Sports Neuroscience Initiative Will Host Cross-Campus Conference

The UC Sports Neuroscience Initiative (SNI), a newly formed effort to achieve research breakthroughs that will enhance student-athletes’ health and safety, will host a cross-campus academic conference Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, with a goal of encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations.

The conference, which will be held in UC’s Medical Sciences Building, is open to all UC and UC-affiliated faculty, and will lead to the awarding of multiple Sports Health Innovation awards including funding of up to $20,000 each. The winning projects must involve collaboration between investigators from at least two of the research teams attending the conference.

“Our goal with the Sports Neuroscience Initiative is to improve the health of student-athletes and enhance their safe participation in high-level athletic programs without a risk of lifelong repercussions,” says Jon Divine, MD, SNI’s director and an associate professor in the orthopaedic surgery department at the UC College of Medicine who is also UC’s head team physician.

Cal Adler, MD, a professor in the psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience department and director of the UC Center for Imaging Research, and Joe Clark, PhD, are associate directors of the SNI. Divine and Adler are principal investigators of a study designed to examine the brains of post-collegiate football players via magnetic resonance imaging to investigate functional and anatomic changes. Clark has conducted extensive research on traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussion.

At the conference, research groups will discuss their interests and expertise and will have the opportunity to explore the work being done across UC and affiliated institutions. The types of projects that will be considered, Divine says, will:

  • Stimulate the development of new clinical and translational inter- and multi-disciplinary teams
  • Develop new methodologies to leverage institutional strengths and new initiatives.
  • Pursue high-risk, high-reward studies.
  • Encourage collaboration.

This cross-campus academic conference will be an annual event, organizers say, to encourage further multidisciplinary collaborations. Plans are also underway for an education program designed to engage community interest in sports health, with the first event focusing on brain health.

“We’re excited about the prospect of achieving medical advances and research breakthroughs that enhance athlete health and safety in our competitive sports programs, the Greater Cincinnati sports community and athletes worldwide,” Divine says.

For more information, contact Kim Hasselfeld at 513-584-3931.

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