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In February 2010, when speaking at an OHSU Brain Awareness Lecture, Congressman Earl Blumenauer discussed the critical importance of neuroscience research and announced the formation of a Congressional Neuroscience Caucus.

Mission of the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus

When speaking at an OHSU Brain Awareness Lecture, Congressman Blumenauer discussed the critical importance of neuroscience research and announced the formation of a Congressional Neuroscience Caucus.

Co-Chaired by Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the aim of the Caucus is to build awareness of the intrinsic role brain research plays in understanding ourselves and our society, to help communicate the progress and the benefits of this research, and to help inform federal policy.

About the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus

The brain is the last great frontier of medical science; increased focus is required as neuroscience is at a historic turning point. A continuous stream of advances is shattering long-held notions about how the human brain works and what happens when it doesn’t. These advances are also reshaping the landscapes of other fields, from psychology to economics, education and the law.

These advances come at a critical time — currently one in four people individuals is afflicted with a neurological or psychiatric disorder. There are more people with brain disorders than all cancers and heart problems combined. And as society ages, this number will increase exponentially as will the cost to the healthcare system, the economy, and society.

These problems are the leading cause of disability, resulting in more hospitalizations and long-term care than all other disorders combined. From autism to Alzheimer’s, neuroscience research is the only way to stem this growing epidemic. It is a looming disaster that is hanging over the heads – and brains – of the boomer generation. Only through research will the causes, cures, and ultimately prevention of neurological and psychiatric disorders be found. By unlocking the secrets of the brain, this research will doubtlessly improve our lives.

What Does the Neuroscience Caucus Do?

The Congressional Neuroscience Caucus develops and promotes legislation that will further advance neuroscience research; sponsoring briefings and information sessions on neuroscience research and findings; collaborating with patient advocacy, physician, and research organizations to build awareness; and distributing congressional communications and information such as Dear Colleagues and Congressional Record statements.

Legislation in the 114th Congress

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act Congressman Blumenauer offered and successfully passed a bipartisan amendment that ensures the Veterans Administration continues to have the resources it needs to find innovative medicines and enhanced diagnostics for soldiers and veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. It requires that no less than $7 billion in medical research goes toward post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury research and treatment in order to expedite a cure for hundreds of thousands of active duty personnel and veterans suffering the effects of brain- and psychological-trauma incurred during service.


Past Briefings

May 20th, 2014 Third Annual Brain Mapping Day

Hosted with the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT) and the Brain Mapping Foundation

Moderated by Dr. Babak Kateb, President of Brain Mapping Foundation, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Society for Brain Mapping & Therapeutics, Director of National Center for NanoBioElectronics and editor of the Textbook of Nanoneuroscience and Nanoneurosurgery.

Featuring Presentations by:

  • 2014 SBMT-BMF Pioneer in Healthcare Policy Award Recipient
    Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-2)
  • New Ways to Measure Brain Activity
    Geoff Ling, MD, PhD, FAAN
    Director of Biological Technologies, Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA),
    Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Neurology,
    Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), USA
  • Mapping Brain Function – A Key to Finding Effective Treatments for TBI and PTSD
    Timothy J. O’Leary, MD, PhD
    Acting Chief R&D Officer
    The US Department of Veterans Affairs,
    Office of Research & development, USA
  • Neuroimaging of Brain Injury in the US Military
    James P. Kelly, MA, MD, FAAN, FANA
    Director, National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE)
    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
    Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery
    University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA
  • Ambulance Based Treatment for Acute Stroke
    Eric M. Bailey, Ph.D.
    Founder & CEO, Neurologica Corporation, USA
  • Creating Windows into the Brain: The Emerging Synergy of Neuroscience and Medical Devices
    Timothy Denison, Ph.D.
    Director of Core Technology, Technical Fellow,
    Medtronic Corporation, USA
  • Brain Mapping During Awake Brain Surgery
    Ramin Rak, M.D., F.A.A.N.S.
    Attending Neurosurgeon, North Shore-LIJ Health Systems, Winthrop University Hospital, Catholic Health System, Long Island, NY; SBMT Board Member; Director, Brain tumor program, North Shore-LIJ Huntington Hospital
    Co-surgical Director& Director of Awake Craniotomy & Brain Mapping Program, Long Island Brain Tumor Center, USA
  • Los Alamos Contributions to Next Generation Brain Mapping and Therapeutics
    David Pesiri, PhD
    Director, The Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation
    Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA
  • Functional imaging in the pediatric brain
    Michael R. Yochelson, MD, MBA
    Vice President of Medical Affairs & Chief Medical Officer
    MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, SBMT Board Member
    Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
    MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
    Professor, Clinical Neurology & Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine
    Georgetown University, USA
  • The Cyberbrain project: monitoring and modulation of brain function using wireless brain electrodes
    Pantaleo Romanelli, MD
    Scientific Director, AB Medica, SBMT Board Member
    Scientist, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), Grenoble, France
    Consultant Neurosurgeon and Scientific Director, CDI, Milano, Italy
  • Impact of Neurological Disorders on the World Economy, A $1T Question?
    Kirsty Duncan, PhD
    Member of Parliament of Canada
    Professor of Health Studies at University of Toronto
    Member of Board of Directors of SBMT,
    Recipient of 2012 SBMT-BMF Pioneer in Healthcare Policy Award

April 29, 2014 Physical Activity and the Brain

  • Dr. Elizabeth Eckstrom, Associate Professor and Director of Geriatrics and Co-Director at OHSU; and
  • Patti Lightner, Parkinson’s Action Network State Coordinator


February 25th, 2014 Understanding Neurodegenerative Diseases

–          Dr. Steven Dekosky – VP and Dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
–          Dr. Virginia Lee – Professor of Pathology and Lab Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
–          Sonia Vallabh and Eric Minikel – A patient with fatal familial insomnia and her spouse, who have redirected their lives to find a cure for her disorder.


December 12, 2013 – An Update on Schizophrenia: Applying the Science and Stopping the Stigma

–           Saul Levin– MD, MPH, Medical Director of the American Psychiatric Association
–          Jeffrey Lieberman– MD, APA President and Chairman of Psychiatry at the Columbia University and Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
          Lisa Dixon– MD, MPH,Director of the Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia University.
          Laurie Flynn– former CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and parent of an adult child with schizophrenia.- Reps. Blumenauer and McMorris Rodgers (Co-chairs, Neuroscience Caucus)

– Dr. Joseph T. CoyleEben S. Draper Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
– Dr. William MobleyChair, Dept. of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego


September 30, 2013 – Music & Your Brain

–          Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead
–          Dr. Adam Gazzaley, University of California at San Francisco


May 10, 2013 – Second Annual Brain Mapping Day: A Caucus Symposium Featuring a Snapshot of Cutting-edge Neuroscience Research

Hosted with the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT) and the Brain Mapping Foundation

Moderated by Drs. Karen Summar, Director of the Down Syndrome Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellow, and Babak Kateb, President of Brain Mapping Foundation, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Society for Brain Mapping & Therapeutics, Director of National Center for NanoBioElectronics and editor of the Textbook of Nanoneuroscience and Nanoneurosurgery.

  • What kind of data is important to understand the brain?
    Howard J Federoff, MD, PhD
    Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Georgetown University School of Medicine and Executive Dean and Professor of Neurology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, USA
  • Making the Invisible Visible through state-of-the-Art Brain Mapping Technologies
    Peter J. Basser, Ph.D.,
    Senior Investigator (NIH IRP)
    Director, Program on Pediatric Imaging and Tissue Sciences (PPITS)
    Chief, Section on Tissue Biophysics and Biomimetics (STBB)
    Eunice Kennedy ShriverNational Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA
  • Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease and Traumatic Brain Injury through non-invasive Retinal imaging
    Keith L. Black, MD
    Chairman and Professor, Department of Neurosurgery
    Director, Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute
    Director, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Brain Tumor Center
    Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neuroscience
    Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA
  • VA Contribution to the BRAIN Initiative: Bench and Bedside
    Joel Kupersmith, M.D.
    Chief Research and Development Officer
    Department of Veterans Affairs, USA
  • Non-Invasive and Early Detection of Ocular and Systemic Diseases using Light and “Eye as a Window to the Body”
    Rafat Ansari, PhD
    Scientist, NASA John H. Glenn Research Center, USA
  • From Nebulae to Neurons: How NASA Technology can have an Impact on Brain Mapping, Neuroscience, Medicine and Healthcare.
    Shouleh Nikzad, PhD
    Senior Research Scientist
    Lead, Advanced UV/Vis/NIR Detectors, Imaging Systems, & Nano-sciences,
    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
    Visiting Faculty, Physics, Math, and Astronomy, California Institute of Technology
    Visiting Scientist, Neurosurgery Department, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA
  • A New Paradigm in Clinical Neuroscience to Enhance Neural Plasticity and Brain Recovery
    Philip A. DeFina, PhD
    Chairman, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, International Brain Research Foundation, USA
  • Human Brain in a Petri Dish:  New Stem Cells-based Paradigm in Tackling Neurodegenerative Diseases
    Kuldip Sidhu, PhD
    Professor of Stem cells, UNSW Medicine, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Atlasing in Brain Mapping
    Wieslaw L. Nowinski, DSc, PhD
    Principal Scientist and Lab Director, Biomedical Imaging Lab
    Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR), Republic of Singapore
  • What Cancer Kills More Children Than Any Other? BRAIN
    Charlie Teo MD
    Conjoint Assoc. Professor University of New South Wales, Department of Neurosurgery
    Director; Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery POW Private Hospital Barker Australia


November 27, 2012 – MaRS Innovation, a Model for Effectively Bridging the Research Gap

– Veronika Litinskiis, Senior Advisor for Healthcare and Life Sciences at the MaRS Discovery District.  The MaRS Innovation Center, a not-for-profit based in Canada that’s focused on being the commercialization agent for Canada’s “discovery pipeline,” their 16 leading academic and research institutions.


June 19, 2012 – Breakthroughs in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research

– Col. Dallas Hack, Director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Program
– Col. Carl A. Castro, Research Area Director, Military Operational Medicine Research Program
– Dr. Steven Paul, MD, Founder & Director of Sage Therapeutics


June 13, 2012 – Breakthroughs in Neuroscience Research

– Dr. Philip Rubin, Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences in the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
– Dr. Frances Jensen, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School and Director, Epilepsy Center at Boston Children’s Hospital
– Dr. William MobleyChair, Dept. of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego


June 12, 2012 – The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative: The NIH Perspective

–          Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health
–          Dr. Story Landis, Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


November 10, 2011 – The Growing Brain: From Birth to Adolescence – What Makes it Work Right and What Can Go Wrong

– Dr. Robert Hitzemann, Chairman, Behavioral Neuroscience Department, OHSU
– Dr. Damien Fair, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science and of Psychiatry, OHSU
– Dr. Martha Denckla, Professor of Neurology, Senior Pediatric Neurologist, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


July 27, 2011 – The Blueprint: NIH Efforts to Integrate and Advance Neuroscience Research

– Reps. Edward Markey and Chris Smith (Co-chairs of the Alzheimer’s Disease Task Force)
– Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Co-chairs, Neuroscience Caucus)
– Dr. Story Landis, Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
– Dr. Thomas Insel, Director, National Institute of Mental Health
– Dr. Richard Hodes, Director, National Institute on Aging





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