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International Conference To Be Held in Roanoke Will Explore Brain Cancer, Mental Health, Neurodegeneration

The third international Precision Neuroscience Conference slated for May in Roanoke unites multidisciplinary brain researchers and clinicians from across the globe to support brain health.

With an expected rise in the rate of neurological disease and brain cancer worldwide, the conference aims to advance neuroscience-based precision medicine that considers people’s unique characteristics to tailor treatment and prevention strategies for neurological and psychiatric disorders, brain injuries, early brain development, and the effects of aging on the brain.

Hosted by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, known for its fast-growing translational neuroscience research programs, the international Precision Neuroscience Conference builds on a collaboration between Nordic and Virginia universities. It will be held at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center from May 25-26.

“This third such program will feature experts taking deeper dives to exploration of precision-based approaches to understanding individual differences in brain development and function as well as new strategies for preventing, diagnosing, and treating brain disorders,” said Michael Friedlander, Virginia Tech’s vice president for Health Sciences and Technology and executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute. “After two years of pandemic-related delays, we very much look forward to meeting with our colleagues and collaborators from overseas and across the U.S. as well as welcoming new members to the Precision Neuroscience consortium.”

The meeting represents a major scientific coalescence in Roanoke of some of the world’s best scientists. Building on the success of previous editions of the program held in Oslo, Norway, in 2018, and in Roanoke in 2016, this year’s conference features 29 prominent thought leaders in mental health, brain cancer, neurodevelopment, aging, neurodegeneration, and brain injury research.

Keynote speakers at this year’s conference bring forward-looking applications of precision medicine in neuronal circuit regeneration, DNA repair, and mental health treatments:

  • Carol Mason, member of the National Academy of Sciences and principal investigator at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute, who studies how the brain’s visual system develops.
  • Jan Hoejimakers, principal investigator at the University of Cologne and a professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, who pioneered DNA repair dynamics in living cells to curb conditions related to cancer and aging.
  • Josh Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, where he oversees a $2 billion research portfolio aimed to preventing and treating mental illness.

The conference is organized by a progressive partnership of neuroscientists at Virginia Tech, University of Oslo, University of Bergen, Aarhus University, and Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital.

Together, the organizers aim to continue advancing the field and improve brain health by aligning innovators in basic science, translational research, clinical research, therapy, and prevention.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students, fellows, early-career faculty, and established investigators to hear some of the most innovative approaches to precision neuroscience, interact with each other, and make new colleagues,” Friedlander said.

Poster abstract submission and registration are open. Student discounts are available. To view the program and register, visit

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