Connecting European Neuroscience

Winter 2012 Issue

Message from the FENS President  

Sten Grillner - FENS President 2010-2012
Sten Grillner

The Brain in Spain …
Our Spanish colleagues have been very successful in making the Brain a centrepiece on the Iberian Peninsula and have been able to declare 2012 as the Year of the Brain! This is being celebrated throughout the year with a great number of activities for interested laymen and colleagues about the impact of the brain. In Barcelona, Madrid, and other centres there will be recurring events for the public on interesting topics, like the Brain and Art, the Brain and the Law, the Brain and Gastronomics and of course the many psychiatric and neurological diseases of the brain. The Royal Medical Academy of Science has also arranged a series of talks and discussions about the brain. This is master-minded by the Spanish Neuroscience Society (SENC) and Juan Lerma, the president, and Mara Dierssen, president elect. Mara is also the chair of the host committee for the FENS Forum in Barcelona, which promises to become a remarkable event in the spirit of the long tradition of Spanish Neuroscience


The FENS Forum with at least 6000 participants from most parts of the world will be located in a very attractive new centre in Barcelona, near the sea. Just opposite the centre is a newly built Museum De Ciencias Naturales de Barcelona. Both the exterior of this fabulous building with the best of Spanish architecture and the exhibits are remarkable – novel, attractive and informative. Some parts of our meeting, like the History of Neuroscience social, will also be held there. I very much recommend a visit - much of the focus is on evolution. The importance of the Spanish year of the Brain is underscored by the interaction with the parliament about the implication of brain research, not only for the many diseases of the brain but also for education and maintaining health in a stressful environment.

The importance of the ´month of the brain´ lies in the recognition of brain science as a priority for the different EU countries.

At the European level, the European Brain Council (EBC) provides a common voice for the different organisations for basic (FENS) and clinical neuroscience (neurology and psychiatry), patient organisations and pharmaceutical and biotech industries directed to the nervous system. EBC is together with the European Commission promoting a month of the brain during 2013, during the Irish presidency. The importance of this ´month´ lies in the recognition of brain science as a priority for the different EU countries, not least because of the large costs that diseases of the brain represent and of course the suffering of patients and their relatives . EBC is chaired by Mary Baker, representing the patient organisations and with Monica di Luca as the vice president, previously secretary general of FENS. EBC has its office in Brussels in “Club Universitaire”, in which FENS´ new office is also located, which allows for a close interaction in the interest of all members of FENS.

Hope to see you all in Barcelona!

Prof. Sten Grillner Email: top

Editorial from the FENS Communication and Publication Committee Chairman  

Jacques Epelbaum
Jacques Epelbaum

Many years ago, the great French physiologist Claude Bernard stated that the balance between activating and inhibitory signals in the body is central to a successful life. A group of investigators at Cambridge University recently showed that this statement is true for brain activity (1).

They discovered abnormalities in fronto-striatal brain systems implicated in self-control in both stimulant drug-dependent subjects and their biological siblings without history of chronic drug abuse; thereby supporting the concept of an underlying endophenotype for stimulant drug addiction.

Siblings probably have protective factors that balance their familial vulnerability to drug addiction.

This demonstration is based on a test of inhibitory self-control which depends on the functional and structural integrity of the brain network - including the inferior frontal gyrus, the basal ganglia (caudate-putamen), and the presupplementary motor area - which is compromised in stimulant drug dependence. When compared to unrelated healthy volunteers, equally marked impairments in the regulation of behavior were apparent in both drug-dependent subjects and their biological siblings with no history of chronic drug abuse. Using voxel-based morphometry, shared abnormalities were also identified in both the stimulantdependent subjects and their siblings when compared with healthy volunteers: left amygdala and left putamen were both significantly enlarged; whereas the left postcentral gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, and posterior insula were significantly reduced in gray matter volume. Now, one question arises: if the siblings do present a familial vulnerability to drug addiction why don’t they develop it? As hypothesized by the authors, the siblings probably have protective factors that balance their familial vulnerability to drug addiction.

This study illustrates the power of brain imaging in translational neuroscience. But the power of brain imaging is also at work when Science and Art come together.

Even a brain with disease is beautiful, complex and intriguing.

This is particularly true in the work of Elisabeth Jameson ( She creates images based on MRI scans of her own brain. Her etchings reveal the brain’s anatomical structure while celebrating its beauty and mystery. Until 1992, Jameson was a public interest lawyer and a nationally recognized expert on health policies for children with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Then, she suddenly lost her ability to talk, underwent brain surgery and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She regained her speech and through her treatments became fascinated by brain scans. Although she had not made art before, she decided to create her own work by exploring these images.

Her art is now exhibited in neuroscience centers throughout the world, from the permanent collection of the Harvard University Center for Brain Science to the Basque Neuroscience Institute, at San Sebastian in Spain.

Jameson sends us a message of hope. In her own terms: “Even a brain with disease is beautiful, complex and intriguing”. Rather than turn away from what brings discomfort, her goal is to encourage us to “contemplate this amazing biological structure, with all of its powers to change, adapt and confound”.

Enjoy your reading.

Jacques Epelbaum

Angiogram of the Brain. Solarplate Etching on Paper 5 x 5*

*Ersche KD, Jones PS, Williams GB, Turton AJ, Robbins TW, Bullmore ET. Abnormal Brain Structure Implicated in Stimulant Drug Addiction. Science. 2012 Feb 3;335(6068): 601-4.


Year of the Brain in Spain 2012 

Fernando de Castro
Fernando de Castro

In October 2010, the Spanish Parliament almost unanimously voted to designate 2012 as the International Year of Neuroscience in Spain. The proposal from the Spanish Society for Neuroscience (SENC) was quite risky because, although it was based on the fact that the FENS Forum 2012 will be held in Barcelona, 2011 had been designated as the Year for Alzheimer´s Disease. The designation of 2012 as the Year of Neuroscience by the Spanish Parliament would be further accompanied by a special fiscal treatment for the financial supporters of the different activities. Although the change in the date for the general elections and the subsequent change of government has delayed any concrete actions in this sense: we hope that that this is not for not long time.

The main focus of the different activities planned should pivot around the different aspects of Neuroscience, from genes, molecules and ions channels, through the development and physiology of the nervous system, to behaviour and cognition.

The SENC and Spanish neuroscientists in general want to use this platform to talk about neuroscience in every forum, to obtain as much publicity as possible for neuroscience within the framework of Spanish society and, when possible, abroad. Although it will be impossible to leave aside neurodegenerative and neurological diseases, the main focus of the different activities planned should pivot around the different aspects of Neuroscience: from genes, molecules and ions channels, through the development and physiology of the nervous system, to behaviour and cognition. SENC has decided to support different activities all around Spain, using mainly conference cycles and colloquia that are open to the general public and also activities in schools to promote Science, in general, and Neuroscience amongst the youngest. Two main cycles of conferences are planned in Barcelona (the site of the FENS Forum and the city which will concentrate the bulk of different activities, animated by the local Organising Committee and a consortium of different national, Catalan and local public and private institutions) and Madrid, where the Royal National Academy of Medicine (RANM) launched in February a cycle of conferences by many of the most prestigious Spanish neuroscientists that will take place over a number of weeks.

Similarly, SENC will organize in cooperation with the historic Residencia de Estudiantes (the place in Madrid where Cajal and many other prominent figures of the early XXth century used to go for discussions) a series of monthly conferences of content similar to those from Barcelona. In this context, SENC will try to coordinate the different activities that will be held for the Brain Awareness Week, in order to give them enough publicity and some support in recognising these different actions as part of the Year of Neuroscience. For many years these important actions have been offered every March in Spanish cities and we hope that these will be multiplied in 2012, ameliorating their quality, also.

Image description
Image description

Worth noting is the agreement reached by SENC and the Society for Neuroscience-SfN to translate into Spanish and publish the documents that SfN produces every month under “Brain Briefings”.

All activities will culminate in the publication of a "Manifesto on Neuroscience in Spain".

The objective is that these short articles reach a wide population, particular schools. The main event of the International Year of Neuroscience will be held in the Spanish National Parliament (known in Spanish as Congreso de los Diputados). SENC wants to explain, face to face to our politicians, what the Neurosciences are, what are its needs in Spain, from where we come, what is our present, what should be the future of Neuroscience and the ways to converge into Spanish society. The participation of a first-frontier Hispanic neuroscientist is scheduled, as well as two or three other speakers to be confirmed. This will not be a scientific event but an act to open our Science to the technical and political auditorium and we hope that many good fruits will grow for Neuroscience in Spain after its celebration. All these activities will culminate in the publication of a "Manifesto on Neuroscience in Spain". This document, written by specialists, will be focused on specific points such as highlighting our strengths and weaknesses, finding those points to be reinforced, those which should be corrected for a better future of Neuroscience, more and more integrated in a vigorous Spain which looks for a better future.

2011 had a sad end for Spanish neuroscientists: our young colleague Laia Acarin, professor in Barcelona and active coordinator of the Young Investigator Program for FENS Forum 2012, unexpectedly died on 29th December after a short and grave disease. We hope that celebrating 2012 as the International Year of Neuroscience will be successful in these uncertain times, and at its end, we can cry "Viva la Neurociencia española!" louder and more optimistcly.

Fernando de Castro Email: top

Neurocampus Bordeaux  

Erwan Bezard
Erwan Bezard

The Bordeaux University Neuroscience community has reached a critical mass of 600 fulltime employees (including more than 450 permanent scientists and technicians), with broad multidisciplinary expertise. The world-class research (more than 500 publications in the last 3 years, more than 100 in journals with an impact factor higher than 7), the international visibility (high success rate of funding applications based on an international evaluation process) and an established capacity in innovation and expertise transfer offers a solid basis for establishing Bordeaux and the Aquitaine region as a leader in the Neurosciences.

A critical mass of 600 full-time employees, more than 100 publications in journals with an impact factor higher than 7 in the last 3 years.

This potential has led to the creation of a campus entirely dedicated to research on the nervous system and its diseases called "Neurocampus". This project has been mainly supported by the Regional Government of Aquitaine and the University of Bordeaux with the assistance of the national research councils INSERM and CNRS.

The Neurocampus, in close proximity to the main hospital of Bordeaux, will help to further expand the Bordeaux Neuroscience community and become a major international centre for fundamental and clinical research, technological innovation, training and IP transfer to industry.

Three branches of modern neuroscience research will be strongly represented on the Bordeaux Neurocampus: molecular and cellular neurosciences, translational research toward psychiatric and neurological diseases.

  1. Molecular and cellular neurosciences, analyzing the mechanisms of information processing in neuronal networks, specifically around the synapse, and thus brain function and its elementary pathologies. These molecular and cellular approaches will lead to the development of innovative technological tools, generating new methods for experimental analysis, clinical investigations and diagnostics and new drug targets for novel therapies.
  2. Translational research oriented toward psychiatric pathologies, aiming to understand the mechanisms of affective motivational and cognitive processes and their role in the development of pathologies such as anxiety, depression, stress-related pathologies, psychotic disorders and addiction.
  3. Translational research focused on neurological diseases and in particular neuronal degenerative phenomena associated with ageing and genetic predispositions such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s diseases.

More and more frequently these three previously independent fields have become interconnected and are the basis for powerful collaborative interactions in the Neurocampus community. For example, synaptic mechanisms are now known to be at the core of complex affective disorders such as addiction. Neurological pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease, previously considered as a pure movement disorder, have in fact a strong emotional and motivational dimension, similar to the one that characterize psychiatric affections. Likewise, in several


psychiatric pathologies the involvement of neuro-degenerative processes, usually characterizing neurological diseases, has been discovered. Neurocampus, coordinated by Dr. Pier Vincenzo Piazza, will encourage the flourishing of such interconnected research in an unique real-estate complex composed of three physically interconnected buildings with a total surface area of 22 000 square meters. Three scientific Institutes hosting over 30 research groups will constitute the task force of Neurocampus:

The Neurocampus has a budget of approximately 70M€, 45M€ of which for construction and 25M€ for new equipments and hosting new groups.

  1. The “Institut Interdisciplinaire de Neuro-Sciences (IINS -”, led by Dr. Daniel Choquet, will use approaches derived from the physiology, physics and chemistry fields to break the boundaries of research in molecular events fundamental to brain activity. IINS will also study basic elements of neuronal communication and the synapse at various organization and integration levels.
  2. The Magendie Neurocentre (, led by Dr. Pier-Vincenzo Piazza, will dedicate its efforts to a better understanding of the brain pathophysiological mechanisms with a major focus on behavioral diseases including memory and motivational disorders, stress-related disorders, eating disorders and obesity, addiction, depression, anxiety and autism.
  3. The “Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives (IMN -”, led by Dr. Erwan Bezard, will more specifically focus on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. This research centre will integrate both fundamental and clinical research to promote and accelerate the transfer of new discoveries from bench to bedside. The Neurocampus has a budget of approximately 70M€, 45M€ of which have been assigned to construction and 25M€ will be dedicated to equipping the new laboratories and to hosting new groups. The Neurocampus project is also accompanied by the success of the Bordeaux Neuroscience community which has been granted a further 35M€ through the recent French government funded “Initiative of Excellence”. Such a unity of location, availability of resources, and the maturity and energy of the Neurocampus community will facilitate the achievement of the three main strategic objectives of Neurocampus:
  1. The Neurocampus Incubator will offer a vital setting to the development of new research groups in Aquitaine (located in the Southwest of France). The Neurocampus will offer an attractive startup package, dedicated laboratory space, complete administrative support and a very rich scientific and technological environment. All factors fundamental to provide a fast and efficient growth to young international investigators.
  2. The Neurocampus Training Program will offer a training platform in neuroscience that will be available to both profit and non-profit organizations at national and international levels. Regrouping on one campus multidisciplinary “savoir-faire” and techniques will allow state-of-the-art training from the molecular to the behavioral levels, from electrophysiology to imaging and from small animals to primates.
  3. The Neurocampus Innovation Initiative will support scientific and technological transfers towards the private sector through the creation of start-up companies and the development of new healthcare techniques. Dedicate spaces for biotech companies will be available within Neurocampus providing these companies with an ideal technological and scientific environment to fuel their growth.
Erwan Bezard Director Brain Mind Institute

Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute (KI)  

Sten Grillner
Sten Grillner

Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute started with Gustaf Retzius some 140 years ago, and was boosted in the fifties by Nobel laureates like Ragnar Granit and Ulf von Euler. Since this time the different branches of neuroscience have had a high profile at the Karolinska institute, and represent many different areas in basic neuroscience as well as clinical neuroscience and the mechanisms underlying the many disease of the brain from psychiatry to degenerative diseases like MS and Alzheimers

A focus on neuropeptides, transmitters and synaptic mechanisms since the pioneering efforts of Nils-Ake Hillarp and Tomas Hökfelt

The Neuroscience Department at the Karolinska hosts no less than 48 different laboratories from those of young assistant professors to the larger laboratories of senior professors. In addition there are a great number of laboratories in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska hospital located in both Solna and Huddinge and in other basic science departments and at the Royal Institute of Technology.

  • Neuropeptides, transmitters and synaptic mechanisms have been in focus since the pioneering efforts of Nils-Ake Hillarp and Tomas Hökfelt. Research projects include a broad range of studies at the molecular and cellular levels, ranging from ion channels, intracellular signaling pathways to the molecular basis of transmitter release and synaptic plasticity. Extensive research is also carried out on the regulation of nerve cell growth and factors involved in development, neuronal regeneration and degeneration, important for conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, MS and spinal cord injury.

Neural function at the cellular, microcircuit or systems level and computational neuroscience models.

  • A number of laboratories work towards an understanding of behaviour at the microcircuit, network and systems levels, trying to account for different aspects of behaviour based on knowledge extending from cells and synapses to intrinsic function of networks at different levels of the neuraxis from cortex and the basal ganglia to the spinal cord level. Animal models extending from rats and mice to zebrafish and lamprey are used to deduce the networks underlying the control of motion, sensory processing and hypothalamic function, using all available techniques
  • One important approach to the understanding of the nervous system is computational neuroscience - that is the modeling of neural function at the cellular, microcircuit or systems level based on detailed and rigorous experimentation. When we have a number of dynamically interacting processes, whether subclasses of ion channels in a cell or neurons with different properties interacting in a network or microcircuit, the only way to test whether the experimental observation can account for a given behaviour is modeling. Groups perform realistic simulations of large cortical networks involving millions of neurons to the biochemical interaction within a synapse.
  • Brain imaging has a long tradition at the Karolinska with a pioneering role for PET in the 80’s with discoveries of a number of ligands for different receptors subtypes of importance in psychiatry as well as for an understanding of motor and cognitive functions. A number of groups use fMRI for the analysis of a variety of functions from understanding of remarkable illusions to the structure of language.

A goggle brain and multiscale modelling...

  • Linked to the Department of Neuroscience is also INCF, the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility. The INCF was established in 2005 through the Global Science Forum of the OECD to develop an international neuroinformatics infrastructure, a google brain and multiscale modelling, and to promote the sharing of data and computing resources with the international research community. INCF has members from 16 different countries from Japan to the US, who help finance this global endeavor. Neuroinformatics integrates information across all levels and scales of neuroscience to help understand the brain and treat disease.
Karolinska Institute
Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska

More information about this challenging environment is available on website Karolinska Institutet and about the many different research groups at the different Karolinska campuses and their activities!

Sten Grillner Email: top

Introduction tour of the EJN App for iPhones and iPads  


The European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN) is the official journal of FENS and, as such, EJN strives to support the neuroscience community. In addition to the newly launched EJN blog, which provides a wide variety of information and resources to neuroscientists,EJN has now released an App for iPads and iPhones /iPod Touch. The EJN App gives instant access to selected contents of the journal and the blog.

It is optimized for iPad and iPhones, with a specific elegant interface for each device. The EJN App is available for free through the Apple iTunes App Store (search for “EJN”, requires iOS 4.0 or later).

Some highlights

  • Log “on the go” – keep up with the latest research and news from EJN
  • Browse the latest EJN articles
  • Check out the EJN Blog contents, including videos and announcements
  • Reading List – create your own list of News and Articles which can be read offline and emailed to peers
  • ...and more!
  • And the EJN App is 100% FREE!

Terminology and icons


EJN App on the iPhone

EJN App on the iPhone

Important tip

Within views of Articles, to access full-text articles, tap the button “View Full Article”, your browser will open up to the Wiley online library where you can tap “Get PDF”. Once the PDF is opened, if you wish to go back to the App, press twice on the home button of your device and tap on the EJN App icon.

EJN App on the iPad


The EJN team welcomes your feedback on the App and hopes to see you soon on the EJN Blog at The Editors in Chief,

Jean-Marc Fritschy Jean-Marc Fritschy
Martin Sarter Martin Sarter

News from the Network of European Neuroscience Schools (NENS)  

Jean-Pierre Hornung
Jean-Pierre Hornung

The Network of European Neuroscience Schools (NENS) actively supports higher education in Neuroscience and currently promotes a number of actions:

MSc and PhD students affiliated to a NENS school can apply for a NENS Stipend to gain international experience whilst acquiring methodological training. The stipend covers travel and accommodation costs of up to 2,000 € for a stay of one to three months at a NENS member school of their choice in a different European country. The next deadline is June 15, 2012.

A NENS Stipend to gain international experience whilst acquiring methodological training.

Natalia Petrenko
Natalia Petrenko (MSc program in Neurobiology,
University of Eastern Finland)
during her training stay in Trieste,
Italy, in January-March 2011.

Brain Team Network grants to attend the FENS Forum 2013

NENS, in partnership with the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB), established the Brain Team Network to support communication between young scientists engaged in public awareness activities such as the Brain Awareness Week. EDAB will award 4 grants of 400 € to attend the FENS Forum in Barcelona. The awardees will present a poster at the special Brain Team Network event during the NENS AGM meeting (July 17, 18:45-20:30). More information about these grants in the next NENS News, on May 15.

Brain Awareness Week in Trieste
Brain Awareness Week in Trieste, Italy, March 2000

NENS activities at the FENS Forum 2012 in Barcelona

The new program "Building your career" will address questions about career opportunities within or outside academia and it is aimed at MSc/PhD students and postdoctoral fellows presenting an abstract as first author. On Sunday July 15 (18:45-20:30), a workshop with experts in the field will illustrate how young scientists can put their valuable scientific training to their best advantage. During the Networking Buffet following the workshop participants will meet with partners in academia, industry, public service and publishing.

More information here. Registration deadline: April 1, 2012

The workshop is followed by two activities called "Chance to Meet". The first activity (Monday July 16, 11:30-14:30) will be a forum where academia, industry, public services and publishers will meet with young scientists and provide information about their activities, hiring procedures, and job opportunities. During the second activity (Monday 16 and Tuesday July 17) a space will be available for young scientists to have interviews with interested companies / institutions they have networked with at the "Building your career" workshop and the "Chance to meet" first activity, or with laboratories registered at the FENS JobMarket. More information here.

The NENS Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday July 17 (18:45-20:30). Join us and meet representatives of the 160 PhD and MSc programs that are members of NENS. The program will focus on the recent development of NENS activities and will also allow for NENS Alumni and for members of the Brain Team to share their experiences. The NENS Strategic Plan for the next 5 years will be presented and discussed. The new NENS Committee will be announced. Registration is required at:

Jean-Pierre Hornung Email: top

ESF-FENS conferences on The Dynamic Brain  

ESF Pico Caroni
Pico Caroni

ESF and FENS have jointly created a new high-level series of meetings in the neurosciences in Europe. The European Science Foundation (ESF) supports a wide variety of science activities in Europe, including workshops and conferences. ESF-FENS Neuroscience Conferences will bring together outstanding researchers in key broadly defined areas of contemporary neuroscience to discuss current concepts and define challenges for future research.

The first ESF-FENS Conference on "The Neurobiology of Emotion" takes place on November 11th-14th in Stresa, co-chaired by Ray J. Dolan and David J. Anderson.

There will be 2 such conferences per year, one in Spring and one in Fall, on a series of different topics, with the scientific program of each conference defined by two co-chairs in consultation with an Advisory Board. While the first three topics have been selected (2012-2013), there will be open calls for co-chairs to organize ESF-FENS Conferences starting in 2014. All conferences will take place in Stresa, on Lake Maggiore (Italy). ESF and FENS will provide the funding, and the advertising for the conferences. The Conferences Unit of the ESF will manage the ESF-FENS Neuroscience Conferences within the framework of the ESF Research Conferences Scheme.

The first ESF-FENS Conference will be on "The Neurobiology of Emotion", and will take place on November 11-14 at hotel La Palma in Stresa. Its co-chairs are Ray J. Dolan (University College London, Wellcome Trust) and David J. Anderson (California Institute of Technology, HHMI). In addition to talks by about 30 invited speakers, there will be poster sessions and short talks selected from the abstracts submitted by registrants, and discussion sessions for each day of the conference. The meeting will be limited to about 150 registrants. Scientists at all stages of their careers and from all parts of the world can apply to participate at All participants will be selected by the conference chairs on the basis of their abstract and bio-bib information submitted in the call for abstracts. The deadline for applications is August 11, 2012.

Topics for future ESF-FENS Neuroscience Conferences will be generated by the scientific community.

The ESF-FENS Neuroscience Conferences are envisaged as being at the forefront of scientific research, interdisciplinary and at the very highest scientific level with respect to the selection of conference topics and the choice of participants. This series of conferences aims at providing frontier knowledge about the Dynamic Brain – from genes to behaviour, and at further developping the competitiveness of European neuroscience in this domain of research. They will focus on different levels of dynamic organisation from function at the gene, molecular and subcellular levels to integrative action at the systems level. The ESF-FENS Neuroscience Conferences aim to provide opportunities for leading scientists and young researchers to meet informally and discuss topics at the frontiers of scientific research. Interaction, the stimulation of novel ideas and interdisciplinary collaboration should be at the heart of all conferences.

Topics for future ESF-FENS Neuroscience Conferences will be generated by the scientific community through an annual call for conference proposals managed by the ESF. The call will open in spring and close in mid-September for conferences scheduled 16-27 months after the application deadline. Proposals will be evaluated by a joint series Advisory Board. Current Board members representing FENS are T. Bonhoeffer, P. Caroni (chair), B. Dickson, O. Kiehn, and R. Morris. Board members representing ESF include B. Lipps (Conference Unit head), C. Pleth, and J. Sika.

Pico Caroni Email: top

FENS Forum 2012
Scientific contests

Be creative, be competitive, be yourself!

Image description

When we thought about organizing a scientific video (together with FENS-EJN) and a scientific photography contest the idea was that people would have a wider “stage” to show their work and present it out of the classical journals’ guidelines. The proposal is that scientists take their entire creativity and reinvent their science and the way we see/show it.

Moreover this year FENS participants will have the possibility not only to participate in the Jump the FENS party, but also actually be part of it and perform in one of the most popular nightclubs in Barcelona - Razzmatazz. To participate in the Neurorock contest, just send us your own music and we give you the instruments, a stage, the public and a fantastic prize.

For more information visit our webpage:

Mónica Santos

Mónica Santos
Chair of the students committee

Social Media

The FENS Forum social media network has grown exponentially since its launch in October and has become a hub of activity and discussion about the upcoming Forum and other neuroscience topics. There are currently more than 1,200 members on all three networks – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Stay tuned important news and updates on the FENS Forum 2012 including a chance to profile your own national society.

Join us online at:   Facebook linkedin twitter
Kiki Thermos

Kiki Thermos
Linked-In Manager

Press Officers

Elaine Snell is an independent Public Relations and Communications Consultant specialising in science, medicine and health. She works for a variety of academic organisations and scientific societies in the UK, Europe and USA. Prior to establishing her own business in 1996, Snell Communications Ltd, she was head of PR at the British Heart Foundation and the Wellcome Trust. With 25 years’ experience, Snell Communications produces events and launches, runs the press office for national and international congresses and publicises research results.

At the FENS Forum in Barcelona, Elaine will be managing the Press Centre to promote some of the latest developments in neuroscience.

Elaine Snell

Elaine Snell

Local Press Representative

Núria Estapé is a science writer and journalist with a broad academic background in psychology and neuroscience.

She worked as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich and at the University of Amsterdam. After long years in the field of research she moved to New York where she developed her career in the field of biomedical translation and health care interpreting. Since her return to Barcelona in 2009, she is devoted to communicating brain sciences to the public and currently works as a neuroscience lecturer at a private school in Barcelona.

Núria Estapé

Núria Estapé

Editors‘ Social

One of the main tasks in the future agenda of the FENS Executive Committee is to increase the number of publications in Science, and particularly in Neuroscience. This is also a priority for the Spanish Society for Neuroscience that is acting as local host. According to this, the Communication Task Group of FENS Forum 2012 Local Organizing Committee is organising a social event on July 15th, 2012 (18h30´) 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 of 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 on the research performance metrics (impact factor, "h" index, etc.). The program will include 3 to5 brief introductory talks for the different subjects of discussion, followed by a brainstorming open to all attendants around a drink. To be more efficient, we have decided to limit the number of attendants to those more deeply involved in the subject day after day (editors, publishers, directors of Neuroscience societies, politicians, etc.) by paying a symbolic fee.

We hope that the conclusions and recommendations that will emerge from this social would be really helpful for the European neuroscientific community, and will be the inaugural of a series of similar socials that FENS plans to organise in future FENS Forums, till all the clouds regarding these problems would be dissipated from our horizon.

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

Program of the Editors’ Social
Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 18:45-21:15
Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona
Museu Blau

Elena Becker-Barroso (Lancet Neurology), Chair
Katja Brose (Neuron)
Jean-Marc Fritschy (European Journal of Neuroscience)
Kalyani Narasimhan (Nature Neuroscience)

Topics for discussion:
  • The future of peer review (The Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium, reducing the workload for referees, review of papers with increasing complexity and supplemental data,...)
  • Is scientific misconduct increasing? (What can editors do to detect and prevent scientific misconduct, coping with conflict of interest, authorship disputes, retractions,...)
  • Are impact factors and other metrics an objective indication of research performance? How impact factors affect funding?
  • Scientific publishing, from paper to electronic and then what?

The session will end with an informal reception on site.


FENS Awards 2012 

In 2012 three FENS awards are granted. They will be presented at the FENS Forum in Barcelona.

The FENS EJN Award

Prof. Barry Everitt
Prof. Barry Everitt


Two European neuroscientists awarded the BRAIN PRIZE 2012 

The 1 million Euro Brain Prize 2012 is jointly awarded to Christine Petit (France) and Karen Steel (UK) for their pioneering work on the genetics of hearing and deafness.

Karen Steel and Christine Petit are at the forefront of efforts to understand the molecular mechanisms of the specialised hair cells in the inner ear, whose extraordinary sensitivity to mechanical stimulation underpins the senses of hearing and balance. These two researchers, at the peak of their productivity and influence, are international leaders in the field of hereditary deafness. Each has brought special skill to this challenging area of research. Their approaches have been complementary. Karen Steel has worked upwards, employing elegant and exhaustive study of mutations in mice and their functional consequences to illuminate human disorders. Christine Petit has started with the genetic analysis of patients, subsequently investigating the role of the identified genes in animal model systems.

Inherited conditions render one in a thousand children deaf at birth, and cause as many again to become deaf before maturity, leading to delay or failure in the acquisition of speech, and frequently to disadvantages in communication and learning.

The prize lectures and award ceremony will take place on May 9, 2012 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Prize will be presented by Her Majesty the Queen.

The Brain Prize of 1 million Euro is awarded by Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation (, a charitable, non-profit organization. The Brain Prize is a personal prize awarded to one or more scientists who have distinguished themselves by an outstanding contribution to European neuroscience.

Contact: Kim Krogsgaard Email: top


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
Meino Gibson

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