Connecting European Neuroscience

Summer 2012 Issue

Message from the FENS President 

Marian Joëls
Marian Joëls

FENS: what is it to you? 

FENS, isn’t that the society that organises these large European Neuroscience meetings every other year? This is what most young neuroscientists will think and yes, it is true. FENS organises a Forum in the even years, the most recent one being the 8th Forum in Barcelona with an all-time record of close to 7,000 participants! The FENS Forum is a lively meeting, with a comprehensive and top-level scientific programme, great exposure of your latest work during the poster sessions, easy exchange between young and not-so-young scientists in an informal setting and always in beautiful cities.

But what many neuroscientists don’t realise is that FENS is much more than that. For instance, in the odd years FENS features a regional meeting organised by one or several of its member national societies, such as the one in Prague in September 2013; no fewer than 50 stipends will be made available by FENS for young scientists to attend this meeting. A new activity is the Dynamic Brain Conference series, which comprises small top-level meetings on a specific neuroscience topic. The first one on The Neurobiology of Emotion will take place in November 2012. Check the FENS website to learn more about these exciting conferences.

Scientific meetings are of course core business to FENS, but also in the higher education arena there is much work to be done. In collaboration with partners, such as the Hertie Foundation, the Society for Neuroscience and IBRO, FENS organises a series of international schools, offering PhD students and postdocs a wonderful opportunity to be trained in specific neuroscience topics in a stimulating setting. Moreover, FENS affords a European platform for all the local and national graduate schools in neuroscience, facilitating exchanges of students between schools through interesting travel-grants.

All in all, many activities that are particularly interesting for young neuroscientists and the ones mentioned above are just a few examples. The fact that FENS co-owns the European Journal of Neuroscience EJN makes all these activities financially possible. All members of FENS publish and receive EJN –the major broad-scope European neuroscience journal- free of charge.

Of course, first and foremost, FENS is the voice of European neuroscience: it is an organisation that on behalf of all its member societies advocates the enormous importance of understanding the brain for health and disease. It is a privilege to help FENS reach its goals in the years of my presidency.

Marian Joëls FENS President top

Editorial from the FENS Communication Committee Chair: Past and Future 

Kiki Thermos
Kiki Thermos

Dear colleagues,

I had the pleasure of being a member of the first Communication and Publication (C&P) Committee for the past two years (2010-2012). The main goal of the committee was to promote communication between FENS’ member societies, individual scientists, international organisations and the public at large.

With the wise leadership of Jacques Epelbaum and the commitment of its members (Erwan Bezard, Paola Bovolenta, Flavio Moroni), the committee set specific goals and took specific actions to promote FENS’s communication and visibility. The publication of the FENS Trimestrial Newsletter that you are now reading is the implementation of one of the committee’s goals. The seven Newsletters published so far have channelled information to the European Neuroscience Community on the different actions taken by FENS committees. It gave the floor to our very own international neuroscience journal, EJN, introduced different European Neuroscience Research Institutes and publicised the FENS-IBRO Schools, in addition to the upcoming FENS Featured Regional Meeting, the FENS Forums and other meetings of interest to the Neuroscience Society. Another important action taken by the C&P Committee was to organise a social media network, with the aim of initiating a dialogue within the neuroscientific community in view of the FENS Forum in Barcelona. This was launched in October 2011. The social media platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter) reached thousands of neuroscientists worldwide. I would like to thank the Kenes Team, Melanie Takefman and Sidra Muoio, as well as the Chair of the Host Society Committee of the FENS Forum 2012, Mara Dierssen, and the Chair of the Student Committee, Monica Santos, for their collaboration in making the FENS Forum social media network one of the most active neuroscience networks and the FENS Forum Barcelona the most successful FENS Forum to date, with 6,992 attendees. Thanks are also in order to the Press Officers, Elaine Snell and Nuria Estape, for their excellent work in promoting the FENS Forum. In conjunction with the social media network they were instrumental in raising the profile of FENS.

At the FENS Forum in Barcelona, the Governing Council approved a new revised strategic plan (see article below: An update to the FENS strategy by Lars Kristiansen). In this new strategic plan the C&P Committee is renamed the Communication Committee. Its primary objectives continue to be the enhancement of the role of FENS as its members' representative (and their member scientists) among organisations and stakeholders at the European/global level, and the increase of the visibility of FENS among its member societies and individual scientists in Europe.

However, new actions will be taken to coordinate the most efficient communication strategy for the public domain, including for Brain Awareness Week. Therefore, outreach will be an important target for the new Committee. In close collaboration with the National Societies, these actions will be instrumental in promoting Neuroscience advocacy initiatives in Europe. These initiatives have already begun with the launch of the FENS-SfN Advocacy grant programme in 2011 for national societies. An advocacy campaign at the national level has started (see article below: Special event on communication and advocacy by Jacques Epelbaum) and the new Communication Committee will strive for its continuation and success. A new call for proposals with a submission deadline of September 15, 2012 will award the 2013 advocacy grants. We hope that these initiatives will highlight European Neuroscience advocacy “ambassadors”. In collaboration with partner organisations, the importance of basic neuroscience research in the understanding of brain function and dysfunction and the development of efficacious therapeutics for the many devastating brain diseases that afflict millions of people in Europe and globally will be communicated, with the hope that legislators, stakeholders and philanthropists will enact policies and actions favourable to neuroscience funding. Another major goal of the Communication Committee is to brand the FENS Forum as the principal European meeting for FENS' member societies, and neuroscientists globally. In collaboration with Marina Bentivoglio, the Chair of the Host Society Committee of the FENS Forum 2014, we will strive for greater social media networking to facilitate scientific dialogue between the congresses, to increase attendance and to make FENS Forum Milan a success.

These next two years will be very challenging. I would like to introduce the new members of the Communication Committee, Javier Cudeiro, Malgorzata Kossut and Yves Tillet who, along with Flavio Moroni and me, will meet these challenges. I welcome the new members and I hope that our collaboration will lead to the successful implementation of the committee’s goals.

Javier Cudeiro

Javier Cudeiro is Professor of Physiology of the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Centro Universitario de Oza and Head of the Laboratory of Neuroscience and Motor Control (NEUROcom), Research Director of Neurology, Institute of Biomedical Research of A Coruña (INIBIC). His research interests focus on the study of corticothalamic interactions in the visual system and new strategies for neurorehabilitation.

Malgorzata Kossut

Malgorzata Kossut is Head of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology and Head of the Laboratory of Neuroplasticity at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology. Her research focuses on understanding of the mechanisms involved in experience-dependent plasticity of the cerebral cortex, the neurochemical and anatomical correlates of sensory plasticity and learning, and the mechanisms of sensory perception and cognition.

Yves Tillet

Yves Tillet is Director of Research in the Institut National de Recherches Agronomiques in Nouzilly near Tours and Director of the Structure Fédérative de Recherches "Functional Neuroimaging". His research interests are in neuroendocrinology and neuroanatomy, and focus on the interactions between hormones and brain in the control of reproduction in domestic mammals.

In closing, I want to thank my predecessor Jacques Epelbaum for setting the stage on how to run the FENS C&P Committee. His enthusiasm was contagious. In addition, I would like to thank all the members of the committee (Erwan Bezard, Paola Bovolenta, Flavio Moroni) for the excellent collaboration and teamwork.

Dear readers,
I hope you enjoy the Summer Trimestrial Newsletter.

Kiki ThermosChair, Communication Committee

An Update to the FENS Strategy

At the FENS Forum in Barcelona, the FENS Governing Council enacted its new strategic plan. Supported by all FENS member societies and based on the principles of the previous strategic plan, the revised document ensures continuity and sustained relevance for FENS as the major federation of neuroscience societies in Europe.

Linking main priorities with current and new operational activities, the revised strategic plan defines a clear and proactive vision for FENS in the coming decade. At a time where neuroscience as a discipline is undergoing changes both in size and in scope, and where participation in policy and societal discussions at the European level is more important than ever, the revised strategic plan will help FENS respond to the requirements and expectations of the neuroscience community, also in the future.

Four domains of action

Since its start, the fundamental mission of FENS has always been to promote neuroscience research in Europe and beyond. As the unique federating organization for 32 independent national neuroscience societies and 9 mono-disciplinary societies in Europe, FENS aims to fulfil its mission through specific initiatives and actions. Concretely, this is done with a focus on activities within four broadly defined areas: 1) synergy and exchange among member societies, 2) scientific interaction, 3) education and training, 4) dissemination of research (see figure 1). The steady application and development of this framework provides FENS leadership with an important navigational tool for the short, medium and long term horizons.

Figure 1
Figure 1

What does this mean for FENS members?

The revised strategic plan defines several core scientific activities that are directly aimed at the neuroscientific community. This includes the different categories of scientific meetings, such as the FENS Forum, the FENS featured regional meetings and the top-level Dynamic Brain series. But also, further improving European higher education and training in neuroscience are at the top of the agenda.

These, as well as entirely new actions launched under the new strategic plan, are implemented for and with the FENS community of neuroscientists.

Figure 2
Figure 2

Communication and outreach in neuroscience topics as well as international advocacy and partnerships are other areas where FENS defines important roles for itself. The benefits for neuroscience from these activities are evident; better understanding and collaboration between different neuroscience disciplines, increased knowledge and acceptance of neuroscience in society and last but not least the importance of influencing, in collaboration with partner organizations, the European and global policy agenda, shifting resources to where they are so much needed: research to better understand the brain.

The administration of FENS is responsible for the timely and professional implementation of the decisions that are taken by the FENS Executive Committee. The administrative arm of FENS has, therefore, been updated and relocated and is now present in Brussels with a centralized administrative office where all committees of FENS can meet, and where the coordination of FENS activities such as the Forum and other prominent FENS activities can be done most effectively. The activities of the longstanding FENS office at the Max Delbrück Centre in Berlin with its competent staff will be continued and function in coordination with the Brussels main office. Combined, these changes aim at ensuring the efficient continuation and development of high quality and professional support of the neuroscience community that characterizes FENS.

The revised strategic plan can be downloaded from the FENS website (

Thank you for your ongoing support to FENS!

On behalf of the past President, Sten Grillner and the current President, Marian Joëls:

Lars Kristiansen
Lars Kristiansen
FENS Executive Director

The Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology in Warsaw has recently been enlarged to include a new Centre of Neurobiology 

Adam Szewczyk
Adam Szewczyk

The Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences was established in 1918 and is the largest non-university centre for biological research in Poland. Priority areas for the Institute include neurobiology, neurophysiology, cellular biology, biochemistry and molecular biology – at levels of complexity from the whole organism through tissue and cellular levels to proteins and genes. There are 39 labs at the Institute, among them a modern Laboratory of Confocal Microscopy, a Laboratory of Cytometry, a Laboratory of Electron Microscopy, as well as facilities for Behavioural and Electrophysiological Testing. The Institute is equipped with state-of-the-art research equipment and a modernised animal house where lab animals, including transgenic models, are bred in accordance with the highest standards. The Institute’s high quality research, publications and close ties with the international scientific community place it among the leading biological research centres in Europe.

New facilities at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology are nearing completion, including the Centre of Neurobiology, a part of the Centre for Preclinical Research and Technology (CePT) project.

CePT is the top project on the indicative list of the Innovative Economy Operational Programme and it has received confirmation of assistance from the European Commission. The Centre of Neurobiology (CN) investment has been implemented under a bilateral agreement with the CePT project coordinator, the Medical University of Warsaw (MUW). The Nencki Institute, along with the Medical University of Warsaw, is a main beneficiary of the CePT project. The value of the Centre of Neurobiology investment has been estimated at 52 million PLN, which constitutes over 15% of the total value of the CePT project (359 million PLN). About 30 million PLN is for purchase of research equipment; 15 million is for an extension of the two existing wings of the Institute building, while the remaining funds are allocated to other project-related activities (project management and promotion, personnel costs, training, audit and general costs).


After two years of intense preparatory work and settlement of a public tender, construction of the CN started in May 2010. It will continue through November 2012. The CN investment is supervised by a team overseeing implementation of the CePT Project at the Nencki Institute coordinated by Prof. Adam Szewczyk, Director of the Nencki Institute. A number of CN core facilities have been established: Laboratory of Brain Imaging, Laboratory of Imaging Tissue Structure and Function, Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Laboratory of Advanced Preclinical Studies, and Laboratory of Animal Models, each with a new head recruited following an international competition. These labs will be furnished with state-of-the-art research equipment and will provide services not only to researchers working at the Nencki Institute and partners of the CePT consortium, but also to scientists from other research centres in Poland and abroad. Implementation of the CN investment will enable the Institute to assume a leading role in pan-European initiatives, such as the EuroBioImaging project listed on the roadmap of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).

The cluster of core facilities within the Centre of Neurobiology shall, among other benefits, create a supportive environment enhancing professional development of the most talented researchers in the fields of neurobiology, biochemistry and molecular biology in Europe. We hope that the CN investment, strengthened by an inflow of human capital and execution of ambitious, international research projects shall, within the next ten years, place the Nencki Institute among the best research institutions in the field of neurobiology in Poland, as well as among leading European research centres.

Director of the Nencki InstituteAdam top

UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging, UK 

Mark Lythgoe
Mark Lythgoe

Before I even make a start, I can see this article could end up as an extended list of various imaging methods we have in the Centre. Rather than an à la carte imaging menu, I thought I would describe my experience setting up a preclinical imaging centre. Anyone who has done this will recognise the issues and problems; for those who have not, count yourself lucky!

The UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging, or CABI as it is affectionately known, is a new space for experimental imaging. Four years ago there was me, two post-docs, a small room with a 9.4T MRI scanner and an empty new building. It was a very difficult time: unable to do experiments as we were constructing the lab; dealing with the problems of a new building; moving equipment to the site; UK Home Office animal legislation, together with the development of new collaborators and a strategic programme. Yet amidst all this, I had a rather grand vision to create the first experimental imaging centre, which I pitched to my then boss Patrick Vallance, and argued that putting the disparate disciplines of MRI, ultrasound, optical, photo-acoustic and nuclear imaging into the same space, would amplify our potential. With a rather apprehensive nod, I was given the whole floor of the new building, partly as there were no other imminent plans for the space, but also he liked the idea of this rather grand challenge. CABI was all-consuming, not that I was complaining, as I loved the challenge of being given the freedom and responsibility to deliver my ideal. And clearly my ambitions were well ahead of my funds, as I began this adventure with only £10K.

Over the next year I learned the subtleties of the UCL internal award system and I was able to build the extension to the Centre to site the animal holding facility together with sterile, recovery and histology suites. This was essential for the academic challenges ahead. Next I had to predict the future imaging technologies and bring them into CABI. The first group to join CABI was the Photoacoustic Imaging Group led by Paul Beard. Photoacoustic imaging combines laser light with the reception of ultrasound, to detect vascular networks (20µm resolution) and monitor haemodynamic functional changes in vivo. In our first year, the Photoacoustic work performed in CABI won the Roberts Prize, which is awarded annually for the best paper in Physics in Medicine and Biology.

Next we were awarded Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre status and we established the Nuclear Molecular Imaging Facility with a SPECT/CT system (Adam Badar), in parallel with a state-of-the-art radiochemistry including 3 shielded fume hoods and 2 hot cells led by Erik Arstad.

Over the last 2 years we have developed 3D micro MRI techniques to visualise subtle changes in brain and heart structure (Elizabeth Fisher, Sebastian Ourselin). To give you a feel of scale, we are looking for the genes responsible for hole in the heart in babies -

a hole about the size of a human hair (30µm) in the embryo heart (See Figure), and magnetic nanoparticles in the pigeon head to account for homing (David Keays), which resulted in a publication in Nature.

So was my boss right to allow me to experiment and develop a cross-disciplinary imaging centre? This is really difficult to judge as each Institution will have different assessment criteria based on papers, funding, impact and publicity. We have just had our first review in which I explained that last year we had our official opening and over the four years we had raised £19m, and published around 50 papers, with two in Nature. I’m dwelling on this to mark what is possible, as well as a point of justification for those thinking about doing similar, together with a note of celebration for the team.

In the last 100 years, biomedical imaging has undergone phenomenal developments – from X-rays to MRI scans – affording images of cellular structures and brain function. These images have changed our understanding of the human condition. Since the first Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1901 for his discovery of X-rays, there has been an astonishing 28 Nobel prizes in imaging. Today, biomedical imaging is an interdisciplinary field that brings together biomedicine, chemistry, physics, engineering and sometimes art. It is this combined approach that is embraced in the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging.

UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging:

Director of the Centre for Advanced Biomedical ImagingMark top

Have You Missed the Latest News on the EJN Blog?

The Web has reinvented how we access information. In line with this change, the journal of FENS, EJN, has recently launched an innovative website, the EJN Blog to give the opportunity to our authors to share more digital contents and provide the neuroscientists with an interactive platform, hosting various news and resources for their 


research and career. In addition, we have also released a mobile App for iPhones and iPads, so that our readers can keep up with the latest publications and blog news from EJN on the go (get it now on your device for free from the App store!). The App is synchronized with the EJN Blog and EJN website, giving immediate access to all this information at your fingertips. In addition, you can also stay connected with EJN through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and RSS feeds.

A few months after their successful launch, we are very pleased to report good usage of these new online developments. The blog contains various categories, including a discussion forum, highlights on funding bodies, interviews with our contributors, announcements of awards and meetings, training opportunities and extra data from Featured Papers. To date, the most visited blog post is a step-by-step video on how to prepare neuronal cell cultures. This video has been viewed thousands of times (click here to view). Other most popular blog posts include:

And the community is still growing… We welcome all your suggestions; submit contents to Sophie Gavarini at (click here for details)

To improve EJN even further, so that we can better serve you, all FENS members will receive a survey to complete this autumn with a chance to win an iPad3! We look forward to receiving your feedback.

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

FENS Schools Programmes 

Martine Ammassari-Teule
Martine Ammassari-Teule

Since its foundation, FENS has considered as one of its primary mission to increase neuroscience education in Europe and to erase differences between countries countersigned by unequal economic and technological development. Given the urgent need for a skilled and interdisciplinary generation of young neuroscientists, educational programmes have been launched to support them at early stages of their career. These programmes are presently managed by two dedicated FENS committees, the FENS Schools Committee and the Network of European Neuroscience Schools (NENS) Committee, each of them focusing on different aspects of gaining knowledge to face new challenges in the field.

The past and the present: While NENS provides professional development activities, information and educational resources to graduate students with the aim of increasing opportunities and mobility, the FENS schools committee, in collaboration with other institutions including IBRO (International Brain Research Organization), Hertie Foundation and SfN (The Society for Neuroscience), foster basic and translational neuroscience education at a level of excellence. A variety of formats including summer schools, winter schools, open format schools and partially supported school have been set up to provide European postgraduate fellows with the most recent advancement in the entire neuroscience field. These schools, in general of a one-week duration, have the double aim of touching a broad range of sectors (proteomics, molecular, cellular, developmental, cognitive, clinical or computational neuroscience) and integrating data and concepts from different sectors. Moreover, FENS supports the organization of training centres of three-week duration to warrant practical formation for autonomous utilization of sophisticated research tools. Symposia, conferences, workshops and practical sessions are run in an informal and dense atmosphere to elicit the necessary amount of warm tutors/students interactions that are the essence of FENS education programmes. Nowadays, the results are impressive: from 1999 to 2012, a total of 62 schools and 15 training centres have been organised (

The future European Research Area is, however, changing. The creation of numerous excellent graduate schools offered at the national level and of postgraduate European courses prompts FENS to re-evaluate its activities. During the last assembly of the FENS Governing Council, the decision that the current two standing alone committees will work together to propose a global reorganization of the FENS schools system was taken. The objectives are that FENS, in collaboration with its partners IBRO, SfN, and Hertie Foundation will (i) further develop the concept of prestigious, state-of-art training in neuroscience based on a unique scheme, (ii) support Pan-European neuroscience teaching programmes, (iii) promote partnerships with European and non –European leading agencies involved in education and training, (iv) reinforce alumni programmes. This reorganization is expected to have FENS providing an effective added value to its core member base.

Martine Ammassari-TeuleChair, Schools Committee 

FENS Forum 2012, Barcelona

The great success of the FENS Forum 2012 highlights the excellence of basic research in European neuroscience. At this critical time for Europe it is extremely important to have a European Forum that demonstrates the richness of European Neuroscience. This year the FENS Forum welcomed almost 7,000 attendees. As European neuroscientists, we have to congratulate ourselves for contributing to such a great platform for the brain research community.


Idowu Abimbola John - Department of Physiology, 
Lagos State University College of Medicine with 
Mara Dierssen and Sten Grillner. After many problems 
with the Embassy in Lagos, Idowu Abimbola John could
attend the YITP, in connection with the FENS Forum

The FENS Forum 2012 has been especially important. It was the first time that the Forum was organised under the direct responsibility of FENS, and thus, with a new role for the host Society. Fully committed to this new scheme, the Spanish Neuroscience Society (SENC) has enthusiastically worked to make the FENS Forum 2012 in Barcelona the best FENS Forum ever.

In addition to actions directly related to the Forum, the host Society succeeded in having 2012 declared “Year of Neuroscience” in Spain, and took the opportunity of the Forum to organise activities of importance to the SENC (and in future Forums, to national societies), namely the Young Investigator Training Programme and a year-round Public Awareness Programme that have promoted public support for neuroscience with a myriad of outreach and advocacy activities with the participation of more than 10,000 attendants in Spain.

As a result of these activities, we had strong support from the City of Barcelona and the Catalan Government, especially the Institute of Culture and the Barcelona University Centre. The support to the FENS Forum and science and research was evident during the Opening Ceremony. The attendants were received by the Eagle of Barcelona, a historical character representing nobility and justice that, at least since 1399, acts as host and representative of the city only on very special occasions. The event was accompanied by chamber music from the XVI century under the direction of musicologist and anthropologist Galdric Santana, playing original instruments. 

FENS Forum 2012

The most important part of our programme had been devoted to the young neuroscientists. On one hand the students were offered an opportunity to play an active part in the Forum's organisation, by designing a whole programme of great activities. The students’ stand was visited by thousands of attendees who admired and voted on the pictures in the photo contest, and tried to prove their knowledge of neuroscience in the trivia game.

In collaboration with NENS, the Spanish Neuroscience Society designed a whole range of activities to provide maximum value to attendees with a range of opportunities, including scientific enrichment, career development, and professional networking. Our beloved colleague Laia Acarin, whom unfortunately we lost last December, initiated this Young Investigator Training Programme (YITP) with great passion and excellence.

In different social events, the attendees furthermore had the opportunity to learn about the history of Spanish Neuroscience and to debate with editors from major neuroscience journals about scientific publishing. We had also a great visitor’s programme “Destination Barcelona” where you could not only find free visits to museums, but also to scientific centres such as the supercomputing centre or the Alba synchrotron, and recommended restaurants. All the visits were fully subscribed, and many attendants took advantage of the free tickets for the GREC festival.

I want to highlight that social media was for the first time integrated into the FENS Forum, with Forum twitter and Facebook posts facilitating the networking and the learning about different activities during the Forum.

Finally, I must acknowledge the efforts of the 47 volunteers, all of them neuroscience PhD or Postdoc students, as well as the really fantastic job done by their team leaders.

Congratulations FENS!!!

Mara Dierssen
Mara DierssenChair, Host Society Committee
FENS Forum 2012

“Building Your Career”: a NENS-Sponsored Workshop at the 8th FENS Forum in Barcelona 

Ferdinando Rossi
Ferdinando Rossi

The workshop “Building your career”, organised by Jean Pierre Hornung, chair of the NENS Committee for the period 2010-2012, was devoted to presenting non-academic job opportunities to Master, PhD students and Postdocs in Neuroscience. The program featured two main speakers: Dr Henri Huttunen, Chief Scientific Officer at Hermo Pharma Ltd, a CNS-focused biopharmaceutical company based in Helsinki, illustrated his own professional history, from academic studies to industry. He also made an extensive overview of the different job opportunities now offered by the biomedical industry, and outlined the major skills required to enter distinct professional careers, from research and development to management and business. Elaine Snell, from Snell Communication, is responsible for the FENS Forum Press Office. She described job prospects, and their required skills, in the field of media and scientific communication, from editorial activities in journals or publishing companies, to dissemination of scientific information to the public.

The event was most successful, with over 250 registered participants, mostly PhD students. In spite of the late evening schedule, the young attendees asked a long list of thoughtful questions of the speakers who witnessed the interest of young neuroscientists in the subject of future career perspectives, given the uncertain economic climate.

The workshop was organised alongside the “Chance to Meet” event, which took place during the following two days. The latter activity was organised to allow the participating students to meet and interact with representatives from research laboratories, training programs and biotech and funding agencies.

Ferdinando RossiChair, NENS Committee

FENS Photo Contest 

A Scientific Photography contest under “Scientific Phenomena” and “The Lab Through Your Eyes” categories was launched by the Students’ Committee for the first time at the 8th FENS Forum held in Barcelona July 14 to 18, 2012.

The initiative aimed at having young scientists present their work out of the classical context and limitations of journals’ guidelines and reinvent their science and the way to show it. The prizes were sponsored by Olympus (photograph cameras), Mente y Cerebro magazine and Advances in Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation (annual subscriptions to their publications).

We would like to congratulate the winners of this first edition of the contest and all the scientists that send us their beautiful photographs.

The winning photos were:

Scientific Phenomena

  • Jury Prize: Fight and Surrender by Carmen Agustín Pavón
  • Vox Pop Prize: Happy Hippos by Chris Henstridge

The Lab Through Your Eyes

  • Jury Prize: In Search of the Big Fish by Anna Sendelbeck
  • Vox Pop: PhD Title Recipe by Marco David Brockmann

You can see all the photographs in exhibition at the Jump the FENS 2012 Facebook.

Monica Santos, ChairStudents’ Committee, FENS Forum 2012

The FENS Forum 2012 Video Contest winners were announced at the EJN Social 

Together with FENS, EJN organised a video contest on the occasion of the FENS Forum 2012. The contest tasked postdoctoral fellow and PhD student attendees with creating a video about neuroscience, which could be funny and/or educational.

The FENS Communication and Publication Committee and the EJN team selected three videos as winners of the contest, based on creativity, relevance to neuroscience and interest created. Committee member Flavio Moroni officially announced the winners of the contest at the EJN Social during the Forum in Barcelona, on Tuesday, July 17, 2012.

The winning videos were:

people people
K. Melkumyan, S. Gavarini (Managing Editor, EJN), A. Flores,
X. Vinals and M. Sarter (co-editor-in-chief, JN)
J.M. Fritschy (co-Editor-in-chief, EJN), A. López López, J. Gimeno-Bayon Forteza and I. Cester

Congratulations again to the winners for such fun videos! 
Each team of filmmakers has received € 1,000.

Sophie GavariniManaging Editor EJN

Special Event on Communication & Advocacy 

In light of the growing importance that advocacy plays at the national, European and worldwide levels and considering the mutual goal of establishing neuroscience as a highly prioritized science area on national and international policy agendas, FENS together with the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) jointly launched an Advocacy Grant Programme in June 2011.

A two-day advocacy workshop was organised in Brussels for representatives of the national neuroscience member societies to present a variety of strategies and instruments on advocacy in various European and North American countries.


Following this workshop the First Call of the FENS-SfN Advocacy Grant Programme was announced and ten FENS member societies were awarded a grant to carry out projects during 2012.

The special event on communication and advocacy, as organised by the Communication and Publication Committee during FENS Forum 2012, coincided with the mid term review of the supported projects and was the best moment to expose the development and current status of these projects, whilst announcing the opening of the second round of Calls for the projects that will run throughout 2013.

Sten Grillner, former FENS President and initiator of the programme, summarized the FENS policy on advocacy and William (Bill) Martin, the SfN Government and Public Affairs Committee representative pointed out the need to increase awareness for advocacy and identify “advocacy champions” for neuroscience.

The meeting culminated with a presentation of the current status of the supported projects by representatives of the awarded national member societies: it proved to be a great opportunity for know-how sharing, as well as benchmarking and as a catalyst for the 2013 advocacy Call of Proposals.

To conclude, whilst the majority of the supported projects aimed at public outreach and policymakers, rather than the FENS constituency and partners, some of the projects have a great potential to be extended from the national to the European level through FENS.

Jacques EpelbaumFormer Chair, Communication & Publication Committee

Social Media Activity 

Thanks to the social media platforms used extensively during the Forum, the FENS Forum in Barcelona benefited from unprecedented public exposure reaching almost

social media

15,000 people in total through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. According to the statistics, 70% of the Facebook users that were interested in the theme of the forum are between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. This sends an encouraging message for further increasing the support of the projects / programs run by young researchers. While most of the interest came from Europe, a keen interest in the Forum was also registered from other countries, including Brazil, Malaysia and Japan. Through Twitter, the activities of the Forum were accessible in real time.

The New Composition of the FENS Committees 

image description

Following the elections that took place during the FENS Governing Council in Barcelona, July 2012, the new composition of the FENS Committees can be viewed at: 

Introducing New FENS Officers

FENS President-Elect:

image description

Monica Di Luca works as Professor at the University of Milan and is Vice-Director of the Department of Pharmacological Sciences at the same university. Her research focuses on the understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating the composition, the structural organization and the dynamic of the glutamatergic synapse in physiological and pathological conditions.

FENS Secretary General-Elect:

image description

Marianne Amalric leads the CNRS (UMR7291) research unit on “Basal Ganglia Cognition and Physiopathology” at Aix-Marseille University. Her current research interests are basal ganglia-related neurodegenerative diseases and the regulation by glutamate or cholinergic neuronal systems of motor and cognitive functions.

FENS Treasurer-Elect from 2013-2015:

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Vincent Prévot is Research Director at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). His research interests are in Neuroendocrinology, in development and plasticity of the postnatal brain and neuronglia communication. He will take up the position of Treasurer from 2015-2017.

Chair of the Programme Committee for the FENS Forum 2014:

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Silvia Arber is Full Professor for Neurobiology/Cell Biology at the Biozentrum and Senior Group Leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland. The central question of the research she carries out concerns the elucidation of cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the assembly and function of neuronal circuits controlling movement.

Chair of the Host Society Committee of the FENS Forum 2014:

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Marina Bentivoglio is Professor of Histology at the Medical Faculty of the University of Verona, Italy and Director of the Doctoral School of “Science Engineering Medicine” at the same university.


FENS Featured Regional Meeting 

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Save the Date!
11-14 September 2013
Prague, Czech Republic


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This biennial award donated by the EJN publisher Wiley-Blackwell is given in recognition of outstanding scientific work in all areas of neuroscience.

Candidates should be nominated by a FENS member (no self application) and must be either working in a European institute or be of European origin working abroad.

The awardee is required to give a Special Lecture at the FENS Forum 2014 in Milan and write a review for publication in EJN.

2012 winner: Barry Everitt, Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and Master of Downing College

Deadline for nominations:
December 31, 2012

Visit the FENS website at 
for further information about the award and how to nominate.




The Hertie-Foundation (Germany) is pleased to announce in cooperation with the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) the opening of nominations for the

Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize 2013

For application details visit: 

Deadline for nomination:
November 1, 2012

For questions, please contact:
Dr. Alexander Grychtolik

NENS Stipends Awarded

In the Second Call of the NENS stipends in 2012 five applications were evaluated and three were awarded:

Marie Bockstaller from the University of Strasbourg, France, for a training stay in the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany;

Sofia Ferreira from the University od Lisbon, Por-tugal, for a training stay in the University of Cardiff, UK. The Portuguese Society will sponsor part of this stipend for Neuroscience;

Thomas Villemonteix from the University Pierre and Marie Curie, France, for a training stay in the University of Birmingham, UK.

New Call for NENS Travel Stipends 

is now opened; the closing date for applications is 

15 October 2012

For further information and application details please visit:
The young researchers exchange program

The program is a new FENS initiative, established on bilateral agreements between FENS and the Japan Neuroscience Society and the Chinese Neuroscience Society, to favour exchange of young scientists between Europe and Asia. The program will cover travel costs for job interviews for postdoc positions in European and Japanese or Chinese institutions. The exchange is open to applicants and host PI members of the partner Societies. Stipends will be announced three times per year. A maximum of 3 scientist/year will be supported for each direction. Selection will be made by the Society of the host PI, who will cover the expenses (travel expenses on economy flight, up to a maximum of € 1,500).
The first Call will be announced as soon as the partner Societies will formally approve the agreement.
The first deadline for application submission is scheduled for November 15th, 2012.
For details and updated information, please contact



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:

© 2012 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies