- Published: Tuesday, 08 December 2020 12:01
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Mikael Palner has been awarded a prestigious Sapere Aude Starting Grant, worth 4.459.417 DKK, from the Independent Research Fund Denmark (IFRD) for his 4-year project "Neuronal dysfunction in treatment resistant obsessive compulsive disorder and effectiveness of novel serotonergic drug treatments". We congratulate Mikael with the highly prestigious grant and look very much forward to hosting his project at NRU!
We’re delighted to report that our joint grant application "OpenNeuroPET: An Archive for PET data" with Bob Innis from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has been funded by the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies). Bob Innis is the PI of the grant which totals $4.4 M in funding over five years. The overall aim of the proposal it to establish an archive for PET data, i.e. OpenNeuroPET. OpenNeuroPET will be an extension of OpenNeuro, which is directed by Dr. Russell Poldrack of Stanford University. To establish the archive we will follow the recent Guidelines paper that specifies the content and format of PET brain data in publications and archives. In addition to an archive, we plan to provide useful tools to the PET community, including software for a data analysis pipeline, and quality control checks using simulated and real data.
In recent years, the importance of data sharing has increasingly been recognized by the neuroimaging community because of the poor replicability of findings, the need for appropriate quality control, the greater statistical power provided by larger samples, and the higher scientific impact of multilateral collaborations. In addition, our funding bodies and scientific journals increasingly require that the data be shared. This application proposes to establish an OpenNeuroPET Archive for PET data, following the recommendations of international leaders in the PET field. The Archive would be created in a way that would enable it to communicate and synergize with other datasets and imaging modalities.
Over the past three years, Drs. Knudsen and Innis have directed a committee of the NeuroReceptor Mapping community to recommend standards for the content and structure of brain PET and associated plasma data so that they can be meaningfully shared. At its recent biennial meeting in July 2018, the NeuroReceptor Mapping community of >300 attendees supported the recommendations of the committee and voted unanimously that we finalize these recommendation in a “white paper” and, commensurately, that we apply for a grant to establish a PET Archive. The paper is titled, “Guidelines for Content and Format of PET Brain Data in Publications and in Archives” and has been submitted to J. Cereb. Blood Flow and Metab.
The proposed OpenNeuroPET Archive will synergize with existing BRAIN initiatives in two important ways. First, we will follow the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) format and extend the BRAIN initiative-funded human MRI archive, OpenNeuro, to support PET. Second, we have included and will develop software to facilitate use of the Archive across collaborations with the larger MRI/fMRI community.
Aim 1: To establish a PET archive federated with OpenNeuro
We will establish a cloud-hosted PET data repository that implements the Guidelines approved by the international community of PET experts. Our Archive will extend the existing BRAIN Initiative human MRI repository (OpenNeuro.org) to support PET neuroimaging using the BIDS-PET standard. Maintaining the same code base and repository in collaboration with OpenNeuro will ensure that the new Archive will be fully integrated and inter-operable, which will help encourage collaboration between functional MRI and PET neuroimaging communities.
Aim 2: To support adoption and use by the neuroimaging community
The proposed OpenNeuroPET Archive already has the support of the NeuroReceptor Mapping community. In addition, fourteen individual investigators and 21 directors of PET centers or CNS subsections have signed a statement of support for the proposed PET archive and will encourage contributions to it (see Letter #19). We will continue to work with this community to guide the development of the Archive and to encourage its adoption. We will provide ongoing technical assistance and data curation support from PET imaging experts. To support the international adoption of the OpenNeuroPET Archive throughout the brain PET community, we will lead workshops on preparing and uploading data as well as make curators available at conferences across the neuroimaging community.
Aim 3: To establish molecular imaging brain atlases
This aim seeks to create a public database within the OpenNeuroPET Archive of average molecular target densities in the brains of healthy human subjects as quantified by in vivo PET. The molecular imaging brain atlases will be offered in formats that facilitate inclusion in MRI analyses, thus greatly expanding their potential impact. The OpenNeuroPET Archive will serve as the platform for aggregating already-collected data for dozens or hundreds of different molecular targets, thereby allowing a comprehensive characterization of, for example, the neuroreceptor signature of the human brain.
Research into serotonin and its role in treatment
The €4 mln EU project SEROTONIN and BEYOND will start in 2021
When a patient is treated for psychiatric symptoms, they are often given drugs that affect brain serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and critically involved in the communication between nerve cells in the brain. An important problem with these ‘serotonergic’ drugs is that patients don’t always respond to them.
In addition to being a neurotransmitter, serotonin has a major influence on brain development. Recent discoveries in brain research indicate that serotonin-mediated changes in brain development play an important role in the cause of psychiatric disorders. However, these changes in brain development are not the target of current drug treatments, and this may explain why they are not as effective as we want them to be.
The scope of the SEROTONIN and BEYOND project
This project aims to train the next generation of serotonin researchers and deliver new fundamental insights in how early life changes in serotonin caused by genetic or environmental factors alter brain development and thereby contribute to the cause of serotonergic psychiatric disorders.
These new insights have the potential to reveal novel targets for future therapies, as well as the developmental windows in which such interventions would be most effective.
A European network for new researchers
This multi-disciplinary project, led by prof Judith Homberg of Translational Neuroscience at Radboudumc, brings together researchers from leading European universities and institutes to create a network with world-leading expertise in serotonin research and training. Together, these partners will train fifteen talented PhD-students to lead research in serotonin, neural development and psychiatry in the years ahead.