Talking about the importance of sleep!

In December we had the great pleasure to lead and co-Chair (Sarah Cohen-Woods), with our fabulous Early to Mid Career Research network (Heidi Walkden), a scientific symposium at the Australasian Neuroscience Meeting 2023 in Brisbane. This is one of the largest biomedical conferences held in the Australasian region, and provides a fantastic environment where early to senior, young to old(er) researchers can mingle, create ideas, and grow exciting new scientific endeavours. Our symposium, entitled “From flies to fitbits; the new neuroscience of sleep”, established the importance and critical nature of the basic behaviour of sleep to sustain, build, and develop our brains. All elements central to the Australian Brain Alliance mission. We engaged in fascinating discussions initiated by our world leading researchers (Assoc. Prof. Laura Jacobson, Prof. Bruno van Swinderen, Dr. Deborah Apthorp, and Dr. Hannah Scott) around the need to capture reliably sleep behaviours, to allow identification of how disrupted sleep impacts cognitive functions. We heard how it may be possible to rescue a defect, or cognitive function, through the restoration of sleep function. It was exciting to hear how this basic research may be taken to the real world moving forward. A joy from the ABA is the opportunity to bring together diversity and breadth of science, to enable innovation and discovery; with the ultimate long-term aim to establish an Australian Brain Initiative – such as those seen worldwide with Brains in the US, Europe, and beyond.