INCF Newsletter with neuroinformatics community activities, new publications, and upcoming events
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Message from the Directors

Welcome everyone to the end of year edition of the INCF newsletter! 2015 has been a productive year which saw Malaysia join our international network, 2 Node launches, 2 Node workshops, 4 exhibitions at conferences, 17 Google Summer of Code projects, 19 INCF Program-related events, new collaborations (such as the Allen Brain Institute’s Big Neuron project, Microsoft Health), expansion of the CENTER-TBI initiative to Australia and China, the start of a new initiative on data sharing for dementia research, and support for 4 training courses.

At the INCF Governing Board meeting in late November, the Board and Secretariat celebrated a decade of INCF. As we now draw to the end of the second phase of operations, we would like to thank all of the INCF community and collaborators who have contributed so much to the organisation over the past decade. The third phase of INCF begins at a point in time where the field of neuroinformatics has emerged as a major and necessary enabler in modern data-intensive neuroscience. This is an exciting time of opportunity for the field and for our organisation. We look forward to working with the community to develop and expand activities as INCF launches into phase 3!

If you have not already done so, please download the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

We wish you a happy and peaceful festive season and much success in the coming new year. 
INCF Governing Board members and Secretariat staff at the last Board meeting of Phase 2. Countries represented in this meeting: Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK. Via video: Malaysia, US, and Australia.

INCF celebrates 10 years!

At the INCF Governing Board meeting in late November, the Board and Secretariat celebrated a decade of INCF, counted from the formal start of INCF with eight founding member countries in August 2005. During that time, INCF has established Nodes in eighteen member countries, run four Scientific Programs with a core volunteer community of over 200 scientists, and arranged or sponsored more than 150 courses, conferences, workshops and meetings across five continents. 

2nd Belgian Neuroinformatics Congress

The INCF Belgian Node arranged the 2nd Belgian Neuroinformatics Congress on December 4. The congress met very enthusiastic reception from the Belgian Neuroscience community. Over 80 participants gathered in the building of a beautiful old Franciscan monastery, which currently hosts the Irish College in Leuven. There were two distinguished keynote speakers, Pascal Fries from ESI Max Planck institute for neuroscience and Rainer Goebel from Maastricht University.

Over the lunch break the participants had the chance to discuss their posters, about 40 in total, and get feedback from the speakers and fellow participants. Additionally, some participants from the Netherlands also attended, including Rembrandt Bakker from the Dutch INCF node. The congress was sponsored by FWO, IMEC, the Catholic University of Leuven, University of Ghent and University of Antwerp. 

Poster abstracts can be viewed on the event page. There is also an image gallery with photos from the event.

INCF at SfN 2015

This year marks the 10th anniversary of INCF exhibiting at SfN - and the tenth consecutive year with demos of neuroscience tools and projects from our Programs, our Nodes and the community at large (see schedule and abstracts). Our warm thanks to all presenters and contributors! 

This year INCF also arranged a Neurodata Without Borders info social as well as the official SfN-sponsored neuroinformatics social, and co-sponsored the popular SfN Banter (see blog post).

Succesful Malaysian Node launch

On October 9, the new INCF Malaysia Node hosted their annual workshop on Intelligent Signal and Imaging for Biomedical Applications, attended by just over 100 people. The workshop included the official launch of the Node, attended by the Deputy Minister for Higher Education. INCF's Executive Director Linda Lanyon made a presentation and took part in the press conference and discussions with the Deputy Minister. INCF Japan Node’s Yoko Yamaguchi and INCF Victoria Node’s David Abbott gave presentations about work in their Nodes.

Neurodata Without Borders 1st release

Neurodata Without Borders ( is a broad initiative - supported by INCF, Kavli, Allen Brain, GE, and Janelia Farm - that aims to standardize neuroscience data and remove barriers to data sharing in the neuroscience field. A paper describing their first collaborative project, finding a common data format for neurophysiology, has just been published in Neuron. The alpha version of the data format, along with APIs and tools, is available on the NWB Github page. The chosen format was strongly influenced by existing systems and standards, including those developed within INCF (see the INCF requirements document).
It takes the world to understand the brain!
Coordinating the large-scale brain projects is necessary and feasible, and organizations like INCF can help, says this brief report from the Suzhou discussions held in June (Science, Oct 2)

Publications in brief

Interactionist Neuroscience
In this opinion piece, the authors argue that scientists studying animal and human neuroscience need to interact more closely, and that the new generation of neuroscientists must be trained differently to facilitate interaction.

Big Data challenges in understanding the brain
A brief report by INCF's Linda Lanyon and Malin Sandström on the neuroinformatics challenges in modern brain research, and on INCF's mission.

Sharing the wealth: Brain Imaging Repositories in 2015
This NeuroImage special issue provides an "admittedly incomplete" image of the state of neuroimaging data sharing in 2015. More than 40 repositories or datasets are described in the first issue, with a second issue to follow.

Long-Term Two-Photon Calcium Imaging of Neuronal Populations with Subcellular Resolution in Adult Non-human Primates
Researchers at RIKEN describe a new method for long-term imaging of neuronal populations in marmosets.

NSDF: Neuroscience Simulation Data Format
This article discusses the requirements for efficiently documenting simulated neuronal data, as compared to data from wet experiments, and describes a proposed HDF5 based data format to meet these requirements.

Neurodata Without Borders: Creating a Common Data Format for Neurophysiology 
This article in Neuron describes the first release from the Neurodata Without Borders initiative, a use-case driven data format for neurophysiology which is based on HDF5. 

Canonical genetic signatures of the adult human brain 
This paper describes results from the largest yet study of genetic expression patterns in the human brain, based on an analysis of the Allen Human Brain Atlas' 3700 samples from six human brains.

A National Network of Neurotechnology Centers for the BRAIN Initiative
In this opinion piece, the authors propose the creation of a network of US national centers than could serve as hubs - both for neurotechnology development and as “brain observatories.”

Progress and challenges in probing the human brain
A comprehensive review of methods currently used to study the human brain, with particular emphasis on fMRI.

Sharing Neuron Data: Carrots, Sticks, and Digital Records
This article discusses incentives and barriers to neuroscience data sharing with examples drawn from the nearly decade-long history of the neural reconstruction database NeuroMorpho.Org.

Reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research: improving research practice 
This report from several UK funders is based on a symposium held in April 2015. It discusses reasons for scientific irreproducibility, along with possible strategies and solutions.

A game theoretic analysis of research data sharing 
Game theory analysis shows that individual researchers are better of not sharing their data, even though it hinders progress of the field as a whole - unless sharing is turned into a more concrete benefit.
Submit your paper to the new INCF Community Channel on F1000 Research!

Courses and Conferences

Comprehensive Brain Science Winter Workshop
December 17-19, 2015
Tokyo, Japan

Neurobiology and Neuroinformatics (NBNI) 2015
December 20-22, 2015
South Korea

HBP CodeJam #7
January 11-14, 2016
Manchester, UK

Interpreting BOLD: a dialogue between cognitive and cellular neuroscience
January 28-29, 2016
Buckinghamshire, UK
Limited places: waiting list only

4th annual winter q-bio meeting
February 15-18, 2016
Honolulu, USA

Interdisciplinary College 2016 Spring School:
Transitions and transformations in Cognition, Biology and Interactive Systems

March 4-11, 2016
Günne at Lake Möhne, Germany
Early-bird registration deadline: January 9, 2016
Regular registration deadline: February 14, 2016

Neuro-Inspired Computational Elements Workshop
March 7-9, 2016
Berkeley, USA

State of the Brain
May 22-26, 2016
Alpbach, Austria
Abstract submission deadline: February 23, 2016

2nd International Conference on Mathematical Neuroscience (ICMNS 2016)
May 29-June 1
Juan-les-Pins, France
Submission deadline: January 7

Nengo Summer School
June 5-17, 2016
Ontario, Canada
Application deadline: February 15, 2016

EMBO Workshop on Dendritic Anatomy, Molecules and Function (DENDRITES 2016)
June 18-21, 2016
Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Abstract submission deadline: February 15, 2016

AREADNE 2016 Research in Encoding And Decoding of Neural Ensembles
June 22-26, 2016
Santorini, Greece
Abstract submission deadline: February 22, 2016

22nd Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping
OHBM 2016

June 26-30, 2016
Geneva, Switzerland
Abstract submission deadline: January 7, 2016

10th FENS Forum of Neuroscience
July 2-6, 2016
Copenhagen, Denmark
Abstract submission deadline: February 10, 2016
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