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Partnership with Chinese Academy of Sciences for Center of Excellence in Brain Mapping

July 12, 2011, Volume 58, No. 01

In a ceremony at the end of May, the University of Pennsylvania announced a collaboration agreement with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to develop a joint Center of Excellence in Brain Mapping for the purpose of collaborative research and education in neuroimaging.

In addition, Penn President Amy Gutmann and Chinese Academy of Sciences Vice President Li Jiayang signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) to establish a cooperative research relationship and to facilitate the international exchange of ideas between the two institutions.

“We look forward to a dynamic and successful collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China’s center for excellence in the natural sciences, technology, and research and development,” said President Gutmann. “Penn has an outstanding tradition in neuroimaging, and we are pleased to partner with eminent Chinese scientists and clinicians to advance discoveries and clinical applications in brain mapping to promote health and well-being.”

As part of the current agreement, researchers and scientists from Penn and the Institute of Biophysics (part of the CAS) will develop a center to advance the application of neuroimaging to basic and cognitive neuroscience research, including the development and evaluation of novel imaging technologies and their translation into new biomedical applications, and basic science studies for detection, characterization, diagnosis, and image-guided treatment of brain diseases affecting people around the world.

After the signing ceremony, faculty from the two institutions joined researchers and administrators for a symposium on neuroimaging to highlight the range of problems and methods represented by the CAS-Penn Center of Excellence in Brain Mapping, including cognitive and systems neuroscience, computational anatomy and physiology, and clinical and translational neurosciences.

The foundational research of Penn neuroscientist, physician, and Lasker Award winner Seymour Kety published in 1945 on cerebral blood flow is widely seen as enabling functional brain imaging, a field which has since revolutionized the study of mental, cognitive and emotional processes. Today, Penn’s neuroimaging program is recognized not only for its continued development of novel approaches for image acquisition and analysis, but also for its numerous clinical neuroimaging programs that translate these discoveries into applications to promote human health.

The mission of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is to conduct research in basic and technological sciences; to undertake nationwide integrated surveys on natural resources and ecological environment; to provide the country with scientific data and advice for governmental decision-making, and to undertake government-assigned projects with regard to key science and technology problems in the process of social and economic development; to initiate personnel training; and to promote China’s high-tech enterprises by its active involvement in these areas.

Almanac - July 12, 2011, Volume 58, No. 01