure near the University Hospital will house a new Institute of Translational Molecular Imaging.

Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne (credit: EPFL)

NEUROPOLIS is also for the general public. For the first time in Europe, an open and interactive space will be dedicated to neuroscience and the conquest of the brain. The Center for Scientific Simulation will provide the entertainment and the multiple mechanisms of thought will be illuminated there for everyone to enjoy and discover.

NEUROPOLIS will help accelerate the development strategy of simulation-based science, such as evolutionary biology and oncology, and continue the trajectory of computational science (involving significant resources for integrating large amounts of data) in other fields that require the prediction and analysis of interactions between many sub-systems: environmental and earth sciences (continental drift or natural disasters), economics, as well as finance and the human and social sciences.

A New Institute of Molecular Imaging (UNIGE)

Taking advantage of the expertise developed in the Geneva area and of existing infrastructure in the field of Neuroscience, The University of Geneva and the Canton Hospital, in collaboration with EPFL, will construct an Institute of Translational Molecular Imaging in Geneva.

It will be articulated around four axes: animal imaging, nanotechnology, radiation chemistry, and modeling. Research conducted in conjunction with existing clinical programs will consider medical applications in the treatment of cancer as well as neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

These projects will extend the cognitive and behavioral research aspects of Geneva’s Nouvelle Jonction Art, Neurosciences, Cité project.