Reflections on the First IEEE EMBS International Summer School on Neural Engineering – Shanghai, China

The inaugural IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) International Summer School on Neural Engineering (ISSNE) was held at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China, on 7–14 July 2013. ISSNE’13 is the fifth summer school hosted by the IEEE EMBS and featured biannually. This first edition was locally organized by the IEEE EMBS Shanghai Chapter and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and was cosponsored by the IEEE EMBS, the Ministry of Education of China, the Shanghai Municipal Education Committee, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The ISSNE’13 program focused on translational neural engineering with an emphasis on neuroimaging and brain–computer interfaces. More than 100 applications were received from Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Australia. After careful review by the Standing Committee, 47 applicants were invited to participate in ISSNE’13, 16 of which were also selected for travel awards.

ISSNE’13 featured lectures and seminars from distinguished faculty from several prestigious institutions worldwide, including Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, the University of Minnesota, Case Western Reserve University, Tsinghua University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Various frontier research topics were covered, including brain–computer interfaces, functional electrical stimulation, visual prostheses, and neuroimaging, to mention a few.

Lecture delivered by Prof. Dominique Durand, Case Western Reserve University

The lecture delivered by Prof. Dominique Durand, Case Western Reserve University

Interactive poster session – two best poster awards were nominated by both students and faculty.

The interactive poster session – two best poster awards were nominated by both students and faculty.

In addition to the traditional lectures and seminars, ISSNE’13 also provided students with several opportunities to observe different examples of successful translational neural engineering applications in the hospitals and research centers affiliated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The students visited the Philips Research Asia facility, the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation facility (SSRF), the Shanghai Yangguang Rehabilitation Center, the Med-X Research Institute, and the Tsien Hsue-Shen Library and Museum.

Visit to the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation facility (SSRF). SSRF has recently opened a special track for advanced medical imaging research.

The visit to the SSRF, which recently opened a special track for advanced medical imaging research.

In summary, the first edition of ISSNE was an international-scale event that provided a platform for facilitating interaction, networking and collaboration among students, new faculty, and world-renowned scientists as well as experts in neural engineering, and exposed the attendees to concrete examples of translational neural engineering techniques from laboratory to bedside. The hot weather in Shanghai did not interfere with the attendees’ passion for learning; quite the opposite, it fueled a wealth of discussion and social networking during several happy hours, acrobatics shows, and other after-class activities, leading to deep-rooted friendships among the students. To find out more about ISNNE and the success of its first edition, please visit our website.

Group photo taken at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

A group photo taken at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Group photo at the Bund of Shanghai.

A group photo at the Bund of Shanghai.

  • Gudrun Zahlmann

    Congratulations to Shanbao and the organizers of this wonderful event. Hopefully this is the starting point for all attendees to build a good professional network for future endeavors. I am interested to learn more about coming Chinese as well as other EMBS Summer Schools.

    • Shanbao Tong

      Thanks. Gudrun. We wish ISSNE would be a “cradle” of the future neural engineering experts and leaders. We will plan the ISSNE’15 soon.