Yesterday on the 50th anniversary of of President Kennedy’s speech challenging the nation to put a man on the moon, Vice President Joe Biden was in Boston trying to recapture the spirit of that momentous goal and apply it to brain research and other major challenges facing the country and world.
“Advances in science and health that will increase the quality of life for millions of Americans and tens of millions of people the world over,” he said according to his prepared remarks. “This is an incredible time in which we live, a time of extraordinary possibilities. We are a nation of people who are always about – possibilities.”
Tackling the nation’s need for advancement in brain research has been dubbed the next “moon shot” and has been spurred on by Patrick Kennedy, a former US Representative and co-chairman of the “One Mind for Research’’ initiative.
Biden spoke to about 400 philanthropists, policy makers, scientists and academics at the John F. Kennedy Presidentail Library and Museum during a fund-raising luncheon, according to the Boston Globe.
The campaign comes amid declining money for brain research and part of the goal is to bring more money to try and find answers to problems like brain tumors and psychiatric disorders.
The executive director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, where a brain research has been a primary focus in its inaugural year, is eager to see this new national focus on brain disease and disorders.
“We are very strategically positioned as world leaders in that area,” said Michael Friedlander, who attended the vice president’s speech in Boston. “The hope is to make this a major initiative for us.”
Friedlander, a neuroscientist, said the purpose of the event was to launch a 10-year plan focused on advancing neuroscience research.
Friedlander said one of the institute’s highly recruited researchers Read Montague was directly involved with the planning for the One Mind for Research initiative. Montague was part of a panel of scientists who worked over the past ten months to set the agenda for the next decade, Friedlander said.
“It’s a big deal,” he said.