Connecting European Neuroscience

Fall 2011 Issue

Message from the FENS President  

Sten Grillner - FENS President 2010-2012
Sten Grillner,
FENS President
Welcome to Barcelona and more!!
First of all let me wish you all an enjoyable and relaxing holiday and a very Happy New year. From the FENS perspective 2012 is an important year in that we will have our meeting in Barcelona in July. The program committee chaired by Ole Kiehn has put together an exciting program with a varied palette of plenary and special lectures and symposia. The many blends of basic neuroscientists and clinical researchers will have many interesting items to choose from, and as always the large poster session will be given a prominent position in the programme. Since its start in Berlin 1998, the FENS meetings (every second year) have been growing each time, and in Amsterdam it was well above 6000 participants. We expect it to increase further given the attractive program and the marvelous socio-scientific events coordinated by Mara Dierssen. Reserve July 14-18 for this event.

The New Year provides new interesting possibilities, but no doubt also many challenges. Given the financial situation in Europe and most of the globe, we will need to be creative to promote brain research and be able to convince governments not to reduce the funding, but rather expand the funding despite the gloomy economical situation. One of many objective reasons is that the costs of diseases of the brain represent no less than one third of the total costs of healthcare in Europe and North America, due primarily to the chronic nature of many neurological and psychiatric diseases.

The fact that many of the large pharmaceutical industries are closing down their neuroscience research effort is very serious for patients as well as for the development of research in our area. Despite the large number of patients that suffer, the big pharmas, perhaps not surprisingly, have put the interest of the shareholders before the interest of patients and their families. It is costly, to say the least, to develop new drugs. The creativity in terms of understanding the underlying mechanisms of most psychiatric and neurological diseases has not been sufficient to provide an understanding of the basic mechanisms of the diseases, and therefore also the foundation for new breakthroughs in terms of therapy. This is a task for both academic research and the industry. Once, for instance the cellular, synaptic and systems bases of depression is understood the possibility for directed therapy may be around the corner, which could be to the benefit of millions of Europeans each year. In addition we have other and more dramatic therapeutical avenues like deep brain stimulation of importance not only in Parkinson’s but also for several other conditions. The neurophysiological bases of the beneficial effects observed is in many cases far from being understood.

I hope that the advocacy workshop that FENS and the Society for Neuroscience organized in June 2011 for the different European Neuroscience Societies will be helpful to explain to legislators and citizens in general why brain research should be a priority particularly in these difficult times. Moreover, for 2012 ten of our societies have just been awarded a grant as seed money to stimulate the development of an effective advocacy. In the summer of 2012 there will be another call for advocacy grants of €5000 or €2500, and I hope that the remaining societies will take the chance to apply – at the national level there is only the local neuroscientists that can argue for the importance of neuroscience.

Many thanks for 2011, a year during which FENS has opened the new office in Brussels, and appointed a new Executive Director Lars Kristiansen, a neuroscientist that has previously worked for the European Science Foundation in Strasbourg. He will start in January and work in parallel with Dominique Poulain until the Barcelona meeting!!

On behalf of FENS, I like to wish you all,
A merry Christmas and a very Happy New 2012!!

Prof. Sten Grillner

The following 10 FENS member societies receive the Advocacy grants:

  • Spanish Society for Neuroscience
  • Hellenic Society for Neurosciences
  • Croatian Society for Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience Ireland
  • Société des Neurosciences
  • Italian Society for Neuroscience
  • British Neuroscience Association
  • Slovenian Neuroscience Association
  • Sociedade Portuguesa de Neurociências
  • Hungarian Neuroscience Society


Editorial from the FENS Communication and Publication Committee Chairman  

Jacques Epelbaum
Jacques Epelbaum,

Dear FENS members,

As chairman of the Communication and publication committee, I’m happy to announce that FENS is entering the age of the Internet forums.

According to Wikipedia, the Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve billions of users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the interlinked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the infrastructure to support email.

Most traditional communications media including telephone, music, film, and television are reshaped or redefined by the Internet, giving birth to new services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and IPTV. Print publishing is adapting to Web site technology, or reshaped into blogging and web feeds. The Internet has enabled or accelerated new forms of human interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking. Online shopping has boomed both for major retail outlets and small artisans and traders. Services on the Internet affect supply chains across entire industries.

As of 31 March 2011, the estimated total number of Internet users was 2.095 billion (30.2% of world population)1. It is estimated that in 1993 the Internet carried only 1% of the information flowing through two-way telecommunication, by 2000 this figure had grown to 51%, and by 2007 more than 97% of all telecommunicated information was carried over the Internet 2.

So, with the help of Kenes organization, news for the FENS Forum in Barcelona are now available on Facebook at Today, already 262 people like and 14 are talking about it. This can be considered as a good start (compared to the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Facebook page 16199 and 144, respectively). We also have a linkedin address ( with already 180 members (as compared to 7835 for the SfN) and a twitter account.

Kiki Thermos, member of the current communication and publication committee and elected chairperson for the next one, Mara Dierssen (Barcelona, representing the organizing committee), and Monica Santos (student representative, Barcelona) with Britta Morich and Olga Zvyagintseva of FENS, are the liaison for sending the Kenes team (Sidra Muoio and Melanie Takefman) content for these new media.

EJN is also launching the EJN blog (, which is devised to promote the journal and provide a novel interactive resource for the neuroscience community. It will soon be available from Ipads or Iphones, using the EJNapp.

Opte Project
Tree of routing paths through a
portion of the Internet as visualized
by the Opte Project.

In order to publicize and use these new tools and to prepare the press coverage for the FENS Forum 2012, the communication and publication committee has recently asked each national society constituting FENS to provide a corresponding member. Already two thirds of these corresponding members have been nominated. Besides providing information and relaying those of FENS officers, they will participate in a special event during the FENS Forum in Barcelona on Tuesday July 17th, 18:45-20:30h on Communication and Advocacy. During this event, FENS actions and tools will be presented and an open discussion will follow to gather needs and expectations.

In the meantime, enjoy your reading.

1 "World Internet Users and Population Stats". Internet World Stats. Miniwatts Marketing Group. 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2011-06-23.
2 "The World’s Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information", Martin Hilbert and Priscila López (April 2011), Science, 332(6025), 60-65.

Jacques Epelbaum
Opte Project
Schematic presentation of the
hormones released during
Journal of Neuroendocrinology 23, 1191–1193.
2011 The Author. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd


European Brain Council: Year of the Brain 2014 

A study recently published in 2011 by European Neuropsychopharmacology (Cost of disorders of the brain in Europe 2010. Gustavsson A, et al., Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2011 Oct;21(10):718-79) and commissioned by the European Brain council declares that Europe spends more on the costs of brain disorders than on cardiovascular diseases and cancer combined, with a total cost, including direct and indirect costs, equal to 798 billion euro. These costs will continue to rise as the European population lives longer. Thus brain disorders represents the number one economic challenge for European healthcare now and in the future. It is estimated that each year 38,2% of the EU population suffers from a mental disorder. Adjusted for age and comorbidity, this corresponds to 164,8 million persons affected out of the 514 million EU citizens. This comes out from Wittchen HU, et al. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2011 Sept; 21(9): 655-79.

These are facts and we need to face them: far more research than what we are currently performing in Europe is needed to get into the causes and developmental pathways of brain diseases, for their diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

It is because of these facts that in 2002 all European organizations with an interest in the brain decided to join forces and to generate the European Brain Council (EBC).

EBC is a coordinating council, composed of European organizations in neuroscience, neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, as well as patient organizations and industries. FENS was one of the funding members of EBC in 2002, immediately understanding the importance of a tight cooperation between all actors with an interest in the brain in Europe to more efficiently reach important goals.

The work of the EBC during these years has helped the European community to catalyse its efforts in support of brain research across the continent.


The main goal of EBC is to promote neuroscience at all levels in Europe through dialogue and partnership with scientists from different backgrounds. By supporting research and the application of new scientific knowledge, new and better therapies for brain diseases can be obtained. EBC works towards a major engagement of European funding agencies in the support of basic and clinical brain research, and wants to raise public awareness of the burden that brain diseases imposes on European society. EBC has carried out a number of projects aimed at reinforcing efforts to achieve a better support for neuroscience research and to convey a clear essage to policymakers on the importance of continuously support research.

Much has been achieved, demonstrating the value of EBC and its activities to its members. Funding for brain research has increased very significantly since the formation of EBC, from €85 million in FP5 (pre-EBC) to €260 million in FP6 and €381 million in the first three calls of FP7. This has been done through providing clear evidence (Costs of Disorders of the Brain documents in 2006 and 2011, RABRE in 2006) and solutions through the Consensus documents in 2006 and 2011.

Recently EBC has launched a call to the European Union (EU) for there to be a European Year of the Brain (EYOB) in 2014.

Each year, in fact, the EU chooses a theme for a campaign designed to raise public awareness, stimulate public debate and draw national governments’ attention to specific issues. Through their broad level of participation and defined timeframe, these “European Years” – which have been held since 1983 – are very effective in putting specific topics at the top of the policy agenda.

The themes of the 25 “European Years” to date have been many and varied, with topics ranging from intercultural dialogue to languages to the environment.

A European Year of the Brain (EYOB) has the potential to increase awareness of the healthy brain and of brain disease, disseminate key results of research, improve treatment and understanding of psychiatric and neurological conditions, and directly result in measurable economic outcomes for the EU’s member states. These objectives can be achieved through a series of initiatives including: promoting a clearer understanding of the economics of brain diseases and finding ways to improve their management, increasing the level of funding and widening the scope of brain research, striving for a longerterm reduction in the burden of brain diseases by promoting prevention, brain health and encouraging the maintenance of good brain function. We also propose to have a highly interactive, engaging and fun set of fixed and mobile exhibitions to get to the public and raise awareness, embark upon a schools and university programme and have a digital and social media campaign.

On November 18th, 2011 all EBC members met in Warsaw to discuss the policy of basic and clinical research on the brain and the concrete possibility to raise awareness on the key importance for all European citizen of investing in brain research and to launch a EYOB.

European 2014 - Year of the Brain

In partnership with the Polish Ministry of Health and DG SANCO from the European Commission, and as part of the Polish Presidency of the EU, a high level meeting was held. This included a video from Professor Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament calling for a European Year of the Brain and congratulating EBC for its work. The meeting, attended by senior politicians, scientists and experts discussed many aspects of current and future brain research and particularly those related to ageing, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease and concluded with a Declaration to designate 2014 the European Year of the Brain.

Over the coming months and years the European Brain Council will continue to pursue our goals in close collaboration with FENS and other members, to increase the amount of brain research and to improve the quality of life of those with brain disorders.

There is much to be done but together we can change the way brain research is perceived politically and in society and make clear progress for the benefit of all Europeans.

Monica Di Luca Monica Di Luca
Vice President EBC
Alastair Benbow Alastair Benbow
Executive Director

The Brain Mind Institute (BMI)  

Pierre Magistretti
Pierre Magistretti

Like most neuroscience research institutes, the overarching goal that the Brain Mind Institute ( has set for itself is to contribute to the understanding of the fundamental principles of brain function in health and disease, by using and developing unique experimental, theoretical, technological and computational approaches. The scientific challenge addressed by the BMI consists of connecting different levels of analysis of brain activity, such that cognitive functions can be understood as a manifestation of specific brain processes; specific brain processes as emerging from the collective activity of thousands of cells and synapses; synaptic and neuronal activity in turn as emerging properties of the biophysical and molecular mechanisms of cellular compartments. Understanding information processing in the brain and its higher emerging properties is arguably one of the major challenges in the life sciences. Research at the BMI focuses on three main areas: i) Molecular neurobiology and mechanisms of neurodegeneration ii) Molecular and cellular mechanisms of synapse and microcircuit function up to the behavioural level and including metabolic aspects; iii) Sensory perception and cognition in humans. In all areas, the BMI strives to integrate knowledge gained by multidisciplinary approaches and across different disciplines and research laboratories. Finally, underlying all levels of analysis, research at BMI is characterized by a sustained interest in pathological processes.

In order to achieve these scientific goals, the Brain Mind Institute benefits from a unique academic environment. The institute is organized as a network of independent laboratories reflecting complementary technological approaches. Each laboratory collaborates with several others within the Institute in addition to cross-disciplinary interactions on campus. The campus itself stands out as a premier technological university in engineering, computer science and basic sciences.

The Lausanne-Geneva region provides a very rich environment for scientific exchange, particularly in neuroscience. Thus, the proximity to and joint affiliations of our faculty with the university hospitals in Lausanne and Geneva provide a clinical complement for, in particular, projects related to psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. In this context one should mention the fact that the BMI is the Leading House of a national Center for Competence in Research (NCCR) focusing on “The synaptic bases of mental diseases” (, awarded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Several projects at the BMI and the NCCR have access to the Center for Biomedical Imaging (CIBM, which is characterized by a multimodal imaging approach which includes high magnetic resonance functional and structural imaging, PET, high density EEG supported by strong signal processing competences. An intimate collaboration with the Blue Brain Project and its recent development into the Human Brain Project ( expands the experimental approaches of the BMI to highly performing neuroscience simulations and databasing projects worldwide. A new initiative which involves several scientists of the BMI is the Center for neuroprosthetics in a collaboration with engineering and computer sciences.

European 2014 - Year of the Brain

A feature of the Brain Mind Institute is that several faculty members have strong expertise in physics or mathematics; this holds not only for theoretical but also for experimental neuroscience. In this way the Brain Mind Institute reflects the mission of the School of Life Science at EPFL: to provide a life science curriculum with a strong emphasis on quantitative approaches.

As far as teaching is concerned, the BMI Faculty provides a comprehensive and formal training in neuroscience from the undergraduate to the graduate levels.

Pierre Magistretti Director Brain Mind Institute

Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge  

Trevor Robbin
Trevor Robbin

The Behavioura and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (BCNI) is a centre for translational neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, jointly funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. Funding was recently renewed (2010) for a second five-year period. The BCNI Director, Professor Trevor Robbins, is also Head of the Department of Experimental Psychology based at the Downing Site in central Cambridge; the Clinical Director, Professor Ed Bullmore, is in the Department of Psychiatry, based at the Addenbrooke's site. The BCNI is thus organized to bring together Cambridge's geographically distributed strengths in basic and clinical neuroscience to optimize translational impact on a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Its Faculty includes Tim Bussey, Jeff Dalley, Barry Everitt, Paul Fletcher, Peter Jones, David Menon, Ole Paulsen, John Pickard, Angela Roberts, James Rowe, Barbara Sahakian, Lisa Saksida and Wolfram Schultz. The BCNI is partly accommodated in the new Herchel Smith Building for Brain & Mind Sciences on the Addenbrookes Hospital campus and has a strong collaborative partnership with the human and animal neuroimaging facilities managed by the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre. The major themes of the BCNI are the bidirectional ‘translation’ of basic to clinical neuroscience and vice versa; the study of treatments, both drugs and psychological intervention, ‘traits’ (endophenotypes of neuropsychiatric disorders) and training.

One of the four principal programmes of the BCNI is related to compulsive and impulsive behaviour. An example is the impulsive behaviour and reduced dopamine receptor binding in the nucleus accumbens) shown by rats that are susceptible to self-administration of cocaine- a possible endophenotype for stimulant drug addiction, which has also been shown to occur in human drug abusers and their siblings. Another is the reduced orbitofrontal activity shown by patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and their first-degree relatives when performing a reversal learning task in a functional magnetic resonance imaging setting. Compulsivity and associated abnormalities of frontostriatal network function have also been linked to other disorders such as drug addiction, compulsive eating and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This work provides a rational mechanistic basis to ‘repurpose’ existing drugs for new therapeutic indications in the treatment of addiction and OCD – two disorders currently lacking specific pharmaco-therapies. The cross-cutting dimension of reward-driven compulsivity is also relevant to understanding some of the behavioural factors that drive over-eating and obesity. This is a focus for interdisciplinary interactions between neuroscience and metabolic science in the University, and central to the successful partnership between BCNI investigators and Glaxo-SmithKline to develop the therapeutic potential of a new opioid receptor antagonist for binge eating and substance dependence disorders.

Other programmes are concerned with identifying the psychological mechanisms underlying such disorders as schizophrenia and depression, relating these to changes in brain circuitry and testing possible therapeutic effects of drugs on cognitive functioning through the E.U. ‘Innovative Medicines’ Initiative, NEWMEDS. The BCNI also has a keen interest in cognitive disorders in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, in collaboration with the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. Specific achievements include the design of a neuropsychological test of visuospatial learning and memory from the CANTAB battery that can be used to predict a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease 32 months in advance in patients with mild cognitive impairment and is now available on i-Pad for use in doctors’ surgeries.

Trevor Robbins Head of Dept. of Expt. Psychology, University of Cambridge

The new interactive platform for neuroscientists: the EJN blog  

EJN is the official journal of FENS. The identity of EJN relies on an expert editorial board and staff, fair reviews, the role of the journal in supporting the scientific community and its large scope covering all areas of research in neuroscience. Nowadays scientific journals are almost exclusively visible online and scientists look up their bibliography on search engines in a mostly keyword-based fashion, making it hard for scientific journals to keep their individual identity.

EJN Blog

We have created the EJN blog to develop our online identity with highlights from EJN contents, as well as to provide the neuroscience community with an online interactive platform where scientists can post digital documents, discuss their work and access various resources. The contents will be reviewed and organized and remain archived in the blog.

The blog is organized into five main tabs in order to facilitate navigation. The Home tab includes information about the journal and how to submit to EJN. The News tab contains announcements (for example, find out who was the winner of the latest EJN award), our editorials, featured articles, podcast interviews from authors, our latest special issues, as well as highlights. The goal is to add extras to the published articles, such as figures and videos, biographies, audio and video interviews of authors. The Early View Articles tab features the graphical abstracts of EJN ahead of print articles, with a link to the full-text publications. The Discussion Board tab is a forum for scientists to exchange comments about daily life (i.e. how to find an apartment in a foreign city, how to file taxes abroad), protocols (share a protocol, troubleshoot, ask advice), debate about any topic and discuss scientific data. The Resources tab provides information about funding tips and career planning, listings of awards/grants/meetings/training and protocol videos.

Users of the blog can post comments on much of the contents of the blog and can also login to any social network (including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) to share and/or comment. You may also share materials from the blog by email.

The EJN blog is readily accessible from any computer and will soon be available through the EJN app on iPads and iPhones, thereby creating a virtual community of neuroscientists. From the EJN app, you will be able to drop selected contents into a “Reading list” for easy access at a later time.

The EJN blog is Yours; we welcome all Your feedback and contributions. We will consider any material that can benefit the neuroscience community. Please contact us at to suggest content.

We are looking forward to seeing you at!

The Editors in Chief,
image descriptionJean-Marc Fritschy
image descriptionMartin Sarter

SiNAPSA Neuroscience Conference’ 11 – Central European FENS Featured Regional Meeting  

Blaz Koritnik
Blaz Koritnik

Following the first FENS Featured Regional Meeting (FFRM), held in Warsaw in 2009, the second meeting took place in Ljubljana at the end of September 2011. It was organised by SiNAPSA, Slovenian Neuroscience Association, in collaboration with colleagues from the Croatian Society for Neuroscience and members of the Italian Society of Neuroscience from Trieste. SiNAPSA Neuroscience Conference ’11 (SNC’11) was the fourth biannual meeting of SiNAPSA, one of the youngest FENS member societies and established in 2003.

The SNC’11 programme consisted of a variety of neuroscience topics, including molecular, cellular, cognitive, systems, clinical and computational neuroscience, neuroscience methods and history of neuroscience. The main conference programme included 6 plenary talks (on neuronal migration, neural plasticity, emotion and cognition, functional neuroimaging, protein aggregation in neurodegeneration and neurobiology of sexual behaviour), 3 special talks (EJN Best Publication Award, A. O. Župančič and J. Faganel Memorial Lectures) as well as 15 thematic symposia, selected by the programme committee.

A very important part of the conference was the active participation of young neuroscientists – around 200 posters were presented during poster sessions. FENS, IBRO, German, Croatian, Hungarian and Slovenian neuroscience societies also awarded over 50 travel grants to young participants.

There were 466 registered participants at the SNC’11, coming from 44 different countries. Most of Europe was well represented (32 countries) with 143 participants from Western Europe and 142 from Eastern Europe. In terms of regional representation, there were 148 participants from Slovenia, 61 from Croatia, 26 from Italy, 19 from Hungary and 17 from Austria.

A number of satellite and special events accompanied the main conference programme. Young Neuroscientists Forum Ljubljana 2011 was organized by a group of students from the University of Ljubljana and was intended mostly for undergraduate students taking their first steps into neuroscience. Educational Workshop on Affective Neuroscience was well attended by psychology, neurology and psychiatry clinical trainees, postgraduate and undergraduate students. International Course on Electromyography, Single Fiber Electromyography and Nerve Ultrasonography included both practical and theoretical sessions on different clinical neurophysiology methods. The Neuroscience and Society Dialogue was open to public and stimulated interesting discussions about ethical dilemmas in neuroscience. Meet FENS included presentations by FENS representatives about FENS mission, current initiatives to promote neuroscience, European Journal of Neuroscience and other FENS programmes.

The participants had plenty of opportunities for informal discussions and networking during the rich social programme, but also found some time to enjoy the warm early autumn evenings in the old town of Ljubljana. The main social event was held in the wonderful ambience of medieval halls at Ljubljana Castle. A relaxing evening with typical Slovenian food and drinks ended late at night on the dance floor with live music.

More than 100 lecturers, around 200 poster presenters and over 500 participants from 44 countries created a memorable neuroscience event in Ljubljana at the end of September 2011.

Blaz Koritnik Email: top

New FENS staff  

Lars Kristiansen
Lars Kristiansen

Lars Kristiansen is the Executive Director for FENS, a position he will officially take on in July 2012 following the FENS Forum in Barcelona. He comes from a position as Science Officer at the European Science Foundation (ESF) in France where he has worked with scientific foresight, strategic research advocacy and research management in the areas of biomedical and life sciences.

With a PhD in health sciences from the University of Copenhagen Lars Kristiansen comes to FENS with expertise as an active scientist in the neuroscientific field. Through his career, he has lived and worked in the US as well as in several European countries and will in 2012 move to Belgium with his partner and two children, to be based out of the FENS headquarter in Brussels.

Olga Zvyagintseva
Olga Zvyagintseva

Olga Zvyagintseva joined the FENS Brussels Office in October 2011. In her capacity as Conference Coordinator, she is responsible for organizing and coordinating major FENS events including the FENS Forum. Originally from Almaty, Kazakhstan, she is currently based in Brussels. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry and a Master of Engineering. She is also a graduate of the Brussels Business Institute (BBI) in International Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Antwerp NHA Academy in Business Management. She has worked as a European Education Programme Manager for the MCI Group, Brussels and as Public Relations and Project Manager for the sustainable energy project developer at Evolion.

FENS History Funding 

Again, in 2011 the FENS History funding round has been carried out and 29 applications were submitted.

Out of these 4 projects were selected by the FENS History Committee.

The funded awardees and projects across Europe are the following:

  • FRANCE, Paris: Jean-Gaël Barbara – Translation of the CHN website Club Histoire des Neurosciences of the French neuroscience society
  • ROMANIA, Bucharest: Octavian Buda and Ana-Maria Zagrean - Historiography of Neurosciences in Eastern Europe, Romania, 1870-1970
  • ITALY, Pavia: Paolo Mazzarello – Golgi revealed
  • UNITED KINGDOM, Edinburgh: David Price – The rise and fall of phrenology in Scotland

FENS warmly congratulates the awardees!

Britta Morich

Project funded by FENS History Grants 2010

FENS History Grants

Portraits of European Neuroscientists


FENS Forum 2012 

Message from Host Society Committee Chair

Dear friends,

On behalf of the Spanish Society of Neuroscience I would like to invite you to explore the ambitious programme we have created for FENS Forum 2012.

Check our Young investigator Training programme with many new activities aimed at providing new professional development initiatives and opportunities in the context of the Forum. This programme is enthusiastically endorsed by NENS, and is addressed at PhD students and early postdoc. Also, the young members have had also more participation in FENS activities, creating a full student’s programme, that you will find in their website!

Check also the student’s accommodation service that provides group accommodation in apartments, accommodation with families, room-mating services and much more!

Enhancing neuroscience visibility also is very important, and we encourage you to profit from the fantastic opportunity of the FENS Forum to do it as a global Neuroscience community. This is especially important in this moment, since we are all aware of the severe funding and policy changes facing neuroscientists. The media committee and the Publication and Communication Committee of FENS are working hard to more efficiently forge relationships with the media and to use the new social media technologies to dynamize networking and increase the interest and knowledge on the Forum.

Finally, we have developed a full social programme with pre- and post-Forum tours, and lots of opportunities to discover the culture, the gastronomy, and the innovation in Barcelona.

An unforgettable experience!!!!

Mara Dierssen, Chair of the Host Society Committee FENS Forum 2012


One of the main tasks of the future agenda of the FENS Executive Committee is to increase the number and quality of publications in Science, and particularly in Neuroscience. This is also a priority of the Spanish Society for Neuroscience, acting as local host. Accordingly, the Communication Task Group of the FENS Forum 2012 Local Organizing Committee is organising a social event on July 15th, 2012 at 18:45 devoted to an open discussion among specialists and interested neuroscientists, on different “hot spots” regarding current scientific publication. The “Editors Social” will be held at the Museu Blau (Barcelona), just across the street from the building where the FENS Forum will take place.

Editors and publishers of major neuroscience journals will discuss different aspects of the scientific publishing system, such as the future of peer review, the role and future of open access journals, the promotion of responsible scientific publishing (good scientific practices, scientific misconduct), and the research performance metrics (impact factor, "h" index, etc.). The program will include 3 to 5 brief introductory talks from the different subjects of discussion, followed by a brainstorming session open to all attendees. The session will end with an informal reception. Attendance is limited to 150 and requires registration. Attendees will be decided on a first come, first served basis. Publishers and editors will be required to pay a fee, unless they are cosponsoring the social. The final program will be profiled at the end of 2011. So, if you have interesting suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us. In the same sense, if you are interested in co-sponsoring the social, please contact the organisers.

We hope that the conclusions and recommendations that will emerge from this social will be really helpful to the European neuroscience community. This social will be the inaugural event in a series of similar events that FENS plans to organise at future FENS Forums to regularly analyse the rapidly changing world of scientific publishing.

Location: Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona, Museu Blau
Expected group size: 150
Date: July 15, 18:45-21:15

The Communication Task Group of the FENS Forum 2012 Local Organizing Committee is formed by Prof. Agustina Garcia, Dr. Fernando de Castro and Dr. Miquel Vila

Fernando De Castro

The Scientific Programme of the FENS Forum 2012 can be found on the meeting website!

FENS Forum 2012


European Neuroscience Schools Programme 2012
FENS homepage:
IBRO homepage:

International Astrocyte School
Bertinoro, Italy
March 25 – 30, 2012
Scientific organisers: Alfonso Araque, Giorgio Carmignoto, Paulo Magalhaes and Richard Robitaille
Faculty and speakers include: A . Araque, A. Bordey, G. Carmignoto, T. Fellin, C. Giaume, P. Haydon, H. Hirase, B. Khakh, F. Kirchhoff, B. McVicar, E. Newman, S. Oliet, G.M. Ratto, R. Robitaille, A. Volterra, R. Zorec
Contact: Kathy-Ann Koralek,

Drugs and the Brain: an Update in Psychopharmacology from Experimental to Clinic
Braga, Portugal
April 15 – 20, 2012
Scientific organisers: Prof. Brian Leonard, Prof. Joana Palha, Prof. Nuno Sousa and Harry Steinbusch
Faculty and speakers include: D. Baldwin, M. Bentivoglio, C. Cavada, M. Correia-Neves, B. Deakin, N. Ferrier, B. Leonard, A. Lingford-Hughes, P. Lucassen, C. Marsden, O. Meijer, J. Palha, J. Prickaerts, A. João Rodrigues, L. Reneman, G. Reynolds, C. Sandi, N. Sousa, T. Steckler, H. Steinbusch, A. Sulcova
Contact: Nicole Senden ,

Chemical Senses: Neurobiology and Behavior
Bertinoro, Italy
June 3 – 8, 2012
Scientific organisers: Anna Menini and Sid Simon
Faculty and speakers include: O. Belluzzi, H. Breer, G.D. Burd, A. Carleton, T. Finger, T. Hummel, S.C. Kinnamon, L. Lopez-Mascaraque, C. Margot, A. Menini, C. Mucignat, J.A. Riffell, I. Rodriguez, S. Simon
Contact: Kathy-Ann Koralek,

Evolution of Concepts on Pain
Siena, Italy
June 3 – 10, 2012
Scientific organisers: Anna Maria Aloisi, Gian-carlo Carli, Marshall Devor and Manfred Zimmermann
Faculty and speakers include: A. M. Aloisi, G. Carli, F. Cervero, M. Devor, R. Kuner, J. Loeser, M. Moldovan, Z. Seltzer, J. Serra, M. Vlaskovska, M. Zimmermann
Contact: Anna Maria Aloisi,

Cellular Biology of Addiction
Barcelona, Spain
July 19 – 25, 2012
Scientific organiser: Rafael Maldonado
Faculty and speakers include: D. Belin, A. Bonci, C. Cavada, C. Chavkin, V. de Semir, T. de Vries, R. Edwards, C. Evans, D. Goldman, M. Heilig, I. Katona, B. L. Kieffer, G. F. Koob, M.-J. Kreek, E. Krupitsky, R. Maldonado, B. Mason, A. C. Nairn, R. Palmiter, P. V. Piazza, M. Picciotto, J. Pollock, R. Spanagel, K. Stefansson, M. von Zastrow, N. D. Volkow, I. Witten, A. Zimmer
Contact: Miquel Serra,

Advanced Course in Computational Neuroscience Bedlewo, Poland July 30 – August 24, 2012 Scientific organisers: Daniel Wojcik and Tiaza Bem Faculty and speakers include: A. Aertsen, E. De Schutter, A. Destexhe, Q. Huys, D. Jaeger, M. Lengyel, C. Levenes, G. Mato, I. Nelken, Y. Prut, M. Richardson, J. Rinzel, R. Segev, P. Seriès, G. Tkačik, K. Turlejski, C. van Vreeswijk, D. Wójcik Contact: Daniel Wojcik,

Training Centre
Imaging Neural Function
Lausanne/Geneva, Switzerland
August 26 – September 14, 2012
Scientific organisers: Alan Carleton, Jean-Yves Chatton, Anthony Holtmaat, Carl Petersen, Ralf Schneggenburger and Egbert Welker
Faculty and speakers include: A. Carleton, J.-Y. Chatton, D. Choquet, D. Chudakov, H. Cline, R. Cossart, V. Emiliani, O. Garaschuk, C. Genoud, O. Griesbeck, P. Hegemann, F. Helmchen, A. Holtmaat, D. Huber, M. Hubener, T. Knopfel, G. Knott, A. Majewska, S. Manley, V. Nagerl, T. Nevian, L. Petreanu, B. Rozsa, D. Sage, R. Schneggenburger, M. Schnitzer, H. Slovin, K. Spring, T. Oertner, M. Unser, A. Volterra, K. Zito
Contact:Sonia Bolea,

Participants SfN-School 2011
Participants SfN-School 2011



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

Editorial Board
FENS Communication and Publication Committee

  • Erwan Bezard
  • Paola Bovolenta
  • Jacques Epelbaum (Chair)
  • Flavio Moroni
  • Kiki Thermos

Editorial Staff
Britta Morich

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: Sten Grillner
Secretary-General: Fotini Stylianopoulou
Treasurer: Hans-Joachim Pflüger

© 2012 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies