Inauguration of the Neuro-X Institute

© 2022 EPFL - M. Vetterli

© 2022 EPFL - M. Vetterli

On October 7th, 2022, more than 300 participants attended the official inauguration of the newly-formed Neuro-X Institute.

The Neuro-X Institute has been created across the Schools of Engineering, Life Sciences, and Computer and Communication Sciences, to drive translational research at the convergence of neurosciences, neurotechnologies and artificial intelligence.

Sharing, creating knowledge and know-how are rooted in the very concept of the Neuro-X institute that supports the polytechnic mission of EPFL. We hope to unlock some of the secrets of the nervous system, advance our concepts in AI to explore learning and behavior, and engineer innovative neurotechnologies to treat, cure and prevent neurological disorders and trauma. Close collaboration and exchanges with our neighbouring university hospitals and international medical centres are also central to the institute mission.

At this occasion, following an introduction by Martin Vetterli and Stéphanie Lacour (Neuro-X Institute founding director) international thought leaders gave insights into various aspects of neuro-research:

  • John Rogers (Northwestern University) described cutting edge research in neural interfaces, at the crossroads of material science, neural engineering and neuroscience.
  • Tim Denison (University of Oxford) presented his approach to deliver new brain stimulation therapies through integrated technological platforms to patients suffering from epilepsy and chronic pain.
  • Morten Kringelbach (Universtiy of Oxford) proposed a new theory of brain function, which can identify and explain the relevant changes in the hierarchical orchestration of information flow.
  • Jin Hyung Lee (Stanford University) explained how a combination of advanced tools, such as electrophysiological measurements, optogenetics and fMRI can provide quantified information about the interactions between brain circuits in health and disease.
  • Randy McIntosh (Simon Frasier University) described the VirtualBrain platform, which enables whole brain simulation with quantification and qualities comparable to classical neuro-imaging methods, and how it can help clinicians plan interventions, for example in drug-resistant epilepsy.
  • Tamar Makin (University of Cambridge) dived into the complexity of integrating a foreign limb in a human body, and how a biomimetic approach might not be optimal for patients
  • Jocelyne Bloch (CHUV-UNIL-EPFL, NeuroRestore) and Grégoire Courtine (EPFL, NeuroRestore) reviewed their most recent work in restoring gating and walking ability in patients with spinal cord injury or neurodegenerative diseases, and how basic neuroscience, engineering and clinical medicine work hand-in-hand to deliver ever refined therapies to patients.

More than 300 participants joined us in celebrating the creation of this new institute. We are excited and pushed by their enthusiasm, and humbled by the many challenges that patients suffering from neural disorders still face.

In parallel to the Neuro-X Institute research mission, the three Schools have also created an educational program, in the form of the Neuro-X Master.