Victoria, Australia, a new INCF Node is born

INCF welcomed its 17th Node last February, when two Victorian supercomputing facilities joined INCF: The Multimodal Australian Sciences Imaging and Visualization Environment (MASSIVE) based at Monash University and the Synchrotron and Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI) based at the Melbourne University. The INCF National Node of Victoria, Australia was born.

victoria_2On February 22nd 2013, two Victorian supercomputing facilities joined INCF: The Multimodal Australian Sciences Imaging and Visualization Environment (MASSIVE) based at Monash University and the Synchrotron and Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI) based at the Melbourne University. The INCF National Node of Victoria, Australia was born. 

The opening included talks by the Executive Director of INCF, Professor Sean Hill, Professor Gary Egan (Monash University), Professor Trevor Kilpatrick (The University of Melbourne) and a plenary address by Professor Allan Jones, Chief Executive Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. It was followed by two inaugural Neuroinformatics workshops. A first workshop entitled Clinical Neuroscience Informatics conveyed Professor Sean Hill (INCF), Dr. Sue Evans (Monash University), Dr. Guillermo Lopez-­‐Campos (University of Melbourne) and Professor Russell Gruen (Monash University and Alfred Hospital); a second workshop entitled Neuroscience Atlases and Informatics assembled Professor Mark Ellisman (University of California San Diego), Dr. Neil Killeen (University of Melbourne) and Dr. David Barnes (Monash Biomedical Imaging and e-­‐Research and VLSCI). Closing remarks were given by Professor Peter Taylor (Director of VLSCI). 62 delegates and speakers participated in this launch, with more than thirty organizations represented. The evening before, Professor Allan Jones gave a public lecture for the ’ICT 4 Life Sciences Forum’, with more than 100 attendees. 

Professor Gary Egan, Director of Monash Biomedical Imaging, a research platform that encompasses the biomedical imaging research facilities at Monash University, will serve as Scientific Representative to the INCF Governing Board and Coordinator of the Victorian Node. Prof. Egan is also lead investigator of the Victorian Biomedical Imaging Capability, the Deputy Director of the Australian National Imaging Facility, node director of the Monash University node of the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF) and Head of the Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative (VLSCI) Computational Imaging Theme. In his own words:

StartquoteINCF is like Google for the brain when it comes to brain researchEndquote

victoria_1The INCF National Node of Victoria, Australia, has been established for an initial period of three years. The aims of the Node are to support the neuroscience research communities at Monash University and the University of Melbourne, using the MASSIVE and VLSCI supercomputers, to develop neuroimaging data management and analytic tools, and to develop programs in clinical Neuroinformatics research in cooperation with clinical neuroscientists and informatics. Already, the MASSIVE and VLSCI supercomputing infrastructure is contributing to the development of scalable, portable and extensible applications that are being used by neuroscience research laboratories across Victoria for storing, analysis and simulating brain mechanisms and processes. This is crucial as it is furthering the knowledge of the human brain and the understanding of the etiology of brain disease. MASSIVE and VLSCI are being used for management, analysis, and visualization of bioimaging datasets from the Victorian Biomedical Imaging Capability nodes and from the Imaging and Medical Beam Line at the Australian Synchrotron.

Membership in INCF will provide Victorian researchers with the possibility to participate in formulation and implementation of the INCF Programs, coordination of Neuroinformatics research activities, neuroscience data, eligibility to host the Annual INCF Neuroinformatics Congress (held annually in a member country), promotion of the development of Neuroinformatics and development of standards for the contents and quality of the neuroscience databases, analytical tools and computational models. As Professor Egan explains:

StartquoteINCF membership would put Victoria at the center of international neuroscience research efforts and the development of collaborative frameworks, including agreed computer platformsEndquote

Professor Sean Hill also highlights:

StartquoteThe INCF Programs and the ongoing activities in the Neuroinformatics community represent a real opportunity to form a unified international Neuroinformatics infrastructure, that spans digital atlases, databases, ontologies, analysis tools and large scale modeling -­‐   so that Neuroinformatics becomes part of every neuroscientist´s researchEndquote 





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