Since December 2018, partners of the Horizon 2020-funded VirtualBrainCloud project have been working together to leverage the potential of big data and high-performance computing, aiming to advance neurodegenerative disease research. VirtualBrainCloud will draw to a close at the end of May this year, and on 5 April consortium members met in the final online General Assembly (GA) for the project. Chaired by Prof. Petra Ritter of Charité University Hospital Berlin, the coordinator of VirtualBrainCloud, the meeting was attended by representatives from the 17 institutions and organisations that make up the consortium, including Alzheimer Europe. The main goal of VirtualBrainCloud was to create a cloud-based platform for personalised brain simulations, created by integrating clinical data from multiple sources in a secure online environment. During the GA, partners highlighted key project developments and innovations, and discussed their perspectives on sustainability and scalability.
Highlights included the launch of the Virtual Research Environment (VRE), which was developed as a secure, GDPR-compliant environment for complex biomedical analyses of data from brain imaging scans, medical tests and more. The VRE allows researchers to find, securely access and use clinical datasets, providing a rich ecosystem of tools, integrations and support resources. The project has also made substantial advances in developing multi-scale brain simulations and applying scientific knowledge from the published literature to specific locations in the brain, adding biological accuracy and disease specificity. Although the VirtualBrainCloud funding period ends in May, its results and innovations will continue to be sustained and exploited through two new research initiatives: the Horizon Europe-funded eBRAIN-Health project, and TEF-Health, the Testing and Experimentation Facility for Health AI and Robotics. Learn about VirtualBrainCloud: