NeuroBridges—Bridging the gap between Arab, Israeli, and German neuroscientists

„From a scientific point of view, we intend to foster an exchange between experimental and theoretical neuroscientists,“ says Ahmed El Hady at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen. He is one of three members of the conference organizing committee which also includes Tim Gollisch at the Bernstein Center Göttingen and Yonatan Loewenstein at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). To encourage the scientific dialogue, the conference participants report in nineteen presentations on their latest findings in the field of Systems and Computational Neuroscience. The topics range from research on memory function to epilepsy and brain-machine interfaces.

Aside from the scientific discussion, the organizers regard the intercultural exchange as an important goal of the event. „We think that scientists have a responsibility beyond their own research—they should promote common understanding between people from different nations,“ El Hady explains. The organizers have invited 21 speakers; seven of them are Arab, seven Israeli, and seven German scientists. The side program, which includes a dinner and a city tour, is designed to encourage personal exchange of ideas and to establish new collaborations between the participants. „Scientific collaborations often lead to personal relations and may therefore—in the long run—alleviate the political distress between Arabs and Israelis,“ El Hady describes his hopes. The NeuroBridges symposium is not planned as a one-time event—it is thought to be the start of an anually held symposium for Arab, Israeli, and German neuroscientists.

The Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen is part of the National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience in Germany. With this funding initiative, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has supported the new discipline of Computational Neuroscience since 2004 with over 180 million Euros. The network is named after the German physiologist Julius Bernstein (1835-1917).

Dr. Ahmed El Hady Hashem
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Department of NanoBiophotonics
Am Faßberg 11
37077 Göttingen
Tel: +49 (0) 551 201-2500

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