Carney Year in Review - In 2023, Carney continued to push the boundaries of brain science

What a year it’s been for brain science at Brown! From exploring the rise of ChatGPT and AI, to the expansion of the fluid biomarkers lab, to awards for innovative new technologies, Carney’s community of faculty, researchers and trainees are pushing scientific boundaries and expanding our understanding of the brain.

Here is a “baker’s dozen” of some of our favorite stories from the past year. 

More Human Than Human? - ChatGPT - February 8 
In this Carney Conversation, Carney faculty dug into the natural language processing programming and neuroscience behind ChatGPT, a chatbot released by AI research laboratory in November 2022, as well as its implications for the classroom, the workplace and society at large. 


Brown Brain Bee brings brain science to local high schoolers - February 28 
A group of Providence-area high school students hit the books last spring break, vying to win the 2023 Brown Brain Bee — an annual neuroscience trivia competition hosted at Brown to inspire the next generation of scientists and researchers. 


The 2023 Zimmerman Innovation Awards - April 10
The year, the Zimmerman Innovation Awards provided $564,000 in seed funding for six, new high-impact research projects led by 10 Brown University scientists in computation, visual science, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. 


Carney scientists present their groundbreaking spinal implant research to Congress for DARPA Demo Day - May 8
Carney faculty David Borton and Jared Fridley presented their research on the Intelligent Spine Interface to the U.S. Congress at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) 2023 Demo Day. This groundbreaking clinical trial is aimed at restoring limb movement, sensation and bladder control in individuals who have suffered spinal cord injuries using an implant. 


Mind-body effects of qigong might help ease cancer-related fatigue - May 31
When the late Brown University researcher Catherine Kerr had cancer, she benefited from an ancient Chinese practice known as qigong and began looking into its impact on others. Her colleagues are building on Kerr’s work, studying how practicing qigong affects a person’s perception of fatigue in a group of female cancer patients just out of treatment. 


Five Brown Ph.D. students receive '23-24 Graduate Awards in Brain Science - June 26
Sophie Brown, Alana Jaskir, James Kentro, Bahati Nkera and Jae-Young Son are winners of the '23-'24 Graduate Awards in Brain Science. Their groundbreaking work spans everything from research on the olfactory system, to sleep, to neurodevelopmental disorders, to Alzheimer’s disease.   


New tool explains how AI ‘sees’ images and why it might mistake an astronaut for a shovel - June 28 
A team of Brown brain and computer scientists developed a new approach to understanding computer vision, which can be used to help create better, safer and more robust artificial intelligence systems.


Students knock it out of the park thanks to one Carney lab’s ethos of encouragement - July 12
Rachel McLaughlin, a Ph.D. student in Diane Hoffman-Kim's lab, devised a way to screen stroke therapies in a dish using "mini-brains, "a product of her lab that replicates attributes of actual brains within a group of cells no larger than the tip of a pencil. But when the journal In vitro requested she perform and analyze additional experiments, she needed help. 


One vial at a time, researchers at Brown analyze the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease - August 15
In a new fluid biomarkers laboratory at Brown’s Carney Institute for Brain Science, researchers study blood samples for biological signals of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, expanding access to cutting edge research for rapid diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease progression. 


Carney and the RI community join together on World Alzheimer's Day for a discussion about the latest Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment - September 28
Organized by the Carney Institute's Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and hosted by the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, the event included a panel conversation, a resource fair and an open house-style discussion highlighting the incredible advances that have occurred in AD research in the last several years. 

Carney Institute Director Diane Lipscombe awarded the 2023 Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship - August
This summer, Carney Institute Director Diane Lipscombe was awarded the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Landis Award for showing "dedication to superior mentorship and training in neuroscience research." 


A Vision for the Future of Dementia  - October
Ted Huey, director of the Memory and Aging Program, is excited about Brown’s potential to change the Alzheimer’s disease research landscape. "Brown and Carney have really focused on helping to grow the program on research into Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias as a whole. They’re building bridges to help people facilitate new programs. And it’s so valuable." 


Researchers from across the globe join together for a day-long symposium on autism and rare genetic diseases - October 23
“Having this international body of researchers in one space, openly sharing their work and interacting with the audience is invaluable,” said assistant professor and lead symposium organizing committee member Sofia Lizarraga. “It’s in settings like these where we chart the course for future research collaborations where breakthroughs in autism and rare genetic diseases are made.”