Connecting European Neuroscience

Winter 2013 Issue

Message from the FENS PresidentMarian Joëls

Marian Joëls

Brain Awareness 

Of course everyone is aware of having a brain…or at least one would hope so. But is the public at large aware of the benefits of brain research? This is a challenge neuroscientists face every day.

After all, we have to convince policy makers and funding agencies that investments in neuroscience research serve a good cause. And actually, that is not so difficult. About one third of health costs in Europe are spent on brain-related diseases. If we can relieve individuals, their families and the community of only some of the burden, that would be a great improvement, not just money-wise but also in the personal realm.

This is where neuroscientists can help. Research can reveal who is at risk and which mechanisms contribute to disease development. Such insights may help to start treatment at an earlier stage for those at risk or even lead to the development of new and more rational treatment strategies. But neuroscience is about more than a diseased brain. The brain is present in nearly all aspects of daily life. Why do we have vivid recollections of events that matter to us while insignificant details are forgotten? How can an organism move at exactly the right speed towards a given target? Why are we influenced in our decisions by the opinion of the majority? It is not difficult to find a subject to which the lay public relates and which they would like to understand in terms of brain connections and neurotransmitters.

Sharing our fascination for the brain with those around us is important to convey the importance of neuroscience research. The Brain Awareness Week, which this year takes place from 11th to 17th March, is a special occasion that allows for outreach activities. Worldwide, neuroscience communities take this opportunity to promote neuroscience research and show the public some of our results. FENS encourages you to partake in these activities.

However, in 2013 we will have a second and unique opportunity to convince policy makers of the urgency to invest in brain research. The Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission has decided to designate May 2013 as European Month of the Brain. Most of the national societies have already been alerted to this upcoming event.

To quote the website of the European Commission: “Brain research in Europe needs a decisive effort. We must invest more, define clearer and more innovative research and healthcare strategies, and better coordinate national efforts.” In partnership with the European Brain Council, FENS is involved in this initiative, representing neuroscientists across Europe. But there is also ample opportunity for FENS’ member societies and individual scientists to disseminate this message and stress the importance of state-of-the-art brain research.

So, join in and use the European Month of the Brain to give that extra push towards more investment in brain research, also at the national level. We, as professionals, can play a big role in brain awareness, let’s seize the opportunity.

Marian JoëlsFENS President top

Editorial from the Communication Committee: Women in Science 

Kiki Thermos
Kiki Thermos

The announcement of the death of Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini two days before the end of 2012 struck a sensitive chord. She was 103 years old. This centurial lady, co-founder of nerve growth factor, remained faithful to her science till the end.

Dr. Levi-Montalcini was one of the 43 women who have received the Nobel Prize (1986), since its establishment in 1901. Between 1901 and 2012 a total of 835 individuals were awarded the Nobel Prize and the Prize in Economic Sciences ( In the Sciences (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Physics and Physiology or Medicine) there are 16 women laureates, with Marie Curie receiving the Nobel prize twice. In one of many female Nobel Prize webpages (, I was impressed by the following phrase “Feel free to let your opinions be heard on how we can increase the role of women in the Arts & Sciences….”.

This phrase was the stimulus for writing this article. How many times have we rejoiced in seeing meeting halls full of women scientists (undergraduate and graduate students, post docs and women in faculty positions) and subsequently questioned why there are such low numbers of women in our faculties or in high administrative positions.

There is no doubt that the number of women receiving science education leading to PhD degrees has drastically increased since 19701,2. Yet women still face gender related barriers (hidden or overt) that lead to their under-representation in most areas of academic and scientific life. A large number of investigations have focused on the causes of this phenomenon, some putting emphasis on biological differences between men and women, others on social factors and on institutional discrimination.

I want to share with you a very recent study3 that examined whether “science faculty exhibit a bias against female students that could contribute to the gender disparity”. The authors asked 127 professors of biology, chemistry and physics to evaluate the application of an undergraduate science student applying for a science laboratory manager position. The applications were identical and were randomly assigned either the name of a male (n=63) or a female (n=64) student. The student was rated on competence, suitability, starting salary and amount of mentoring to be received from the faculty. The results of the study showed that there was a bias against female undergraduates both on the part of male and female science professors. The female student was rated less competent and less deserving to be hired in comparison to “an identical” male student. In addition, the female student was offered a smaller starting salary and less career mentoring.

Affirmative action, in both the United States and in the European Higher Education Framework, has increased women’s opportunities in science. However, there are still leaks in the science career pipeline that keep the numbers of women in science low.

The global financial crisis will only worsen the funding for research and may act as a catalyst for women’s diversion away from research or academic track. A campaign must be launched and more actions taken2 to keep the pipeline wide and leak free. FENS will contribute to this discussion, and itself give more attention to this matter and taking actions for the improvement of the representation of women scientists in Europe.

1Ceci&Williams, PNAS 108:3157- 62, 2011,2Handelsman et al., Science 309:1190-1, 2005, 3Moss-Racusin et al., PNAS 109:16474-9, 2012.

Kiki ThermosChair, Communication Committee

Opinion Corner: Joining Forces to Promote Neuroscience 

Carlos Belmonte
Carlos Belmonte

The explosive growing of brain research in many different directions is a joyful reality today. Scientists from many biological and non-biological scientific fields are increasingly aware of the repercussion on their particular disciplines of the new discoveries made by the neurosciences.

In parallel, the input from different scientific fields is offering to brain research, new tools and ideas that are aiding to confront the still large number of unsolved questions about the architecture and function of normal and impaired brains. Neuroscience is getting global both in its goals and in the number, expertise and geographical distribution of their researchers throughout the world.

It is indeed highly desirable that scientists from developing countries contribute to the global effort of developing neurosciences, not only to accelerate their advancement, but also to use scientific research as a means to promote social, economic and health progress in less favoured countries. IBRO, a world federation of more than 80 societies and organisations interested in brain research, was created 50 years ago, mainly to facilitate exchanges between neuroscientists on both sides of the post-war iron curtain.

At the beginning of this century, IBRO decided to concentrate its efforts and resources on the development of brain research in less favoured countries, with the generous support of the international neuroscience community. To this end, IBRO started, among other activities, a school programme in different regions of the world to provide local training to young scientists from underdeveloped regions that could eventually be rolled out to nations that already have a strong research infrastructure.

FENS, a pan-European organisation created a few years later, embraced this concept and dedicated energy and resources to launch, together with IBRO, the FENS-IBRO School Programme which, over the years, has contributed to the training of, not only European young neuroscientists, but also those from developing countries.

As the result of this and other initiatives, the European laboratories today receive pre- and post-doctoral students from all corners of the world, including many from countries without a solid research structure. Most of these young neuroscientists have a legitimate desire to return home one day, translating the knowledge and skills acquired in the host laboratory. During their training period, young foreign scientists work hard and contribute greatly to the success of research at their host institutions. In return, they deserve the support of these institutions to continue their personal scientific trajectory one day in their home country

Fortunately, the new generations of European neuroscientists and, consequently, European national and regional societies, increasingly recognise their individual and collective responsibility in promoting neurosciences in countries where brain research is still weak. However, to transform good will into positive results demands clear ideas, imaginative projects, and decisive action. Possibly, a good strategy for FENS includes the extension of its collaboration with IBRO, which has a direct and close knowledge of the needs and aspirations of young neuroscientists and students from the world’s developing countries.

This cooperation has been working satisfactorily but can certainly be improved and augmented. Social and economic changes are taking place very rapidly worldwide, and plans must be continuously redefined to maintain their efficacy. Today looks better than tomorrow to decide how European neuroscience wishes to help make brain research a task for scientists of the entire world. FENS is the right instrument and IBRO the right partner.

Professor Carlos BelmonteInstituto de Neurociencias
Universidad Miguel Hernandez-CSIC
Alicante (Spain)

Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen: 

Albert Gjedde
Albert Gjedde

"Minds Make Molecules, Molecules Make Sense"

The Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology (DNP) is a novelty at the University of Copenhagen as well as in Denmark as a whole. It was founded in 2007 by researchers at other conventional teaching departments who voluntarily elected to join the new entity, in connection with a total restructuring of the Faculty of Health Sciences, now known as the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. The restructuring meant that teaching departments were reshuffled and new research departments created in their place. Teaching would now be a Faculty task, while research would be managed in research departments and in externally funded but temporary centres of excellence. In the case of the DNP, the researchers came from erstwhile classical departments such as physiology, anatomy, biochemistry and pharmacology, as well as from more specialised departments such as the Protein Laboratory and the Institute of Eye Pathology, which all ceased to exist as independent units when the DNP was formed.

The integration of these diverse traditions and research methods became a major task of the new department. The research was subsumed under the deliberately equivocal motto “Minds Make Molecules, Molecules Make Sense”, which at one level encompasses the roles of mind, molecules and sense in the generation of conscious brain functions, and at another level describes the roles of researchers in the discovery and evaluation of new drugs that benefit living creatures.

The efforts of the department are seen as moving from the purest molecular pharmacology via neuropsycho-pharmacology to an understanding of signaling among neuronal networks and its roles in the execution of conscious and unconscious motor acts by animals and humans.

Group Picture, Dept. of Neuroscience and Pharmacology
Group Picture, Dept. of Neuroscience and Pharmacology

At the last count, the DNP had 335 associated researchers and staff members, working in nine designated laboratories and one administrative unit. Of the 335 members, 29 are tenured professors and associate professors, and 46 are so-called junior scientists in tenure-track or temporary appointments. The department is also host to 114 Master and Graduate students, as well as 97 guest researchers from many places around the world. The technical and administrative staff now numbers 42 individuals, which is comparatively low by Danish standards.

The research is distributed among the nine laboratories of the department, ranging from the Molecular Pharmacology Laboratory, via the Molecular Neuropharmacology and Genetics Laboratory, the Neuropsychiatry Laboratory, and the Protein Laboratory, to the Neuronal Signaling Laboratory, the Cellular and Systems Neurobiology Laboratory, known as the CSNlab, the Motor Control Laboratory, and the Brain Research and Integrative Neuroscience Laboratory, abbreviated to BRAINlab. The Eye Pathology Laboratory has a special status as the only laboratory with routine clinical tasks in the service of eye surgery. Typically a laboratory has three tenured scientists, 5 non-tenured researchers, 11 guest researchers, 13 students, and 4 technicians. Thus, each laboratory has about 36 members, usually divided into three collaborating research groups, a size identified in many studies as ideal for breakthrough research.

In all the laboratories, researchers do animal work, and in four of the laboratories they also study humans in health or disease. Each laboratory is headed by an elected Coordinator, and the coordinators form the department’s Coordination Committee together with the management team, the latter composed of the Department Manager, and the incumbents of the Chair and the three Vice Chairs for neurobiology and pharmacology research and teaching, respectively.

All members of the DNP congregate at an annual two-day meeting away from home where the research and the affairs of the department are reviewed. Each member group, senior faculty, junior faculty, students and technical-administrative staff has a forum, which contributes to the annual meeting with criticism and strategic suggestions. At the latest annual meeting in January 2013 the members reviewed the approximately 150 peer-reviewed full papers published by the department in 2012, including one publication in Nature Communication, three publications in PNAS, one paper in Biological Psychiatry, and one paper in PLoS Biology.

Albert Gjedde, MD DSc FRSC FACNP MAEProfessor and Chair
Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology
University of Copenhagen

The Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Science of the Czech Republic 

Eva Sykova
Eva Sykova

The Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic was founded in 1975. The current Director is Professor Eva Sykova. Located on the campus of biomedical institutes of the Academy of Sciences in Prague, the Institute of Experimental Medicine is today the leading institution in the Czech Republic for biomedical research, manifested by the fact that the Institute was awarded the status of an EU Centre of Excellence – MEDIPRA.

Currently, four departments in the Institute of Experimental Medicine concentrate their research on neuroscience: the Department of Neuroscience, the Department of Auditory Neuroscience, the Department of Cellular Neurophysiology and the Department of Molecular Neurophysiology.

Current research within the Department of Neuroscience, headed by Professor Eva Sykova, focuses on a variety of topics. Studies in the Laboratory of Diffusion Studies and Imaging Methods are aimed at understanding the maintenance of ionic and volume homeostasis in the CNS, the extracellular space as a communication channel, the diffusion parameters of the extracellular space, extrasynaptic "volume" transmission and the role of glia in signal transmission, behaviour and regeneration.

Research topics in the Laboratory of Tissue Culture and Stem Cells include the characterisation of adult and embryonic stem cells in vitro; the development of nanoparticles for cell labelling for subsequent in vivo cell tracking and magnetic targeting; the regeneration and repair of the injured spinal cord using stem cells and biomaterials; cell-polymer constructs designed to bridge lesions of the central nervous tissue; and nanofibre scaffolds for two- and three-dimensional cell cultivation. Several animal models of pathological states and diseases attacking the CNS are used, for example models of ischaemia, metabolic syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer‘s disease and extracellular matrix knockouts.

The Department of Auditory Neuroscience, headed by Professor Josef Syka, comprises two laboratories. The Laboratory of Auditory Physiology and Pathology studies the principles of neuronal processing of simple tones as well as complex sounds in experimental animals by recording neuronal activity in individual parts of the central auditory system. Pathologies of the peripheral and central parts of the auditory system, appearing as a consequence of noise exposure or in conjunction with ageing, are studied in experimental animals and in human subjects using techniques such as behavioural conditioning, startle reflex tests, immunohistochemistry and newly acquired two-photon confocal microscopy for recording neuronal calcium currents in the auditory cortex of mice. In the Laboratory of Synaptic Physiology, the mechanisms underlying the plasticity of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission are studied using the patch-clamp technique and immunohistochemistry in rodent brain slices.

Institute of Experimental Medicine, Prague
Institute of Experimental Medicine, Prague

Research in the Department of Cellular Neurophysiology, headed by Dr. Miroslava Anderova, focuses mainly on the role of glial cells in CNS disorders, such as cerebral ischaemia or Alzheimer’s disease, with an emphasis on the morphological and electrophysiological properties of astrocytes and polydendrocytes in damaged nervous tissue and on clarifying their role in CNS regeneration.

The aim of current research is to identify the major astrocytic ion channels/transporters that participate in the maintenance of ionic/neurotransmitter homeostasis and thus potentially contribute to brain oedema formation, and to categorise the glial cell subpopulations within individual CNS regions employing three-dimensional confocal morphometry and gene expression profiling. Furthermore, employing a variety of electrophysiological, video-imaging and molecular biological techniques to identify the main receptors responsible for calcium signalling pathways and to localise the intracellular signalling cascades, the department aims to shed light on the role of astrocytic and polydendrocytic interactions with neurons.

Research also focuses on the regeneration of the nervous tissue, with an emphasis on elucidating the functional properties of polydendrocytes and their differentiation potential following ischaemic injury.

The main research interest of the Department of Molecular Neurophysiology, headed by Dr. Govindan Dayanithi, is the physiology of vasopressin and oxytocin in the central and peripheral nervous systems and the therapeutic implications for a number of human disorders. The department employs three newly developed, genetically modified rat models for visualising fluorescent vasopressin and oxytocin.

These models are used to clarify calcium signalling pathways and homeostasis in magnocellular neurons and terminals of the hypothalamus as well as to elucidate the physiology of vasopressin and oxytocin signalling mechanisms in DRG neurons as well as in non-neuronal populations such as glial cells. Recently, the department has also established a new approach to evaluate the plasticity of calcium signalling cascades in stem cells from different origins, including neural precursors and stem cells. The aim is also to evaluate the patho-physiology of calcium signalling in motoneurons in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases and in stem cells in spinal cord injury.

Eva SykovaDirector
Institute of Experimental Medicine
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

News from EJN:

As the official journal of FENS, EJN strives to represent the breadth of today’s neuroscience research. EJN publishes a broad range of articles on experimental, theoretical, and clinical studies, with the aim to further our understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system and its alterations in disease states.

As exemplified by our recently published virtual issue, research on disorders in the nervous system has been growing rapidly. In the past, these articles have been published in one of the journal’s five sections (molecular and developmental neuroscience, synaptic mechanisms, neurosystems, behavioral neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience). Because of the growing number of articles originating in clinical settings and focusing on disease processes, EJN is introducing a separate new section: Disorders of the Nervous System.

This virtual issue of EJN on “Disorders of the Nervous System”, freely available for download from the journal’s website*, is a compilation of articles describing clinical and translational neuroscience research published in 2012 (EJN volumes 35-36). The issue highlights the superb quality and range of research on disease processes published by EJN. This issue also confirms the journals commitment to cover experimental, clinical, and theoretical research on disorders of the nervous system.

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Antidepressants are neuroprotective against nutrient deprivation stress in rat hippocampal neurons
David Yang, Michael Chen and Amelia Russo-Neustadt

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Basal ganglia activity patterns in parkinsonism and computational modeling of their downstream effects
Jonathan E. Rubin, Cameron C. McIntyre, Robert S. Turner, Thomas Wichmann

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Transplantation of human central nervous system stem cells – neuroprotection in retinal degeneration
Trevor J. McGill, Benjamin Cottam, Bin Lu, Shaomei Wang, Sergej Girman, Chunyu Tian, Stephen L. Huhn, Ray D. Lund, Alexandra Capela

*Articles in this Virtual Issue will be made freely available until 30 April 2013

Co-Editors in Chief, EJN
image descriptionJean-Marc Fritschy
image descriptionMartin Sarter

NENS Committee 

Ferdinando Rossi
Ferdinando Rossi

What is the NENS Programme Directory? 

The NENS Programme Directory is an extensive online database of master and PhD programmes in Neuroscience all over Europe. In addition to schools and programmes that focus on the entire Neuroscience field and therefore have a broader spectrum, the Directory also contains institutions that centre on concrete fields within neuroscience such as molecular, cellular, developmental, cognitive, clinical or computational neuroscience.

The NENS Directory has been recently updated and amended. According to the new policies of NENS, the database, which is also accessible through the Google map displayed on the NENS page of the FENS website (, now reports essential indications and contact details. This information is handled and regularly updated by the NENS office, whereas precise information about research projects, recruitment procedures, training opportunities, duration of the program, etc. will be found in the institutional website of each school.

In the near future NENS will also provide new space on its website devoted to advertising from participating schools and PhD programs, including recruitment calls, special training events, and other significant events.

What benefits do you have by joining the NENS Programme Directory?

This Programme Directory and the Google map are powerful tools for students and young researchers seeking for training and research opportunities in any aspect of neuroscience all over Europe. At the moment, the network comprises 176 school programmes, and this number is constantly increasing.

For better understanding how NENS can be more useful to the participating schools and how we can develop new initiatives and activities, a survey has been submitted to NENS school directors. If you are aware of master or PhD programs that may be suitable to join the network and you would like to contribute for enriching this comprehensive, free access database, please suggest the responsible persons to contact the NENS office.

Ferdinando RossiChair, NENS Committee


The NENS Committee has evaluated applications for the NENS stipends and the Young Researcher Exchange Program (YREP, with Japan and China), submitted for the deadline of 15 February 2013.

  • NENS stipends (up to 2000 Euro) support short lab visits of master/PhD students that need specific training for their thesis project.
  • YREP is a bilateral program between NENS and the Japan and Chinese Neuroscience Society and the Neuroscience Society pays for travelling expenses for postdocs seeking for positions in the partner countries.

Concerning the most recent Call for the NENS stipends for training stay, 5 applications had been submitted and 3 have been awarded to:

  • Yaneri Aguilar-Ayala from the Instituto de Neurosciencia Castilla y León, University of Salamanca, for a training stay at the International Max-Planck Research School, Georg August University, Göttingen
  • Tatiana Cerveira from the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Vrije University, Amsterdam, for a training stay at the European Neuroscience Institute, Göttingen
  • Dagmar Zeef from the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, for a training stay at the Leslie and Susan Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan

With regard to the YREP stipends, 5 applications have been received (2 from Europe to Japan, 2 from Japan to Europe, 1 from Europe to China), and 4 have been funded:

  • Tomomi Tsunematsu going from Japan to Europe
  • Yoshiyuki Yamada going from Japan to Europe
  • Christian Schnell going from Europe to Japan
  • Charles Sehwan Park going from Europe to Japan

new call for both stipends for training stay and YREP stipends for job interviews is now open with deadline on 15th June 2013.


History Committee 

Helmut Kettenmann
Helmut Kettenmann

FENS History of European Neuroscience Committee

Europe has a rich history in scientific discoveries of brain research and personalities studying the nervous system.

In 2010 the FENS History of European Neuroscience Committee was established to promote activities to highlight important events, discoveries and persons.

This new FENS initiative should support and stimulate the interest in the history of European neuroscience through the creation of a virtual platform of the history of European neuroscience.

This online platform – the FENS History page – aims to preserve the commemoration of European neuroscience for future generations by making available to the wide public autobiographies, videos, pictures and other electronic materials on and about illustrious neuroscientists of Europe and their distinguished work.

A yearly call for proposals was launched since 2010 and grants were awarded.

We received an impressive number of precious applications, and due to the limited budget, we were able to support only 12 projects. This summer a new call will be announced for European history projects to be carried out in 2014.

As you probably noticed, the authors of one finalised project (i.e.: The Rise and Fall of Phrenology in Edinburgh) briefly presented their contribution to the History platform.

We will continue to introduce in the next Issues brief summaries of completed projects.

I encourage you to visit our page, where you will find three of the completed projects, alongside with other features that might be of interest for you.

Your contributions for enriching the current page are much appreciated!

Helmut KettenmannChair, History of European Neuroscience Committee

Portraits of European Neuroscientists

The initial development of the Portraits of European Neuroscience website was supported by a FENS history award. It is devoted to the history of neuroscience, with a broad representation of historical figures from about 1500-1900.

The intention of the website is to stimulate interest in the history of neuroscience visually, and to provide brief descriptions of the contributions of those portrayed. There are also links to web resources regarding texts and illustrations relating to neuroscience and to the individuals depicted. 

Historical figures are represented in an unconventional style. They are referred to as ‘perceptual portraits’ and they generally consist of at least two elements – the portrait and some appropriate motif. The nature of the latter depends upon the endeavours for which the portrayed person was known. In some cases the motif was drawn specifically to display a phenomenon associated with the individual, in others it was derived from a figure or text in one of their books, or apparatus which they invented. 

The portraits and motifs have themselves been manipulated in a variety of ways, using graphical, photographical, and computer graphical procedures. For example, there are three perceptual portraits of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (see illustration below).

Cajal’s stains
Cajal’s stains

On the left, he is shown in a Purkinje cell stained by Golgi’s black reaction; in the centre, he is crowned by the cells of the cerebellum; and on the right he is combined with his ‘generous retina’. 
Plans are afoot to bolster the number of 19th century neuroscientists represented and to add portraits of 20th century pioneers.

Nicholas WadeEmeritus Professor 
School of Psychology, University of Dundee

FENS Announcements 

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Stipends available for the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) 2013 in San Diego

FENS offers 10 travel grants for the participation in the annual meeting of the SfN (San Diego, November 9 – 13, 2013).

Detailed information and the online application via the FENS website is possible till April 11, 2013 (CET).

Neuroscience 2013
The FENS-SfN advocacy grants to be carried out in 2013 were awarded. 

The 7 national societies of FENS that were granted and a brief summary of the their advocacy proposals are listed on the FENS-SfN Advocacy page.

NENS event in Prague

A NENS sponsored event will take place during the FENS Featured Regional Meeting that will be held in Prague on 11-14 September 2013. The event is scheduled on Friday 13th at 15:00.

Ferdinando Rossi, Chair of the NENS committee, will illustrate to the audience the main features and activities of NENS and will meet school directors, students or any other person interested in knowing about NENS.

In the same session, 4 NENS alumni from Central/Eastern European countries have been invited to give scientific talks about their research done during their training periods funded by NENS stipends. Provisional agenda of the event is available on the NENS page.

FFRM in Prague 2013

The FENS Featured Regional Meeting 2013, organised by the Czech Neuroscience Society, the Slovak Society for Neuroscience and the Austrian Alzheimer Society, will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, September 11th - 14th, 2013.

At this time, the Local Organising Committee is pleased to announce that Early Registration and Abstract Submission are now open!

You can use the online forms available on the meeting internet site – – to register for the meeting, book your accommodation and submit an abstract.

Please note that the deadline for Early Registration and Abstract Submission is 31st March 2013. Also available on the website are the meeting schedule, details of the 18 symposia, four plenary lectures and seven special interest sessions included in the scientific programme, information about travel stipends for students and young researchers, as well as information about three Training Schools that will be held in Prague prior to the meeting, from 9th to 11th September, focusing on electrophysiological and imaging methods to study the properties of neurons and glia, auditory neuroscience, and stem cells and biomaterials in regenerative medicine. The organising societies look forward to welcoming you to Prague in September for what promises to be an exciting scientific meeting as well as a rewarding cultural experience.


FENS is representing its members at the World Research and Innovation Congress - Pioneers in Healthcare:
5th-6th June, Steigenberger Grand Hotel, Brussels

As partner of the event, FENS has secured an exclusive discount for its members. If you book a ticket by 31st March 2013 at the latest, just enter FENS13 in the box and you will have an extra 30% off the 2 day or 2 day + dinner ticket.

Alexander Borst Receives the FENS-EJN Award 2014 

Alexander Borst - FENS-EJN Award 2014
The FENS-EJN Award is given in recognition of outstanding scientific work in any area of neuroscience. This is a personal prize of 10,000 GBP. In 2014, the award will be presented to Alexander Borst.

How do nerve cells compute?

This is the question driving Alexander Borst's research for many decades now.

It is the simple but rather profound observation that on the one hand, the brain performs astonishingly complex computations that are best described in mathematical terms, and on the other hand, the brain does that with neurons where ions flow across the membrane eliciting excitatory and inhibitory potentials or spikes. How these two aspects go together, i.e. the biophysics of neural computation, is at the centre of his research interest. 

The FENS-EJN Award is sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell (publishers of EJN) and it will be presented at the 2014 FENS Forum in Milan (July 5th- 9th, 2014). 
Further information available on: FENS Awards page

CARE Events Scheduled between March and June 2013: 

In 2013 as in past years, CARE will organise different events, as to disseminate information on the legal and ethical requirements concerned with the use of animals in research.

Six Eminent Scientists Share the World’s Largest Brain Research Prize 

The Brain Prize
The Brain Prize - Denmark's 1 million euro brain research prize - is awarded to six leading scientists for the development of ‘optogenetics’, a revolutionary technique that advances our understanding of the brain and its disorders.

The names of the prize winners, Austrian Gero Miesenböck, Germans Ernst BambergPeter HegemannGeorg Nagel, Americans Ed Boyden and Karl Deisseroth, were announced on Monday 11 March 2013 in Copenhagen

The Brain Prize Winners 2013

Ernst Bamberg Ed Boyden Karl Deisseroth Peter Hegemann Gero Miesenböck Georg Nagel
Ernst Bamberg Ed Boyden Karl Deisseroth Peter Hegemann Gero Miesenböck Georg Nagel

Together these scientists laid the foundations for a revolutionary technique - optogenetics - which will provide us with entirely new, fundamental knowledge of the complicated functions of the brain. 

Optogenetics makes it easier to investigate diseases of the brain such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, pain disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD and addiction. It will play a significant role in the understanding of these disorders and, over time, in the development of a treatment for them. 

The Brain Prize is awarded by the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize Foundation. 

The six scientists will all come to Denmark to receive the shared prize of 1 million euros at a ceremony on 2 May 2013. 

For detailed information,
please visit:
FENS Calendar



Published quarterly by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)

Editorial Board 
FENS Communication and Publication Committee

  • Javier Cudeiro
  • Malgorzata Kossut
  • Flavio Moroni
  • Kiki Thermos (Chair)
  • Yves Tillet

Editorial Staff 
Mihaela Vincze

Opinions expressed in the FENS Trimestrial Newsletter do not necessarily reflect those of its officers and councilors. FENS is not responsible for the content of this publication.

FENS Officers 
President: Marian Joëls 
Secretary-General: Sigismund Huck 
Treasurer: Hans-Joachim Pflüger 

For inquiries, suggestions or comments on FENS newsletter, please contact:

© 2013 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies