Connecting European Neuroscience

Mentoring and PhD Thesis Prizes 2016

The FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence Mentoring and PhD Thesis Prizes are awarded in the even years at the FENS Forum.

 Awardees of the Mentoring and PhD Prizes 2016

Warm congratulations to the recipients of the prizes!


Download here the Press release

Prof. David Attwell, Fellow of the Royal Society (University College London) has been awarded the inaugural FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence Mentoring Prize in 2016 for his outstanding contributions to mentoring the careers of neuroscientists. This prize was funded because FENS-Kavli Scholars recognize that mentoring plays an essential role in fostering the career development, but mentoring efforts are often not recognized or rewarded in a scientific career. Close to 30 nominations were submitted from across Europe. Professor Attwell, Jodrell Professor of Physiology at University College London (UCL), was nominated by current and former mentees who praised his strong support throughout their careers. His students and postdocs are personally trained in all aspects of scientific rigour and thought, they are encouraged to present their work at excellent conferences, and are guided in writing papers, theses, and grant applications. Prof. Attwell aids trainees in planning their career progression and provides personal, as well as professional, support. The many letters of support for the nomination also cited Prof. Attwell’s strong mentoring of scientists through the difficult transition into juggling parenthood and a scientific career. Along with supporting his direct trainees, Prof. Attwell has started a world class PhD programme in neuroscience at UCL, which improves the choice of PhD project and mentor for students by integrating lab rotations. This is the most competitive neuroscience PhD programme in the UK with high level of success for students. Prof. Attwell also participates in public engagements and hosts school children in his lab.

Dr. Linda Katona (University of Oxford) has been awarded the inaugural FENS Kavli Network of Excellence PhD Thesis Prize. The thesis published by Dr. Katona – originally from Romania, who graduated from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford – is a masterpiece for its depth, the originality of the experimental approach employed, as well as for the new insights obtained by her results. During her thesis conducted under the joint supervision of Professors Peter Somogyi (University of Oxford) and Thomas Klausberger (University of Vienna), Dr. Katona physiologically and molecularly characterized in depth the role of different types of GABAergic interneurons in the hippocampus of freely moving rats during distinct oscillatory states. Her results have not only been obtained with state-of-the-art techniques, but will also help to better understand rhythmic network functions during memory processing. Her work led to several publications in top neuroscientific journals and culminated with a first author paper in Neuron. On top of that, Dr. Katona’s thesis is excellently structured, flawlessly written and well illustrated, and convinced the jury to select her as the winner of over 45 other entries, which were often also of outstanding quality. Dr. Katona is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford and continuous to delve into the mysteries of brain rhythmicity underlying different memory systems.

The prizes, which consist of a special plaque and €2,000 Euros each, were awarded at the FENS Forum 2016 on the 4th July. 

The next Call for Nominations for the two prizes will be launched in the fall of 2017.