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Director's message

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Director's message

Professor Kim Cornish, Inaugural Director

Kim Cornish

The human brain contains tens of billions of cells. They are the longest lasting cells in the body, persisting from conception to death. They are the most plastic, connecting and re-connecting, creating shifting constellations of brain networks. They house more genetic activity than any other cell in the body.

It's complicated

This breathtaking complexity underpins the human condition. From our seamless experience of the outside world through just five senses, to empathy, to our ability to navigate through space, to our capacity to recognise the face of a loved one, to learning, to sleep —all rest in the brain.

But with complexity comes vulnerability. Untreated brain disorders account for a massive 13% of the global health burden. The costs in limitations on people's ability to reach their full potential are immeasurable.

Thankfully, this situation is not immutable. The still-young discipline of neuroscience is transforming our understanding of how the human brain works from infancy to old age, in sickness and in health.

Which is where the Monash Institute for Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences comes in.

A discovery pipeline

At MICCN, we are laying the foundations for a pipeline of discovery in areas of critical importance to human well-being: attention and memory, sleep, and addiction.

Through MICCN's knowledge-sharing program, we will ensure these findings are disseminated throughout the neuroscience community,and beyond to inform public debate, enrich our culture, and actively involve the public in the discovery process.

We are also creating structures,culture and connections to more rapidly turn the knowledge we generate into benefits to the community, such as improving prospects for recovery from drug addiction or head injury, enhancing learning in schools or reducing accidents in the workplace.

Double the benefits

Innovation and calculated risk-taking within our ranks will be rewarded. In this regard, were cognise that Australian and global reforms to convert new scientific knowledge into useful outcomes have been slower to have impact than anyone would wish. So we will strive to be agents of change, continuously assessing and improving our knowledge translation strategies. In this way, we will benefit society in two ways: by partnering with industry and the clinical sector to deliver new technologies and practices that improve the human condition, and by refining best-practice in knowledge translation.

Last, but not least, we will train the next generation of clinical and cognitive neuroscientists to be as skilled in the clinic as they are at the bench, as useful to business as they are to academia.

These are exciting times for neuroscience, and for MICCN. We hope you will join us on our journey towards understanding how to nurture healthy brains and healthy minds.