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Kavli NDI moves into its new space in Clark Hall

November 2, 2017

The Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute hosted its grand opening launch party last Monday evening in its new space located on the third floor of Clark Hall at the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus.

With a crowd of faculty, students, and other university affiliates, the party began with opening remarks from Michael Miller, co-director of Kavli NDI and director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

“I spent most of my career mapping the brain, so it is a privilege to house the Kavli space right in the heart of the BME department,” said Miller.

The new space was designed to reflect the mission of Kavli NDI and foster interactions between scientists. With more than 40 faculty members from Johns Hopkins divisions that include the Applied Physics Laboratory and Schools of Medicine, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Public Health, Kavli NDI scientists are applying a transdisciplinary approach to neuroscience research and discovery. By uniting the traditionally distinct disciplines of neuroscience, engineering, and computational data science, they are working to understand the structure and function of the brain.

Michael Miller stands at the podium and addresses the crowd.

To increase cross-disciplinary training, Kavli NDI recently awarded nine Distinguished Fellowships to support postdoctoral scientists whose work spans two or more distinct focus areas. Many of the funded projects would not have been possible without the opportunities for collaboration presented by Kavli NDI.

“We are bringing together neuroscientists and engineers to generate a new culture for investigating the brain,” said Richard Huganir, director of Kavli NDI. “This space will be a hub to increase interactions and communication and help create this new cross-disciplinary culture.”

The new space at the Homewood campus is one half of a bigger effort to promote communication and collaboration between Hopkins scientists. A similar space is being developed at the School of Medicine campus; once in place, a large live screen will link the two campuses around the clock to enable scientists to share data, collaborate, and brainstorm ideas from across the city in real time.

Attendees of the event were able to browse the new Clark Hall space during a poster session that displayed some of the research projects being conducted within Kavli NDI. The main room features a video teleconference system with two large screens that will connect students and faculty with Kavli NDI members located at the East Baltimore campus. Two neighboring side rooms contain numerous whiteboards, comfortable chairs, and tables that fit together like a puzzle to accommodate any number of teammates. The openness of the space is fitting for an institute that is eliminating the boundaries from science.

The event also included remarks from Paul Rothman, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Ed Schlesinger, dean of the Whiting School of Engineering. Miyoung Chun, executive vice president of science programs at the Kavli Foundation, spoke to attendees about the promising future of brain research in the nation and at Johns Hopkins.

As Natasha Hussain, scientific director of Kavli NDI explained, “By uniting the scientific enterprise across Johns Hopkins University to study the brain, we are laying a foundation for the Kavli NDI to establish the global standard for integrative neuroscience research and understanding brain function.”

Category: Department

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