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NU2042 looks to the future


The future looks bright, indeed.  The Grande Event Centre was the place to be last Thursday night for a rare glimpse into what lies ahead in terms of neuroscience research.

Nipissing University hosted the first installment of a new speaker series, NU2042, featuring five researchers speaking for five minutes, looking 25 years into the future through the lens of their research. 

It was an opportunity to celebrate Nipissing’s 25th anniversary as an independent university by looking ahead, while also celebrating 40 years of Neuroscience at Nipissing; each of the presenters were connected to neuroscience, and four were graduates who worked in Nipissing’s neuroscience lab as students.

The room was filled to capacity and patrons enjoyed drinks and appetizers while treated to some fun, engaging and thoughtful discussion about what the future might hold. 

Dr. Andrew Weeks showed how the next steps in three-dimensional modeling of the human brain will revolutionize our understanding of its mechanisms.

Dr. Phil Nickerson discussed his work in repairing damaged cells in the eye and the need to be pragmatic and trust the research process as new cells are created that will work for everyone to treat eye degeneration and even blindness.

Dr. Michael Jones talked about his work in creating artificial intelligence, how computer engineers are going back to study the human brain and how it develops in their quest for AI.  He was cautiously optimistic that in 25 years, Skynet would not be live and the human race would hopefully not be enslaved by killer, AI robots.

Dr. Jeff Kleim talked about neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to react and physically change, and how current and future technology will work with the brain to overcome catastrophic spinal chord injuries.

Dr. Justin Carré discussed how international collaborations that cross academic disciplines will evolve, allowing for a much better understanding of a multitude of humanity, including his area of human aggression.

All in all, it was a spectacular night.

The next NU2042 is scheduled for September 21; NU News predicts that you will want to be there.
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