Over the past decade, I have visited a large number of the great (and lesser) research institutions in the world where scientists are focused on practical (therapeutic) extensions of brain plasticity research. Especially over the past year, I’ve witnessed a great ground-swell of activity generated by scientists employing the principles of brain plasticity to drive improvements in the lives of many child and adult populations in need of help. Still, most of these efforts are doomed to die in the laboratory (as most medical science with practical extensions do) — and to come to no good use because they shall be ultimately be stored away or locked up in some local Ivory Tower.

My colleagues and I have asked the simple question: How can we assist world scientists in ways that can help them bring the fruits of this science out into the world? Our answer: The Posit Brain Plasticity Institute. This Institute has two grand goals. The first is to enlist the best help possible, out there in the world, to address the needs of large, suffering or functionally-limited human populations that have received limited attention up to this time. Patients with a panoply of psychotic illnesses, acquired movement disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, acquired epilepsies, histories of brain infections or oxygen deprivation, or a rich variety of brain poisons or brain injuries are on our agenda. In each case, our objective is to define how each problem can be addressed by employing a brain plasticity-based approach designed to drive the patients’ brains, insofar as is possible, in sharply strengthening or ‘corrective’ directions.

Our second grand goal is to help scientists who have made a good start at defining an appropriate approach to a particular problem “reduce their research to practice”. That commonly requires that it be elaborated, and reconstructed in a more-deliverable and supportable software/hardware form — and that marketing and other efforts required to make it available in the wider world are organized, and put into place.

We have organized a small team to help organize a more aggressive approach to these problems in our new ‘Brain Plasticity Institute’. Our goal is to rapidly produce model strategies that can lead to the more rapid and more effective design and deployment of therapeutic strategies that can help. The mantra governing our efforts: We are in just as much of a hurry to develop new practical aids to help, as are the hundreds of millions of individuals who populate these groups who are in need of, and are pleading for our help.

If you’re a young scientist who would like to apply for a postdoctoral position working on this new research team, if you have been pursuing a strategy that you think that we might be interested in collaborating with you on, or if you are involved with a foundation or other interest group seeking help for a specific class of patients in need, contact our research administrator (my daughter Karen) at karen.merzenich@positscience.com and let us know about your interests. In this important work, we need all the help that we can get!