There are many differences between female and male brains. Such differences can have important implications for brain health. For example, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, headaches, anxiety, eating disorders and obesity affect more women than men. We also know that women are at reduced risk for Parkinson’s, autism, and addictive behaviors, to name a few. The reasons for these critical sex biases are unknown.
That’s why we’ve launched the Women’s Brain Initiative!
The Women’s Brain Initiative represents a major commitment across the Brigham to understand how sex differences affect the brain. We aim to advance our understanding of how sex may affect risk, progression and treatment response, as well as the fundamental biological mechanisms that lead to sex differences in neurologic and psychiatric disorders. The Program is also focused on how female-specific factors and life transitions may influence brain health.
The Women’s Brain Initiative is attracting critical attention, resources and talented scientists to the field of women’s brain health. We are well on our way to becoming an internationally recognized leader in this long ignored and critical field.
A few examples of the Program’s areas of interest include:
The Women’s Brain Initiative has made significant progress since its fall 2017 launch, including:
The Women’s Brain Initiative has held two Symposiums:
2019 WBI Symposium
2018 WBI Symposium
The Women’s Brain Initiative entails a growing portfolio of multi-year research efforts led by senior Brigham physicians and investigators. For example— we’ve launched research programs targeting post-menopausal depression, weight gain and memory issues, endocrine disrupters, Parkinson’s & the female protective advantage— and more to come!
The Women’s Brain Initiative is already encouraging a growing community of our most promising young investigators and physicians to embark on a career in women’s brain health. See the listing of awardees for the WBI Pilot Projects Program and the WBI Research Fellowship Program. Congratulations to the awardees!
Also, the WBI issued its 2020 Pilot Projects Grant program RFP on October 17, 2019. Proposals are due December 15, 2019. The Selection Committee will award three pilot project one-year grants, each at direct costs up to $50,000, plus the budget may include indirect costs at the applicable rate of 15%. Investigators and physicians across the Brigham are encouraged to submit applications. The Program is targeted to junior investigators. For details, see the RFP and Coversheet.
The Women’s Brain Initiative Seminar Series is well underway. See link below to the upcoming 2020 Seminar Series schedule. A reception will follow each seminar. We encourage attendance from across the Longwood and Harvard communities, and beyond!
For more information about the Women’s Brain Initiative, please contact:
Patti A. Stoll
Director, Women’s Brain Initiative