BraYn (Brainstorming Research Assembly for Young Neuroscientists) was born from the urge of a group of colleagues that shared the dream to organize a scientific conference to gather young neuroscientists from different laboratories across Italy and Europe. In late 2010s it came clear to Giovanni Ferrara and his colleagues that young researchers engaged in different fields of basic and clinical neurological sciences would benefit from a dedicated place where they could independently discuss their work and network together. Hence, in the fall of 2017, the groundwork was laid for the first conference and then the project was fully achieved with the establishment of the BraYn Association, officially founded on April 13, 2021.
The founders of the BraYn Association are a group of 14 neuroscientists: Stefano Angiari, Barbara Bettegazzi, Enrica Boda, Giovanna Calabrese, Giuseppina D’Alessandro, Jose Lifante Cañavate, Pellegrino Lippiello, Manuela Medelin, Giovanni Nardo, Rosa Chiara Paolicelli, Ilaria Prada, Margherita Romeo, Maria Chiara Trolese, Eleonora Vannini, and of course Giovanni Ferrara as the first elected President.
Over the years, the original panels dedicated to Neuroinflammation, Neurodegeneration, Neurophysiology & Neural Plasticity, and Neuro-Oncology, were joined by Paediatric Neuroscience & Epilepsy, Neuroimaging, and Clinical Neuroscience sessions to promote interdisciplinary interaction among all the figures, from basic researchers to physicians involved in the neuroscience field.
The first international meeting was organized in Genoa (Italy) in 2018, pursuing the aim of creating a scientifically exciting environment especially for PhD students and junior postdocs, where the exchange of knowledge, skills, and ideas was nurtured and the opportunity to establish new collaborations was maximized. The enthusiastic feedback of the more than 300 participants, encouraged the Scientific Committee to plan annual BraYn meetings.
Therefore in 2019, a group of young enthusiastic scientist, named the BraYniacs, were officially engaged by the Scientific Committee in the organization of the Conference second edition held in Milan (Italy), where more than 500 attendees were welcomed. The creation of this board is not only of great help in the preparation of the future editions of the Meeting, but, in line with the general purpose of BraYn, gives the opportunity to young scientists to be actively involved in the realization of a tailored event. In this occasion, to concretely support the work of young neuroscientists, it was established the BraYn Starting Grant, that is now a solid tradition, in which 14’000 euros have already been invested and more is expected.
Forced by the global situation imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic emergency, in 2020 the BraYn conference was transformed into a virtual meeting. Despite the lack of personal contacts, which are so important to such a meeting, the community of young neuroscientists was not intimidated by the challenge and more than 600 participants connected to follow lectures given by eminent national and international speakers, talks, and poster sessions.
In 2021 we had the honour to welcome in Pisa (Italy) prof. Thomas Südhof, 2013 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine for the discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic. He was so impressed with BraYn’s spirit and accomplishment that he accepted to become a permanent mentor for the project.
The match between young effervescent minds and the presence of prominent figures in the Neuroscience field resulted in very productive events, where the brainstorming fostered enthusiasm and communication among young generations of researchers. The BraYn Association is also committed to support the research of young neuroscientists at different levels, helping them in fund-raising activities, with particular attention to their formation supplying also training and congress fellowships.
Since its birth, in the vision of connecting more and more neuroscientists, BraYn has established and maintained very close connections with other national and international Neuroscience Societies, and editorial groups such as the International Brain Research organization (IBRO), Company of Biologists, Eubrain, Fontiers, MDPI and very recently with the Società Italiana di Biologia Sperimentale (SIBS), Italian Society of Neuroscience (SINS) and with Società Italiana di Neurologia (SIN) young investigators.