Vision for Primate Neuroimaging to Accelerate Scientific and Medical Breakthroughs

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NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 2020 — A global community of over 150 scientists studying the primate brain has released a blueprint for developing more complete “wiring diagrams” of how the brain works that may ultimately improve understanding of several brain disorders.

Participants in a global collaboration (entitled the PRIMatE Data Exchange: PRIME-DE) revealed their vision for how primate brain imaging can help to accelerate landmark discoveries in neuroscience and medical breakthroughs of direct relevance to humans. PRIME-DE is an open science program of the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative of the Child Mind Institute.

Until recently, global collaboration focused on nonhuman primate brain imaging has been limited. If this can be achieved, the researchers believe it will allow better direct translation of information from animal research to humans and accelerate breakthroughs in biomedicine.

To accelerate the pace of progress, the PRIME-DE initiative established a repository of openly shared data and assembled an international community of scientists for a global collaboration workshop hosted by the Wellcome Trust in London in September 2019. Additional funding support for early-career investigators was provided by the BRAIN Initiative, Kavli Foundation, and National Institute of Mental Health.

The authors of the study wrote that the community can accelerate the pace of progress in neural imaging if a number of commitments are made, including increasing the quality of brain imaging by establishing data quality and minimal specifications for brain imaging acquisition to increase shared data value across the world; implementing international regulations; encouraging public engagement by supporting global collaboration and open communication; and harnessing the latest technology in order to generate insights from large amounts of data.

The paper also outlined the community ambitions to openly share thousands of data sets and the development of a large-scale, multimodal resource to directly complement the Human Connectome Project.

“Primate neuroimaging has remained largely piecemeal and single-lab driven, causing most scientists to struggle to amass data sets consisting of even 10 to 20 individuals, whereas the human-imaging community now aims for thousands,” said co-authors Michael Milham and Christopher I. Petkov. “If this global collaboration blueprint serves as a litmus test of what the future will bring, exciting advances and discoveries not possible to achieve in a single laboratory or country will soon become evident by global collaboration.”

The research was published in the journal Neuron (

Published: February 2020
Research & Technologybrain imagingneurosciencebiomedicineneuronpeer-reviewedImagingBiophotonics

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