The Communication Committee
The Communication Committee is a FENS committee responsible for the governance and implementation of the communication strategy. Its activities fall within the following areas:
- Advising the FENS leadership on the communication policy and its objectives
- Advising on the best strategies for implementation of the current programmes for public outreach.
Christina Dalla, Greece
Dr Christina Dalla is an Associate Professor at the Dep. of Pharmacology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, past-President of the Hellenic Society for Neurosciences, President of the Hellenic Brain Council and President-elect of the Mediterranean Neuroscience Society. She is also a member of the board of directors of the European Brain Foundation, section-editor at the European Journal of Neuroscience, member of the FENS Communication Committee and member of the Educational Committee of ECNP.
Dr Dalla received her first diploma from the Pharmacy School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2000 and continued her studies in Neurosciences in Athens, at the University of Liege in Belgium and at the Rutgers University of New Jersey, USA, with two European Union Marie Curie Fellowships. Her research focuses on sex differences in neuropsychiatric disorders and treatment with a focus on depression. She has received awards and distinctions, such as the “L’Oreal-Unesco” for Greek Women in Science and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology fellowship award. As a member of the DANA foundation of the Brain, she is actively participating in public activities for brain awareness, such as publishing of books for the public, and has actively contributed to the Erasmus+ grant Share4Brain.
Spiros Efthimiopoulos, Greece
Dr Spiros Efthimiopoulos received B.Sc. in Biology from the Department of Biology of the University of Patras in 1986 and his PhD from the same Department in 1991. Then, for a period of 10 years, he moved to the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he worked as a researcher on the molecular basis of Alzheimer’s disease. In 2001, integrated into the Teaching and Research Staff of the Department of Biology of the national and Kapodistrian University of Athens as an Assistant Professor and currently holds the position of Professor.
In the period 2001 to date, Dr Efthimiopoulos has substantially contributed to the education of students of the Department of Biology and other departments or schools at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In the Department of Biology at the national and Kapodistrian University of Athens continued his research on the molecular basis of Alzheimer’s disease and has produced a total of more than 48 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Both National and International organisations have funded his research. Professor Efthimiopoulos has been invited to international conferences, Universities and Research centres abroad and domestic to give lectures on his research. He has been a member of the Board, Secretary and President of the Greek Society for Neuroscience and has significantly contributed to the Society’s efforts to raise public awareness of Neuroscience. Moreover, he has been a member of the Board, Vice President of the Panhellenic Society of Biological Sciences.
Armelle Rancillac, France
Dr Armelle Rancillac earned her PhD in Neuroscience in 2003 at Paris VI while working with Francis Crépel and Hervé Daniel on synaptic plasticity using patch-clamp recordings on cerebellar slices. In her dissertation, she described for the first time several forms of synaptic plasticity between stellate cells and parallel fibers.
Then, she joined Jean Rossier’s laboratory at the ESPCI-ParisTech, as a postdoctoral fellow to study the neurovascular coupling within the cerebellum. She demonstrated that stellate and Purkinje cells dilate and constrict, respectively, neighbouring blood vessels. In 2006, she obtained a research post at Inserm and focused on the vasomotor control of intracortical blood vessels by interneurons. Combining patch-clamp, RT-PCR, videomicroscopy and Neurolucida reconstructions, she characterized the roles of different interneuron subpopulations in the neurovascular coupling of the mouse somatosensory cortex.
From 2011-2015, she studied the role of metabolism on neuronal activity and blood vessel tonus within the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (VLPO), a key brain structure triggering non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. In 2014, she got my Habilitations to conduct research (HDR). She is currently conducting research in Rouach’s team at the Collège de France to determine how neuron-glia communication contributes to regulating non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep in VLPO.
Richard Roche , Ireland
Chair Communication Committee
Dr Richard Roche is a Professor and Deputy Head of Department at the Department of Psychology, Maynooth University, where he has been employed since 2005, following undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral study at Trinity College, Dublin. His areas of interest are cognitive neuroscience/neuropsychology, particularly memory, ageing, dementia, stroke, brain injury and synaesthesia. He has published 37 research articles, over 90 conference posters, several book chapters and three academic books (plus one novel). He has to date accrued over €1.4 million in research funding and has graduated 9 PhD students and 3 MSc students. He has served as President of Neuroscience Ireland and was Founding President of the Irish Brain Council. He is also strongly committed to science outreach and public engagement and has served on the FENS Communications Committee since 2020, of which he became Chair in 2022.
Emma Yhnell , United Kingdom
Dr Emma Yhnell obtained a BSc Honours degree in Biochemistry from Cardiff University before completing a PhD exploring Huntington’s disease (HD) in the laboratory. She then obtained an independent research fellowship funded by the Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales to translate her findings on cognitive training into the HD patient clinic. Her work looked to see if computerised brain training is feasible for people impacted by Huntington’s disease. Emma now works as a Lecturer at Cardiff University, teaching the next generation of budding scientists.
In addition to her research and teaching, Emma is experienced in public engagement, outreach and science communication. She is a regular media commentator and alongside writing award winning science communication articles and she was an invited contributor to the DK Book ‘How the Brain Works’. She has presented her work in Parliament, spoken at the Hay Festival, Soapbox Science and Pint of Science. In 2018 she gave the Charles Darwin Award lecture at the British Science Festival and in 2019 she was the Welsh winner of the FameLab science communication competition.