Brain science is widely considered as one of the last frontiers of human knowledge and scientific research. According to the data from the WHO, diseases of the nervous system are one of the major disease categories that have cost our society a huge amount of financial and social resources. Nonetheless, therapeutic interventions for many brain disorders, such as autism, anxiety disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease are still scarce. To promote brain science research and to develop new therapeutic solutions for brain disorders, the Shenzhen Municipal Government has started a new initiative to build the Brain Science Infrastructure·Shenzhen (BSI·SZ). The initiative was proposed and led by Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and other participating institutions include Southern University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology-Shenzhen Research Institute, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, and Shenzhen Institute of Neuroscience. The goal of this initiative is to build a world-class research facility for brain science and technology. BSI·SZ is focused on supporting basic and clinical research for five major brain disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder, depression, stroke, and dyslexia.
BSI·SZ features three modules: Brain Editing, Brain Dissection, and Brain Simulation. The Brain Editing Module will use technologies such as the CRISPR system to develop genetically modified brain disease models using multiple organisms, including rodents and non-human primates. The Brain Dissection Module will employ a comprehensive set of analysis tools and technologies to probe phenotypic features of animal models for various brain disorders. Last but not least, the Brain Simulation Module will use true neuronal signals to reverse-engineer the brain, which can not only accelerate the development of artificial intelligence, but also find new ways to repair, educate, and augment our own minds. The three modules will include state-of-the-art equipment including high-field MRI, PET-MRI, PET-CT, VISoR for high-speed whole brain imaging, two-photon miniature microscope, gene-editing facilities, advanced facilities for rodents and non-human primates, etc. BSI·SZ will be open to all scientists around the world with the goal to support scientists from China and worldwide to tackle some of the most challenging topics in brain science and brain disorder research.
The initial proposal of BSI·SZ was approved by the Development and Reform Commission of Shenzhen Municipality on Apr. 28th, 2018 with total investment of 879 million RMB. It’s designed by Tongji Architectural Design Group and is currently under construction. It’s expected to provide service in late 2023 and will serve as one of the key components of the Guangming Science City in Guangming District, Shenzhen, which aims to become an integrated national science center.
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