Work together on brain sciences research, group told

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  • Wednesday, 17 Jun 2015

Dr Linda Lanyon

SCIENTISTS, researchers and engineers from the various fields must come together to extract the best insights from data on brain sciences, said a research engineer.

Universiti Teknologi Petronas’s Dr Eric Ho Tatt Wei said being the era of brain sciences, there are mega projects being carried out in Europe, Japan, China and the United States of America in this particular field.

Dr Ho said with the brain being a complex organ with different levels of organisations, there were various views on the topic.

“So we have numerous research work being carried out all over the world on the brain, and what we need is to combine all the different levels of research, and search the data for deeper insights to emerge.

“We need to get a clearer view on how the brain works at the personalised level of each individual, its recovery mechanism, learning performance, and that is why data analytics is important,” he said during the 26th annual scientific meting of Malaysian Society of Neurosciences (MSN) at a hotel in Ipoh recently.

Universiti Teknologi Petronas senior lecturer Dr Eric Ho Tatt Wei
With Malaysia joining as the 18th member country of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility it is a potential ‘gold mine’ to get data-handling knowhow through one organisation. - Dr Eric Ho Tatt Wei

Dr Ho said with Malaysia joining as the 18th member country of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF) it was a potential ‘gold mine’ to get data-handling know-how through one organisation.

He said it was a good platform, and therefore it would be good for Malaysian researchers to come together for trans-disciplinary research on brain sciences and to disseminate the information through education.

“UTP has started the involvement of Malaysia in INCF, together with our strong partners Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and MSN.

“We just don’t want it to be an university effort, but be a national effort, and therefore we want to invite all Malaysian researchers, whether they are biologist, geneticists, computer scientist, clinicians, psychiatrist, psychologist, or engineers to come together to solve the complex problem of understanding the brain and healing it.

“We would also like more young Malaysians to get involved in research in this important field,” he added.

Dr Ho, who is also the INCF’s Malaysia Node coordinator said two representatives from INCF based in Sweden, Dr Linda Lanyon and Dr Jeannette Soderberg were also present to give a bigger perspective on the organisation.

He said INCF was doing a brain injury study by computer analysis of very rich and diverse clinical data.

“We want to be part of the international study, and therefore there is a need to acquire data from the Malaysian side in order to compare our pool of data as compared internationally.

“To get a holistic picture as well as better outcomes, there is a whole lot of data that will be required right from medical images, ICU records, blood bio-markers and genomics data.

“A total of 22 European Union countries, China, India and Australia are part of the study, and we want to see Malaysia become part of it as well,” he added.

INCF executive director Dr Linda Lanyon said they were extremely pleased with Malaysia joining the organisation in March.

She said the rest of the 17 countries were extremely excited to work with Malaysia to strengthen the international network.

“INCF’s scientific programmes develop standards for neuroscience data sharing, analysis, modelling and simulation.

“The organisation coordinates informatics infrastructure designed to enable the integration of neurosciences data knowledge worldwide and catalyse insights into brain function in health and disease,” she added.

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