Celebrating 25 Years of Groundbreaking Neuroscience: MBI Symposium Sheds Light on Latest Research Advances

Dr. May Khanna leads a morning session with Dr. Adam Gazzaley, who later delivered the ninth annual William G. Luttge Lectureship in Neuroscience, supported by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation. The Evelyn F. and William...

MBI 25 symposium fireside Dr. May Khanna leads a morning session with Dr. Adam Gazzaley, who later delivered the ninth annual William G. Luttge Lectureship in Neuroscience, supported by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation.

The Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute (MBI) recently marked a significant milestone - its 25th anniversary. To commemorate this incredible achievement, the UF neuroscience and neuromedicine community gathered on February 2nd for a daylong symposium that delved into the latest research advances in the field. The highlight of the event was a captivating presentation by Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a renowned expert from UCSF, for the ninth annual William G. Luttge Lectureship in Neuroscience.

MBI 25 symposium directors Center directors from across UF participated in a research blitz session reflecting on 25 years of progress in brain research. Pictured from left: Drs. Matt LaVoie, Michael Jaffee, Adam Woods, Carol Mathews, Sara Jo Nixon, Roger Fillingim, Gordon Mitchell, Jennifer Bizon, Laura Ranum, Brandon Zielinski, and Sara Burke.

The William G. Luttge Lectureship in Neuroscience, made possible by the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, serves as a tribute to the late visionary neuroscientist, Dr. William G. "Bill" Luttge. Dr. Luttge was the founding director of UF's Brain Institute, which later evolved into the McKnight Brain Institute. The symposium began with an introduction by MBI Director, Dr. Jennifer Bizon, who shared a captivating video showcasing the institute's remarkable history. Over 250 faculty members, trainees, staff, and students filled the DeWeese Auditorium and additional viewing rooms to witness this momentous occasion.

"I want to take just a few minutes to acknowledge our rich history, which includes significant contributions from many who are in our audience today," said Dr. Bizon.

Among the esteemed audience members were Mrs. Michaelyn Luttge, wife of Dr. Luttge, and Dr. J. Lee Dockery, chair emeritus of the McKnight Brain Research Foundation. Dr. Dockery played a pivotal role in overseeing a generous $15 million gift from the foundation in 2000, leading to the institute's new name.

Reflecting on the institute's progress over the past 25 years, Dr. Michael Dockery, chairman of the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, expressed his confidence in the current leadership and the collaborative spirit that has flourished within the MBI. He emphasized the importance of honoring Dr. Luttge's legacy and his significant contributions to the University of Florida and the McKnight Brain Research Foundation.

MBI 25 symposium vistas A panel of rising faculty members participated in a discussion about the next 25 years of neuroscience and neuromedicine research. Pictured from left: Drs. Elias Sayour, Shellie-Anne Levy, Lakiesha Williams, Lori Knackstedt, Paola Giusti-Rodriguez, Eric Wang, and Ramon Sun.

Throughout the day, 11 directors of MBI research centers shared valuable insights into the progress made in key focus areas such as acquired neural injury, neurodegenerative diseases, and cognitive, behavioral, and sensory disorders. In addition, a panel of rising faculty members engaged in a thought-provoking discussion about the future of neuroscience and neuromedicine research in the next 25 years.

Dr. Adam Gazzaley's mesmerizing Luttge Lecture focused on his groundbreaking approaches to "experiential medicine" for optimizing brain function. His laboratory has developed therapeutic video games that aim to improve attention and working memory in older adults. Notably, his company's EndeavorRx immersive video game recently became the first FDA-cleared digital treatment for ADHD in children.

"I would say we are now firmly entrenched in what I'm calling this new era of experiential medicine," Gazzaley stated. "We didn't invent experiential medicine; it's been around for thousands of years, with mindfulness and meditation practices being a good example."

Gazzaley emphasized the accessibility and convenience of modern technological devices that deliver reproducible, targeted, and personalized treatments. These treatments are not only cost-effective but can also be monitored and adjusted remotely. The challenge now lies in changing expectations and ensuring widespread distribution to reap the full benefits of experiential medicine.

The MBI's 25th-anniversary symposium was a resounding success, celebrating the institute's significant contributions to neuroscience and neuromedicine. As the MBI enters a new chapter, its commitment to advancing research and improving brain health remains unwavering.

Images sourced from: starevent.vn

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