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New Innovations in Neurotechnology to be Highlighted at Fourth Annual Aspen Brain Forum

Researchers to discuss how scientific advances can be more effectively translated into neurotechnologies to diagnosis and treat brain disorders, September 18–20.

Published September 03, 2013

NEW YORK, September 3, 2013 — Earlier this year, President Obama unveiled the “BRAIN” Initiative (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies), to make neurotechnology—widely viewed as a critical avenue for treating, preventing, and curing brain disorders—a priority for the nation’s scientists. To this end, the New York Academy of Sciences, The Aspen Brain Forum Foundation, and Science Translational Medicine will co-present Accelerating Translational Neurotechnology: Fourth Annual Aspen Brain Forum in Aspen, CO, from September 18 – 20.

While holding the promise of stunning results, neurotechnology has proven difficult to translate from the laboratory into clinical and commercial products. This highly interactive conference will explore innovative models for advancing the translation of neuroscience research into technology that can improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, neuromuscular disorders, and traumatic brain injury.

Conference speakers will discuss the crucial scientific, financial, regulatory, and ethical challenges facing researchers, entrepreneurs, and healthcare providers who are working on such technology translation, as well as “best practices” in neurotech development and the current funding climate. Successful technologies and techniques, including neuroprosthetics, neuroengineering, neuroimaging, optogenetics, neuromodulation, and neural stem cell therapies, will also be explored.

The conference will kick off on the evening of September 18 with a public panel discussion, Bionic Skeletons and Beyond: Emerging Technologies for Spinal Cord Injury. Orla Smith, managing editor of Science Translational Medicine will moderate a panel featuring Nathan Harding, co-founder of Ekso Bionics; Grégoire Courtine, professor at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; and public speaker, local Aspen resident, and co-founder of Challenge Aspen, Amanda Boxtel. Panelists will share their personal stories, using both live and video demonstrations of technology for rehabilitation after spinal cord injury, and discuss the commercialization process.

On September 19, an opening keynote panel will focus on the current funding landscape for neurotechnologies and the economic impact of continuing to develop medical devices for neurological disease. The panel will be moderated by Zack Lynch, founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization. That evening, a keynote lecture will be given by Robert Greenberg, president and CEO of Second Sight, who will discuss the development process for one of the first FDA-approved retinal implants.

The last day of the conference will open with a global panel discussion; speakers from the US, Europe, and Israel will present key government initiatives, public and private sector funding opportunities, and research directions for neurotechnology development in their respective countries. Attendees will then breakout into disease-specific working groups to discuss ways in which neurotechnology can help to move their specific field forward, as well as what types of metrics are needed to measure the success of these technologies. Breakout group areas include Parkinson's Disease, Major Depression and other Mood Disorders, Chronic Pain, Alzheimer's Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Neuromuscular Control and Neuroprosthetics. The afternoon will begin with several short talks presenting late-breaking translational innovations selected from abstract submissions. The conference will end with a session focusing on the regulatory and ethical challenges specific to neurotechnology research and development.

For more information and to register, visit

About the Aspen Brain Forum

The Aspen Brain Forum is a high level think tank in the retreat setting of Aspen, Colorado. The mission of the Aspen Brain Forum is to organize, fund, produce, and host an annual high level meeting of international brain researchers leading to breakthroughs in brain science. For more information please visit:

About Science Translational Medicine

Science Translational Medicine is the newest journal published by AAAS/Science. The goal of Science Translational Medicine is to promote human health by providing a forum for communicating the latest biomedical research findings from basic, translational, and clinical researchers from all established and emerging disciplines relevant to medicine. Science Translational Medicine seeks to publish articles that identify and fill the scientific knowledge gaps at the junction of basic research and medical application in order to accelerate the translation of this knowledge into new ways for preventing, diagnosing and treating human disease. Please visit

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 22,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at